Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week 123: Once Upon a Texas Train
This film begins badly. The cheesy introductions of all these great characters feels like the start of Disney movie, a new version of the Apple Dumpling Gang.
But the good news is that the cheese wears off. As the film progresses, the realism starts to show through. Burt Kennedy’s old school sensibility takes over. The film starts to have Rio Bravo vibes as it settles in. The humor improves. Jack Elam especially is given some great lines, asking if Chuck Connors has had his name and confessing to his inability.
I take back any thoughts I ever had about Willie Nelson’s acting capability. He is the grittiest and more grounded actor in the whole picture and even shines in scenes with Widmark.
This isn’t close to the best Western of the 80s and in many ways it doesn’t even belong to the decade but it’s a standout picture well worth watching.
Watched on Tubi.