Rider on the Rain
- Miles Fielder
- 16 September 2009
Between appearing in supporting roles in all-star Hollywood romps such as The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen throughout the sixties and establishing himself as a star in his own right in brutal thrillers such as The Stone Killer and Death Wish in the seventies, tough guy Charles Bronson followed the then Tinseltown trend and went to Europe to make a handful of French and Italian films. One of them, Once Upon A Time in the West, has become a classic; this nasty murder mystery has rightly been forgotten.
Bronson plays a mystery man who arrives in a seaside resort in off-season southern France and pressures a young woman into confessing to killing a sex maniac who recently raped her. As directed by two-time Oscar-winner René Clément from a story by Sebastian Jaspirot, it’s a woeful mix of art house pretension and sleazy exploitation, neither of which mismatched cinematic sensibilities prise anything like a performance from old plastic chops Bronson. No wonder Clément’s ailing career continued to nosedive. It’s a wonder Bronson’s didn’t. No extras.