Delilah's Pours A Double Shot Of Shatner With White Comanche Screening
By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 27, 2012 6:00PM
There have been many competitors in the contest known as "Native American most hilariously played by white actor" in Hollywood history. While the inexplicable casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto suggests there are still willing pretenders to the throne, it is our opinion that nobody, but nobody, can touch William Shatner in the laughably bad 1968 western White Comanche.
It's not really a fair fight: White Comanche features Shatner as not one but twin half-white, half-Native American brothers. As the misunderstood cowboy drifter Johnny Moon, he has an unwavering moral compass nobody seems to recognize. As the peyote-addicted, shirt-phobic Notah, he's a lawless and messianic threat to every social order nearby. The fact that they cross paths in the middle of nowhere is less startling than that they seem to have gone to the same frontier hair stylist.
Much like 1965's Incubus, White Comanche owes most of its cult status to the weird effect of Shatner's presence. With stagecoach robberies, cattle barons, saloons, saloon girls with stolen virtue, lynch mobs, gunfights in the center of town and more, you get the whole exploitative parade of Western genre metaphors exhausted to the brink of collapse, all yoked to twin slabs of the finest ham Canada has ever exported.
This is of course a must-see for hardcore Trekkies, but make no mistake: White Comanche is a terrible movie. If you simply must have a 60s Hollywood take on the guilt complex of America's genocidal Manifest Destiny as played out in the character of the "half breed," Martin Ritt's Paul Newman vehicle Hombre is where it's at. But if you are looking for 90 minutes of high-proof camp, then this double dose of Shat will pair nicely with a strong whiskey and a good sense of humor.
White Comanche screens Saturday, June 30 at 6 p.m. at Delilah's, 2771 N. Lincoln Ave.