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So, funny story: this was supposed to be the first movie I reviewed on this site due to somebody requesting it, rather than me choosing it all on my own. I was under the impression that a commenter by the name of “act” had suggested this movie for me to review, so I finally got around to obtaining this film (he suggested this back in October 2014), watching it, and reviewing it.
But, as I was editing this review, I went back to the original comment posted by act and realized that I had made a mistake. He didn’t suggest this movie; he wanted me to review a movie called No Deposit, No Return!
How could I have made the mistake? Maybe because they’re both Disney films from the 70s, both have titles that are around four words long, and both feature actors Don Knotts, Darren McGavin, and John Williams? It’s possible. Maybe I just misread the original comment? That’s possible too.
All in all, I’d like to apologize to act if you’re reading this and I’ll do my best to get to reviewing No Deposit, No Return as soon as possible! I appreciate your patience.
In the meantime, we might as well go through Hot Lead and Cold Feet together now since I have the review prepared already.
And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!
The movie opens up in the old Western town of Bloodshy, Arizona founded by the crotchety old-timer, Jasper Bloodshy, played by Jim Dale.
His health is deteriorating, hence he leaves the town in his will to his two sons. Mayor Ragsdale, played by Darren McGavin, is a bit confused about this as Jasper Bloodshy only has one son: the rambunctious Wild Billy Bloodshy. Jasper explains to the mayor that he actually had two sons, but his wife left him and took one of his sons away to England many years ago. Jasper’s since discovered the existence of his second son, Eli, in Philadelphia, and has sent him a message informing him of the town and the inheritance.
As Mayor Ragsdale tries to process this new big of information, all of a sudden, Jasper falls off a cliff to his supposed demise.
Later in Philadelphia, we see Jasper’s long-lost son, Eli, played by Jim Dale also. Eli is the stereotypical Bible-toting, love-everybody type of guy who’s amazed when he gets the message about his father, the town, and the inheritance. He heads out to Arizona straight away taking along two young orphans in his care, Marcus and Roxanne, played by Michael Sharrett and Debbie Lytton, respectively.
On the way to Arizona, Eli and the kids bump into a schoolteacher who’s also headed for the town of Bloodshy. Jenny, played by Karen Valentine, offers to give them a ride into town. Other than this, Jenny is probably one of the worst written characters I’ve seen in a Disney movie because she’s absolutely pointless! She doesn’t do anything of value. She merely serves as a love interest for Eli although they never have any romantic scenes together. Other than that, you could have cut her out from the film and the film would not have suffered in the slightest because of it.
Anyway, they soon reach Bloodshy and the peace-loving Eli sees how violent and rowdy the civilians of Bloodshy truly are. The rowdiest of them all, and the one feared by the other citizens, is his brother, Wild Billy, also played by Jim Dale. (Yep, Jim Dale pulls a triple role performance in this film!) Wild Billy is shocked to discover the existence of Eli and the townspeople are more shocked because Wild Billy and Eli aren’t just brothers; they’re twins!
Once everything settles down, Mayor Ragsdale welcomes Eli to the town of Bloodshy and informs him of the stipulations of Jasper’s will. According to the will, the two brothers must take part in an epic race/challenge all across the town of Bloodshy. The race involves traversing on railways, maneuvering through dangerous rivers, and even scaling high mountainous regions. The winner of the race will win the inheritance fair and square.
Eli isn’t too interested in the race and is willing to just split the inheritance 50/50 with Wild Billy. Wild Billy, on the other hand, doesn’t want that and the race is on!
As everyone prepares for the race, a number of things are going on concurrently. First, Eli is trying to reform the city and bring them back up from their violent, destructive ways. Secondly, Jasper is alive. Yep, Jasper faked his death in order for his will to be carried out so that he could witness the race for himself. The only one who knows about this is Jasper’s English manservant, Mansfield, played by John Williams. This leads to a lot of humorous scenes with the two of them in the background throughout the movie and getting the short end of the stick because people don’t know they’re there.
Thirdly, we witness the treachery of Mayor Ragsdale. According to the will, if neither of the two brothers win the race, the inheritance goes to the mayor. Hence, Mayor Ragsdale hires some assassins to conveniently get rid of Eli and Wild Billy during the race.
The latter half of the movie focuses on the race itself. Eli finds himself utterly unprepared for it all while Wild Billy breezes through the race all the while trying to sabotage Eli’s chances of winning. As the race nears its end, Eli discovers Mayor Ragsdale’s plans and tries to warn Wild Billy about it. Wild Billy, of course, doesn’t believe it at first. But, he soon accepts the fact, buries his hatchet with Eli, and they work together to win the race.
After the race is won, the mayor is thrown in jail, the brothers decide to split the inheritance to make Bloodshy a better town, and Jasper and Mansfield surreptitiously head to another town so that Jasper can fix things between his two daughters just like he did with his two sons.
And that was Hot Lead and Cold Feet. The movie itself isn’t really good, but if you’re looking for a fun little Western that’ll make you laugh every now and then, this isn’t a bad choice. All scenes with Jasper and Mansfield are hilarious as well as all the scenes in the race itself. There are even scenes that I didn’t mention. For example, Don Knotts and Jack Elam also appear in this film playing the Sheriff and a guy he’s feuding with, respectively. Throughout the movie, they try to have a duel, but it always goes wrong and hilarity ensues.
But, the best part of this movie by far, is witnessing the great acting talents of Jim Dale playing all three Bloodshy men. They’re three different characters with three different personalities, but Jim Dale pulls it off superbly!
But other than Jim Dale and the comedy, there is nothing else that I can really praise about the film. It’s not a good film, but you don’t necessarily have to skip it.
(You can click on the image below for an enlarged version of my rating sheet.)
So, the final score for this film is 24/35 = 68.57% (D+) !
The next review will be posted on August 24th.