Sunday, December 19, 2010


An outlaw with a gun, a gringo raised by Mexican bandits--caught between two worlds, the title-named character in Blue has to choose which way of life he wants when he is wounded after a raid on the American side of the Rio Grande and is nursed back to health by a doctor and his daughter.

Terence Stamp plays Azul, later known as Blue; Joanna Pettet is the woman who loves him; and Karl Malden is her doctor father in this 1968 movie. Wally Westmore, the brother of Bud Westmore (the makeup artist for The Pilot), is the makeup supervisor.

Starting off like a spaghetti Western, with very little dialog but lots of action and violence, Blue explores the consequences of a life-altering decision. The outlaw is blond and blue-eyed, taciturn; sometimes he needs no excuse to shoot his gun and other times, he only reluctantly shoots, saying, "Don't prod me." But when he does resort to firing his gun, it is clear he knows how to use it well. Superficially, he resembles Kid Curry but his personality is much darker, more violent.

The scenes between Malden and Pettit are especially good, as they try to make sense of what Blue is going through and help him adjust to life as an honest man. Their neighbors are suspicious, however, and when the Mexicans return, they have good reason to worry. English-born Stamp plays the role well, though his American accent is shaky at best. The end of Blue reverts back to a spaghetti Western, with its action scenes, stirring music, and conflict between Blue and his Mexican "father."

Purportedly set on the border between Mexico and the United States, Blue was actually filmed in the Moab area of Utah and the Colorado River substitutes for the Rio Grande. At 113 minutes, the movie sometimes drags, especially in the beginning, but then it picks up and becomes interesting as a character study of a man who has to decide on which side of the law, and on which side of the border, his loyalties lie.