MATINEE COMEDY WEEK: THE ROUNDERS (1965)Starring: Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford Directed by: Burt Kennedy Tuesday 17th April at 3pm
Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford play two amiable, laid-back, aging cowpokes in this amusing look at the contemporary (and by this I mean 1960s) rancher’s lifestyle. Its based on a novel by Max Evans and has more than a hint of nostalgia to bygone ages of wild west pioneering. But the wildness in this western tends to be provided by a couple of beauties who are quick to get their kits off, rather than gun-battles and shoot-ups that we are used to seeing.
Ben Jones (Glenn Ford) and Howdy Lewis (Henry Fonda) spend their days breaking wild horses and turning up at the occasional rodeo. But they are so laid back that they find themselves out of pocket and with a totally unruly horse Old Fooler, thanks to a wily business man they work for Jim Ed Love (Chill Wills). They decide to try their luck with the horse at the rodeo – they figure no-one can stay on this beast. Their plan doesn’t quite materialise as they’d hoped but they do have the consolation of the companionship of Sister (Hope Holiday) and Mary (Sue Anne Langdon).
This is another Burt Kennedy directed movie and he is lucky to have a couple of fine Hollywood legends in the lead roles. Neither Ford nor Fonda are particularly well-known for their comedy work, but in this movie they prove that they are just as adept at slapstick as the heavyweight stuff, and what’s more their on-screen chemistry works brilliantly. These two heavyweights are joined by, what can only be described as, the finest comedy stallion to ever grace the big screen. The film became the inspiration for a short lived TV series of the same name.