Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Revisiting the Wild Wild West: The Night of Montezuma's Horde

"The Night of Montezuma's Horde" 
Written by Max Ehrlich
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Synopsis: West and Gordon accompany a professor and his team and a Mexican Colonel to retrieve the lost treasure of Montezuma. The professor turns out to be a phony and his hired help a gang of criminals, but biggest danger comes from a hidden temple of surviving Aztecs.

Jim: I was looking forward to this episode because of Ray Walston, and he kills it in his first scene on the show. He's delightfully sinister with his various facial tics and holding the saw over the skull. Kudos to whoever set up this scene. This is also an exceptionally clever fake out on a show that does a lot of fake outs. 

Trey: Yeah, this episode has a lot of everything--including renowned character actor Jack Elam as a heavy. Despite this seasons reputation and being less fantastical and more straight Western, you wouldn't know it here.

Jim: A lot of action in this one, too. The fight inside--and outside--the bar is pretty spectacular, though it does feel like one of those times West forgets he has a gun! Still, as fight scenes go, this feels well choreographed for the times.

One of the reasons given for this show's cancellation was that it was too violent. Given that the majority of the violence is fisticuffs or brawls, it hardly seems to compare to the cop and detective shows that were emerging at this time. I don't know where the "too violent" label came from, but I think it's subjective, perhaps, and outright wrong.

Trey: I suspect they were cherry-picking episodes.

Jim: Anyway, Artie's solution to the lack of a willing guide is quite elegant.

Trey: Yeah, Artie has been given time to shine this whole season, so far.

Jim: I really enjoyed this one. It's quest through the desert is unlike anything we've seen on this show before. At times, it gives me a bit of a Johnny Quest or H. Rider Haggard vibe with the Aztecs and their goddess. Some great visuals in this episode too. I loved the skeleton guarded entrance, the Aztec temple and the royal treasure room.

Trey: Yeah, the only failing is budgetary. The Aztec's seem like they're down to about 4 guys, 2 ladies and the "goddess." And the goddess' throne room seems pretty cramped.

Jim: True. All the more reason this episode should have been extended into a really amazing Wild Wild West movie. 

Trey: Or at least better than the ones we got.

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