Mr. Majestyk (1974)
November 30, 2022 12:58 PM - Subscribe

A Colorado melon farmer (Charles Bronson) becomes the target of a grudge by a hit man (Al Lettieri) after pushing back on a shakedown. Also stars Linda Cristal, Paul Koslo, and Alejandro Rey. Written my Elmore Leonard. Directed by Richard Fleischer.
posted by 2N2222 (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I love this movie! My wife literally refused to believe me when I told her that I was a huge fan of a movie where Charles Bronson played a peaceful melon farmer who just wants to tend his melons and hire the melon-picking crew of his choice.

I haven't seen it in a long time and I'm sure it's problematic in the way that most things from the early '70s are unavoidably problematic, but as I recall the plot driver is Bronson is sticking up for Mexican migrant workers against local racist redneck goofs. It definitely felt surprisingly progressive compared to what Bronson was known for by the time I watched it, which was the incredibly right-wing Reaganistic Death Wish movies (the first Death Wish is arguably a bit more nuanced, and has a super dope soundtrack, but maybe that's a topic best left for a Death Wish Fanfare thread [also maybe I should start a Death Wish Fanfare thread).
posted by Shepherd at 3:48 PM on November 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

(Death Wish here, apologies for the derail, back to the melon farming)
posted by Shepherd at 4:03 PM on November 30, 2022

This is one of the better post 1970 Charles Bronson tough guy movies. Majestyk is a generally reasonable guy who mostly wants to be left alone, but has a somewhat reckless impulse to kick the hornet's nest. Bronson's performance in this one is more amusing than his typical tough guy portrayal with his sarcastic, fuck-all attitude brings a smile more often than his typical characters.

When a local small time thug (Paul Koslo) presents Majestyk with a somewhat feeble shakedown attempt, the thug gets shown he's a poor match to Bronson's/Majestyk's tough guy farmer. Which lands Majestyk in the local jail.

Where he first encounters Lettieri's recently caught professional hit man. Naturally, Bronson/Majestyk can't help but troll the gorilla-like hit man repeatedly, which sets up the movie for all the action and plot.

Lettieri does his typical menacing gorilla bad guy pretty well, and also somewhat amusingly, even as he does shit like brutally kill a cop.

The plot does involve some Mexican migrants, most notably the young Linda Cristal, who functions as something of a potential gutsy romantic interest to Bronson's Majestyk, though never really gets followed through. She is also is central to the movie's chase scene, which was apparently used as some kind of commercial for Ford pickups.

The movie holds up better than the average 70s Bronson movie. It has more heart and humor. The action scenes are good, and the progression of the story draws the viewer in, wondering where Majestyk is going with his schemes.

posted by 2N2222 at 5:35 PM on November 30, 2022

Based on an Elmore Leonard novel. Agreed that this is a pretty good flick and it's worth watching. The Mexican workers are portrayed in a sympathetic light in the same vein as Bronson's character. They're all just trying to do their jobs and go home. And I love watching old chase scenes with 1970s-era car suspensions.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:34 AM on December 1, 2022

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