Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) movie poster

director Don Siegel
viewed: 06/13/2016

I think that Stanley Kauffman hit the nail on the head when he described Don Siegel’s  1970 Western Two Mules for Sister Sara as “an attempt to keep old Hollywood alive—a place where nuns can turn out to be disguised whores, where heroes can always have a stick of dynamite under their vests, where every story has not one but two cute finishes.”

The film, starring Clint Eastwood as standard era Clint Eastwood with cigar and serape loner and Shirley MacLaine as a prostitute disguised as a nun, really shows the strain of the old Hollywood system, cranking out a genre picture with two stars, with only middling efforts to reflect the changes of the times.  It does feature a pretty stylish Ennio Morricone score and a Leone-esque Eastwood, but at a time of revisionism in the genre, it shows very little.

That said, it’s entertaining enough.  MacLaine and Eastwood don’t exactly shoot off sparks but their contrast of character plays okay.  The image of MacLaine as the nun on the mule, swatting it gently with a switch to motivate it forward is kind of nice, and the cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa makes the most of the Mexican locations in which the movie was shot.

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