The Shooting

USA 1966. Dir: Monte Hellman. 81 min. DCP

“Remains a cultist legend that's never received the attention it deserves.”

NEW RESTORATION | Indie stalwart Roger Corman did incalculable good for American cinema. One example came in the form of $150,000 for a relatively untested director (Monte Hellman) and his acting friend (Jack Nicholson) to go into the Utah desert to shoot two quick-and-dirty Westerns back to back. The Shooting emerged as the more elliptical, philosophical, and accomplished of the pair (though the other, Ride in the Whirlwind, is nothing to sneeze at). With Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus as avowed influences, the odd, existential Western — written by Five Easy Pieces’ Carole Eastman — casts Warren Oates as an ex-bounty hunter escorting a mysterious woman (Millie Perkins) across the desert to settle a score; Nicholson is the black-clad gunslinger trailing them. Lionized by the nouvelle vague in France, but relegated to a TV release in the U.S., Hellman’s arty cult masterpiece ushered in a new, alternative take on genre: the acid Western!



"Primal violence with a modernist chill ... [Hellman] revels in the technical charms of the medium and the scruffiness of his B-movie budget as audaciously as a French New Wave director."

New Yorker | full review