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Friday, July 21, 2006

"The Hunting Party" review

The Hunting Party (1971)

Directed by Don Medford
Writing credits Lou Morheim William W. Norton

Oliver Reed.... Frank Calder
Gene Hackman.... Brandt Ruger
Candice Bergen.... Melissa Ruger

I saw this one on cable the other night. "The Hunting Party" has been on my list of movies to see for some time. It was listed in a few catalogs of mine as a very violent western from the 70's. Did someone say violence? Violence, violence, VIOLENCE!! Sorry. Let me wipe the drool from my mouth. OK, I'm back now. So I felt pretty fortunate that I could catch this one on cable instead of having to buy a copy for myself.

"The Hunting Party" is the story of a woman and the rapist who loves her. Candice Bergen is the poor wife of sadistic Gene Hackman. When Hackman learns that Oliver Reed and friends have kidnapped his wife, he proposes a "Hunting Party" to take them out. He just got his hands on some super rifles so the party can hang back and pick them off. Bergen falls for Reed since her hairy, illiterate rapist is a more caring lover than psychotic Hackman.

This western is violent. That's for sure. Most of the violence comes from Hackman and his sniper posse. Outlaws get picked off as blood packets explode from their bodies. The ending was also nice and bloody. But "The Hunting Party" is pretty pointless. Hackman chases Reed, outlaws get shot and there you go. I'm glad I didn't buy a copy. If you can see it on cable, it's worth a look.

One last thought, Candice Bergen was really a hot babe back then. I was pleasantly surprised since I'm used to her (older) "Murphy Brown" look. I may have to search out for some more Bergen babe flicks from the 70's.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 Bergen babes

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