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Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I knew nothing about this 70s Western other than it was directed by Peter Collinson, a director I’d never heard of until I recently watched his Charles Bronson-Tony Curtis starring YOU CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL. What a pleasant surprise and discovery THE MAN CALLED NOON is, an under-appreciated entry in the genre.

Richard Crenna leads an amnesia-themed thriller with Stephen Boyd by his side. Together, they try to discover who Crenna is after he’s attacked in a visually-dazzling opening. Somehow Collinson gets away with being stylish with his camera and cutting in a way that Sergio Leone never could pull off, in my controversial opinion, without seeming indulgent. Collinson’s Western is full of expressionistic angles and big camera moves but it all fits this paranoid story about a guy digging through his mind to find out who the hell he is. Like the other Collinson movie I saw, NOON also has impressive locations, jagged desert rocks and abandoned train stations that lend themselves to the story.

Crenna is quite good in the lead and Boyd, an actor I always enjoy, backs him up well though I wish he’d kept his natural voice instead of that dumb accent. NOON has one too many villains and that ends up hurting the picture in its action-packed conclusion as every heavy comes down at once on our heroes. It shows its European Western colors strongest in those last twenty minutes when an otherwise clever picture resigns itself to a shoot ’em up (but admittedly a pretty entertaining one).

If it had a smarter script, it would be the MEMENTO of the Western genre. As is, the movie is an under-seen Western of its era that deserves way more attention. And two pictures into his filmography, Peter Collinson is now on my map.

Watched on Tubi