Arizona Raiders (1965)

Arizona Raiders (1965)


Murphy plays an ex-Quantrill’s Raider who’s released from jail with buddy Cooper to be deputized as Arizona Rangers in order to hunt down the remnant of the gang, rumored to he hiding out in a town
User Reviews: Rangers and Raiders.rnrnWilliam Quantrell’s raiders are cornered by Capt. Tom Andrews and Quantrell and a number of his men are killed. Two are captured whilst Montana Smith and the others escape to carry on their illegal operations. Clint Stewart and Willie Martin are the two captives, who much to their surprise, are spared a death sentence on account of Capt. Andrews vouching for them as soldiers of integrity and honour. Sentenced to 20 years hard labour, the guys are faced with an interesting proposition when Andrews offers to break them out so as they can join the Texas Rangers. The plan being for them to infiltrate the renegade Raiders and help to bring them down.rnrnWith few votes and even less reviews of substance written, one could be forgiven for thinking that Arizona Raiders is barely worth the time. Using elements of the Quantrell Raiders legacy and blending with the Texas Rangers plot lines, Arizona Raiders is not found wanting in the entertainment department. Directed by William Witney and starring Audie Murphy, Buster Crabbe (this film not to be confused with Crabbe’s 1936 film, The Arizona Raiders) and Michael Dante, it’s a film that has a number of notable issues within its plot. It would have been easy to just have it as a straight forward tale about bad guys turning good (something other reviewers claim it to be), but writers Frank Gruber and Richard Schayer add impetus to the good versus bad axis by cramming in other factors.rnrnMurphy plays lead protagonist Clint Stewart, asked to basically switch sides and loyalties, his conflict is excellently portrayed by genre legend Murphy. His resolve is further tested by emotional pulls involving his brother and best friend, with Witney and his team seemingly happy to put Stewart through the mangler, with the result being a richly told character strand. Also into the equation comes the role of the Indians, so often seen as the nemesis and bad boys of the genre, here they get something slightly different as they become involved in this white man squabble. It’s really rather refreshing the part they have to play. Though the score from Richard LaSalle is badly out of sorts, this is off set a touch by the visual treat on offer with the locale. Beautifully shot by Jacques R. Marquette, the Gold Canyon location is a sumptuous extra character, giving an added depth to the story unfolding. The story is nicely paced by Witney, who rightly gives us development of characters in the first half of the piece, while all the genre staples of shoot outs, villains and chases are nicely added to the already intriguing broth.rnrnA little treasure as far as this viewer is concerned. So if you be a genre fan such as I? Well do catch this one if you get the chance. 7/10

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