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DVD Review: Charro!

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Written by General Jabbo

Continuing the more serious theme of his recent films, Charro! is notable in that it is the only Elvis Presley film in which he doesn’t sing, with his only vocal coming in the form of the title song, played over the opening credits. Set in the Old West, Presley stars as Jess Wade, a man framed for stealing a cannon from the Mexican army by Vince Hackett (Victor French). Wade was once a member of Hackett’s gang, but he left that lifestyle behind, taking Hackett’s girl Tracey Winters (Ina Balin) with him in the process.

Hackett vows revenge for this act and makes up wanted posters, saying Wade is the only identifiable member of the gang who stole the cannon as he has a scar on his neck (which was placed there because Hackett had him branded). In actuality though, it is Hackett and his men who have stolen the cannon and they intend to hold it for ransom.

Later, Hackett uses the cannon against the townspeople and threatens to destroy their city if his brother Billy Roy (Solomon Sturges), who is in prison for shooting Sheriff Ramsey (James Almanzar), is not released by sundown. A dying Ramsey tells Wade he can’t give in to Hackett and release his brother as that would be letting Hackett win. Wade agrees, much to the dismay of Ramsey’s wife Sara (Barbara Werle) who does not want any more bloodshed. Wade vows to avenge Ramsey’s death and bring the cannon’s real thieves to justice, going after Hackett and his men.

Charro! is part of the Elvis: 75th Anniversary DVD Collection, and marks a more serious acting turn for Presley. Critically panned upon its release, the film has held up better than some of his others and is worth checking out for fans of spaghetti westerns in particular.

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