director John Sturges
Joe Kidd opens with a weak pseudo Spaghetti score. The Italian Westerns were having an influence their American counterparts at this point, but to a varying degree. Joe Kidd is still quite Hollywood with maybe the least bit of Italian seasoning. It’s John Sturges so what do you expect.
More than aesthetics, Revisionist Westerns handled themes sympathetic to classes heretofore portrayed mostly villainous. Here, we have a group of Mexicans protesting the land grab that has robbed them of their ancestral homes in New Mexico. Revisionist, but with John Saxon as the populist Mexican leader.
It’s also a bit interesting where in Western history this takes place. It’s meant to be the early 20th century, by which time law and order had settled the Wild West largely. Though here the landowners are still free to make their own justice, hunting down the Mexican gang (and anyone else) to resolve their disputes.
And the villains feature some pretty good thugs, a little more gangster-like (and citified) than Old West. Robert Duvall is such a bad hombre that Donald Trump might try to deport him (just kidding, he’s white).
Meanwhile, Joe Kidd himself isn’t so well-drawn. He’s a man without a backstory who seems like he should have one.
Driving the train through the saloon, though, that was pretty funny.