Before I get into the guts of this movie i want to make three loosely connected points.
First: this review, like many of the others to come, was originally written for the blog last year, I have a dozen or so reviews that never made it into the official blog last year. I will be attempting to post all of them, along with new ones, early on this year. So stay tuned.
Second: since this is a western I would like to share this quote. I showed a good friend of mine the DVD that this movie came in and he asked me if I like westerns and so I told him: “I’ve seen a few westerns: The magnificent Seven, Blazing Saddles, Back to the Future III, Brokeback Mountain, A Modern Musketeer (ironically a silent movie), and another one that I have no idea what it was called. Admit it, that’s the best list of western movies you’ve ever seen.” By the way, that movie that I have no idea what it’s called, I’ve recently found out that it’s called “The Naked Dawn”.
Third: One of the great things available at any sort of lower end department store (not sure what that would be called, it seems like a derogatory description which it is not intended to be) are these 5$ DVD box sets that come with 20 movies. I don’t claim to have any sort of inside information about these but I have a theory. I have two of these at the moment and on both of them there is one modern movie (made in the current century) and 19 older movies that are in the public domain. My guess is that of the 5$ you pay for the box set, 2$ goes to that modern movie, 1$ goes to the price of packaging the movies and burning the discs (there are 4 discs in total), another 1$ goes to profit for the company, and another 1$ goes to the stores profit.
Some of you may ask “if you can get the movies for free, legally, why pay 5$ for them?” We’ll just because you can get a movie for free doesn’t mean it’s easy, some of them are on YouTube but not all, you may also have to look through government film archives to get them (something I’ve done in the last past, I think that’s where I saw “Sex Madness”), but they can be tough to navigate. Then once you do find them you have to burn them onto DVD or do it the lazier way and watch it on your computer. Even if you’re getting DVD-R’s for 0.25$ a piece, your still barely breaking even, not counting the cost in time you’ve spent doing that. So when it all comes together, 5$ is a pretty good deal even for something free.
These box sets (both from a company called “Mill Creek Entertainment”) are actually a major reasons why I wanted to start this blog in the first place. The first set I got back in November of 2014 called: “Wrath of the Sword – 20 Legendary Movies,” a sword and sandal collection, was very good (at least the three I’ve seen so far anyways) each one alone was worth the price paid for the entire collection, and also worthy of a blog post, I stopped watching them so I could talk about them on the blog. This new set “Old West Outlaws” is clearly dedicated to westerns.
Onto the movie itself.
How does “The Last Rites of Ransom Pride” stack up? Is it worth the ticket price? Hell yes. The film was shot in Canada, but narrative wise takes place alone the Texas Mexico border, around 1912 if I’m not mistaken. There are some pretty phenomenal shots of the desert landscape in the film.
The story, I would assume is a somewhat typical western narrative (but give the above list of westerns I’ve seen, I’m not exactly an authority.) An outlaw (named Ransom Pride, which gives the movie’s title a double entandre), kills a priest before being killed at the opening of the movie. Pride’s girl attempts to get his body back which is being held by a Mexican Witch who was the sister of the slain priest.
There are some fairly big names in the film, despite it’s low(er) budget nature, Chris Christopherson and Dwight Yokam play supporting roles, and there are even two brief (too brief) scenes with one of my favorite actors, Peter Dinklage. Honestly seeing him makes the movie twice, maybe three times as good. There is even a brief (and rather tame) lesbian scene in the film.
So what makes this film not so great? Well I had a problem with the mumbling voices. If you’ve seen my post on “The Imaginarium of Dr. Pernasses” this should come as no surprises as a problem. For a number of reasons which I will not be getting into here, I have to watch these movies late at night with the volume turned down, so clear speaking helps. If there were subtitles I’d turn them on, but you don’t get special features with DVD’s like this. Like I said the outside scenes are spectacular, but inside can be a little too dark to make out, and no this is not intentional mood setting darkness, it’s just bad lighting.
There was nothing wrong with the acting though, or the story, and I want to make that clear. It’s a good movie, not great, but good, worth the $0.20, the film itself costs (when divided evenly), or the 2$ it costs (form my cost brake down theory), and even the 5$ of the collection itself.