- Directed by José Briz Méndez
- December 23, 1968 (Spain)
Half white and half Comanche twin brothers take different paths with one getting blamed for the crimes of the other.
White Comanche is a film I went into with some hesitation. Spaghetti Westerns can be good and that was not an issue in my mind. I was concerned that pushing 50 and having been a Trek fan since before kindergarten I had not heard of this before. William Shatner is in this, and it never graced my radar. There are many films and shows that Trek actors have popped up in that I have never seen but am aware of. This was something new at this late stage in my life.
Shatner stars in not one but two roles in White Comanche. He plays the part of the dangerous and tough Johnny Moon who is shunning his Comanche heritage as well as the half Comanche renegade Notah. When an actor plays twins, they need to make each distinct. They need to do something so that you’re not feeling that you’re looking at the actor as the same character. Shatner is not bad as Johnny Moon but when he goes to play Notah he comes off as Johnny Moon with face paint. Aside from the peyote abuse of Notah there isn’t much differentiates the two characters. The performer and his job is to make the material viewable. The writer is to write performable material.
White Comanche is a good idea but between the directing choices and Shatner’s performance it just gets weird. This was the perfect opportunity to comment on race or something. I am not talking anything heavy handed or to make this any type of message film. Rather just use it to give it a little more substance in order to differentiate things a bit from other Westerns/spaghetti Westerns of the time.
The legendary Joseph Cotten joins in in the story as Sheriff Logan. He’s kind of phoning it in here. I remember watching The Abominable Dr. Phibes and he took that material very seriously but here he is just going through the motions. He’s not bad but this is far from his finest performance. Did he feel like he was slumming it?
Being a spaghetti Western a lot of the dialogue of the supporting actors is dubbed over whatever their natural speaking voice was. Sometimes it works but a lot of time it’s just not right. It’s one of those things that functions best when the actors are actually speaking English. That is not consistently the case here.
The music just generic. It’s just the same no matter what the scene is. And worse it doesn’t fit anything it’s ever used for. There’s a lot of potential here but it never quite reaches it.
White Comanche is a good idea that is not well done. It definitely had some potential but in the end fell short. The only reason to watch this is to see William Shatner do something that’s not Captain Kirk at a time when he was Captain Kirk. I think you can probably skip this one.