Category: Movie Reviews

Movies My Dad Likes: Two Mules for Sister Sara [1970]

Two Mules for Sister Sara is a truly entertaining movie from the prolific director Don Siegel; with an engaging soundtrack, that seems to incorporate some heehaws from a mule. It’s by Ennio Morricone, the number one composer of western music. The backdrop to the story is Mexico during the French occupation when rebels were fighting for their independence. Sister Sara: a role made in heaven for the delectable Shirley MacLaine; is on the run from the French for helping the rebels. Her co-star is Clint Eastwood who plays Hogan a gambling hard-drinking womanising mercenary type whose primary interest is money.

Immediately after the early credits roll Hogan saves Sara from a fate worse than death, killing all her would be assailants in the process with his fast gun and a stick of dynamite. He’s made a secret deal with a Colonel in the rebel army to devise a foolproof plan to capture the French stronghold at Chihuahua in return for half of the gold kept there. On the other hand, Sara is no ordinary nun, as she seems partial to cheroots and whiskey with a tendency to cuss with the best of them. With her Effervescent performance, I was half expecting MacLaine to break into a rendition of “If My Friends Could See Me Now” at any moment! Together with their support for the rebels, although for entirely different reasons, provides them with a common purpose and a reason to tolerate each other.

The movie charts their adventure with a large dose of humour culminating in a dynamite assisted attack on the fort stronghold where Hogan gets his reward in more ways than one. There are however moments of tenderness on the way, particularly when Sara has to remove an arrow from Hogan’s shoulder with the aid of lashes of whiskey and gunpowder, a substance used by the mercenary it seems to overcome most obstacles. The scene conjures up images of the Bogart and Hepburn bonding in African Queen.

Before the fort can be dealt with, there’s a small matter of blowing up a bridge when a French ammunition train passes. Due to his injury, Sara has to climb up the trestle to set the charges and then help him fire the rifle to explode the dynamite. It’s probably the only time in the movie that she does the real donkeywork, for Hogan to take the credit. As with many of Eastwood’s characters, there are plenty of extras for Hogan to shoot. His body count becomes exponential once the stronghold is reached and the stuntmen really earn their pay as they tumble from the battlements. After helping the rebels to victory, they ride off together with Sara on her beast of burden but in the wrong colour dress for a nun.

Some viewers may wonder why there are two mules in the title when Sister Sara rides on just one for much of the film. Although she changes her mule for a smaller cuter version part way through I think the other one is meant to be Hogan as he takes on numerous tasks that lighten her load. Did Eastwood know when he read the script that he would be playing the role of a mule? Well, he sure gave MacLaine an easy ride when it came to the top billing stakes. Rightly so as she outshone everyone else in the movie with her usual aplomb.

★★★★

Graham

29Nov

Movies My Dad Likes: Pimpernel Smith [1941]

This film was made before I was born but I was fortunate enough to find a copy recently. It is, as the title suggests, a plot based upon the older classic Scarlett Pimpernel where an apparent decadent...

23Nov

Justice League Review

After years of development, the Justice League have untied in cinemas worldwide to decidedly mixed reviews and an opening weekend that could spell trouble for the DCEU. Unlike some of the more jaded fans,...

24Oct

What’s Good On Netflix: The Babysitter (2017)

I can’t say I was expecting much from The Babysitter, but in a bid to make the most of my Netflix subscription, I thought I would give it a whirl. The trailer didn’t do much to convince me...

Murder Mystery Mondays: Murder On The Orient Express [1974]
23Oct

Murder Mystery Mondays: Murder On The Orient Express [1974]

★★★★★ Murder on the Orient Express is a masterclass of the genre with the classiest cast ever assembled. It doesn’t take a famed (and fictitious) Belgian Detective with majestic facial...

06Oct

Movies My Dad Likes: Our Man In Havana [1959]

If you’re feeling down because it won’t stop raining outside and you need a good pick me up, then why not watch the movie Our Man in Havana. Based on the book by Graham Greene, who also wrote the...

26Aug

The Bleeder Review

The Bleeder (formerly titled Chuck) could have so easily been another sporting biopic by numbers, but Director Philippe Falardeau delivers an exquisitely crafted film led by a never better Liev Schreiber....

22Aug

Movies My Dad Likes: Breakheart Pass [1975]

As far as I know, Breakheart Pass was the only western story written by the great Alistair McClean but what a riveting tale it is. His screenplay version of the story for the movie does not disappoint as...