TRASHY TUESDAY: Shalako by Louis L’Amour
Shalako is one of my favourite Louis L’Amour westerns. Sean Connery is one of my all time favourite actors. Unfortunately when combined they made a dreadful western movie, with Connery miscast as the rugged Indian fighter Shalako. Despite the stellar supporting cast of Brigitte Bardot, Honor Blackman, Jack Hawkins, Woody Strode (as the Indian chief) and a strangely cast Eric Sykes, the 1968 Edward Dmytryk directed ‘British’ western did not do well and has now faded into obscurity.
It did have, however, a terrific movie poster by popular film poster artist Tom Chantrell for the United Kingdom release of the movie.
Cover Comments: This 1971 Corgi edition of Shalako, uses the Chantrell poster to good effect as its cover. The well sketched, attractive portraits of Connery and Bardot dominate the cover, and the rich colours and mix of action scenes from the movie give it a dramatic feel. It is an eye-catching cover, although so obviously linking the book to a movie which failed at the office-box, may not have been a good strategy.
The back cover has the tagline from the movie, which fortunately did not appear on the pre-movie editions of the book:
“He beat the desert, hunted Apaches, busted wild horses, gentled untamed women. He was the man they called Shalako”
Some years ago I picked up this French edition in Paris. Utilising a rather bland still from the movie, it does not have the drama or the excitement of the Tom Chantrell inspired cover of the Corgi edition.