Combustible Celluloid
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With: Warren Oates, Jack Nicholson, Millie Perkins, Will Hutchins
Written by: Adrien Joyce (a.k.a. Carole Eastman)
Directed by: Monte Hellman
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 82
Date: 10/23/1966

The Shooting (1967)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The Woman With No Name

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Roger Corman produced this "existential Western" along with itscounterpart, Ride the High Country, but never took credit. It's one ofmy favorite Westerns, period. Screenwriter Carole Eastman wrote thescript under the pseudonym "Adrien Joyce," and went on to receive anOscar nomination for her next outing, Five Easy Pieces (1970). Thedirector was Monte Hellman, a member of Corman's stable, who hadpreviously worked on mostly monster movies; this was his first chance atproving himself and establishing his unique voice. Warren Oates stars asWillett Gashade, who returns to camp only to find a dead body and hisjumpy, simple-minded sidekick Coley (Will Hutchins) hiding and shootingat shadows. Before long, a mysterious lady rider (Millie Perkins) turnsup and hires the duo to escort her across the desert to some unknownrendezvous. Halfway to their destination, a fourth person shows up, theprofessional killer Billy Spear (Jack Nicholson). Hellman uses thedesert landscape to play havoc between these four extreme personalities,clashing them against one another in every conceivable way. Theshocking, baffling ending provides the "existential" part. All told, TheShooting is a masterpiece of underground filmmaking.

DVD Details: VCI Entertainment released The Shooting on a very nice, letterboxed DVD in 2001 with a Hellman commentary track and other extras. But it's currently out of print and selling for collector's prices.

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