High Plains Drifter (1973)
IMDB Rating 7.6/10 105 min - Rated 18 Western | Drama
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill Director: Clint Eastwood
A stranger (Eastwood), mysteriously materializes out of the desert heat, riding into the small town of Lago. He seems to have returned from the dead to exact revenge on the townsfolk of Lago who once stood by and watched him, their sheriff, whipped to 'death' by a trio of hired gunmen. He requires the inhabitants to literally paint the town red and change its name to Hell. The townspeople are scared of him, and the three gunmen try, unsuccessfully, to kill him again. Clint Eastwood's second film as star and director, and his first Western, is a stylish revenge drama that pays tribute to Clint's mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. (Among the graves in the cemetery are those of 'Donald Siegel' and 'S. Leone'.) But it is more allegorical and offbeat than even their pictures, with an added eerie supernatural element, emphasized by Bruce Surtees' almost surreal camerawork. This is counterbalanced by realistic images of a tougher West, cold and gritty, peopled with unshaven men and plain women. Universal wanted the film to be shot on the studio lot but, instead, Clint had a whole town built (and burned to the ground) in the desert near Lake Mono in the California Sierras.