Thursday, January 21, 2021

Madron (1970)

          Definitive production information on this one is hard to come by, but it appears Madron is an American/Israeli coproduction noteworthy as the first movie to use Israel as a stand-in for the Wild West. And if that doesn’t seem like a particularly significant historical distinction, it’s fitting because nothing about Madron is particularly distinctive. The movie eventually resolves into a palatable opposites-attract love story set against a frontier-vengeance backdrop, but very little of what happens onscreen feels authentic or new, and the filmmaking is perfunctory at best. Viewers who are already susceptible to Richard Boone’s offbeat charm or to Leslie Caron’s delicate beauty will naturally find Madron more enjoyable than viewers immune to the stars’ personas, but even some fans of these actors may find the picture slow going because most scenes feature these mismatched performers struggling to conjure the illusion of romantic attraction.
          As for the picture’s story, there isn’t much. Somewhere in the frontier, Sister Mary (Caron) survives a raid by Apaches and wanders aimlessly until crossing paths with drifter Madron (Boone), who has unfinished business with the very band of Apaches who attacked Sister Mary’s wagon train. Madron says he’ll escort Sister Mary to safety. Every so often, there’s a gunfight or some other violent scene, but mostly Madron and Sister Mary follow the trite routine of a refined female character endeavoring to sand the edges off a thuggish male character. Naturally, love blooms once Madron reveals his sensitive side. About halfway through its running time, Madron shifts from bland TV-style banter to rougher stuff, including a gruesome torture scene. Raising the intensity makes Madron more exciting, but the sleazier elements clash with the comparatively gentle early scenes. The performances are very much on brand, Boone opting for brutal and funny, Caron for mannered and spunky. They both hit the right notes, but they don’t always seem like they’re playing the same tune.

Madron: FUNKY

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