Combustible Celluloid
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With: Charles Bronson, Al Lettieri, Linda Cristal, Lee Purcell, Paul Koslo, Taylor Lacher, Frank Maxwell, Alejandro Rey, Jordan Rhodes, Bert Santos
Written by: Elmore Leonard
Directed by: Richard Fleischer
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 103
Date: 07/16/1974

Mr. Majestyk (1974)

3 Stars (out of 4)

A Bad Melon Farmer

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Charles Bronson plays one of his best tough guys in Mr. Majestyk, a peaceful melon farmer who -- of course -- is also a former U.S. Ranger with combat experience. As with the best action movies of the time, he's just trying to get by when the bad guys come harassing him.

A small-time thug (Paul Koslo) wants Majestyk to come in on a labor racket, but Majestyk would rather hire his own skilled laborers and pay them a fair wage. The thug has Majestyk arrested, and in prison, he meets a dangerous hit man, Frank Renda (Al Lettieri). Majestyk escapes and plans to trade Renda to the cops so that he can get his melon crop in. But Renda escapes and plots revenge on Majestyk.

The great Elmore Leonard wrote the original screenplay, and then published a novelization later. It doesn't have the snap of some of Leonard's best stuff, but it's still lots of fun (and it's sometimes surprisingly silly). Director Richard Fleischer was not one of the greats, but he knew his way around a good genre film, and he keeps the pace up and delivers the action. Kino Lorber gave the movie a Blu-ray release in 2014.

In 2021, Kino Lorber gave the movie an update with a new 2K master. The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary by Paul Talbot, author of two books on Bronson, as well as interviews with DP Richard H. Kline and co-star Lee Purcell. We also get a trailer and a TV spot, and trailers for other KL releases.

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