The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean has a title card to the effect: ‘Maybe this isn’t the way it was . . . it’s the way it should have been’. For some, perhaps, that will set up this $4 million freedom freeway spoof.
The two-hour running time is not fleshed out with anything more than scenic vignettes, sometimes attempting to recreate the success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, with an Alan and Marilyn Bergman-lyricked tune and Maurice Jarre’s music sometimes attempting honest spoofing of westerns, and sometimes trying to play the story historically straight. The overkill and the underdone do it in.
Newman (Bean) arrives in Texas badlands, draws a moustache on his wanted poster and announces himself at the saloon. He is promptly beaten, robbed, tied to a horse and run out over the prairie to die. Mexican towngirl Victoria Principal saves him. He returns to the saloon, massacres everyone there and then sits down to wait to ‘kill all of your kind’.
Newman is good as Bean, injecting charm into the character along with the rough exterior. Principal is impressive in her first major role.
1972: Nomination: Best Song (‘Marmalade, Molasses and Honey’)