The film continues, thus, often wittily and always picturesquely limning their ever-more intimate relation, as they have a night on the small town nearby and continue to grow more domestic...and they learn about each other, both breaching the other's trust a bit in doing so. (The film has chapter headings that work in theoretically reverse chronological order in relation to the events portrayed, so that their first meeting occurs in the chapter entitled "The End of the Affair.")
***[Climactic events described below; though plot is not the strength of this film.]
After a brief incident that leaves her slightly frightened of him, and him apparently a bit disturbed at his own aggression toward her, they approach the likelihood of a long-term romantic and sexual affair, at which point he somehow (overdose? underdose?) commits a quiet suicide, leaving his house and possessions to her with a note that he'd made it all legal before offing himself. She then takes her leave, and checks in to a Spanish hotel in the closing scene, alone again.
One More Train to Rob is not nearly an allusive, mostly two-person drama, but instead a very boldly-stated, at times overstated, large (and impressive) cast going about various sorts of frequently illegitimate business in Gold Rush California. A crew of ambitious and devious train robbers (led by George Peppard's Harker Fleet and to some extent by John Vernon's Timothy X. Nolan and Diana Muldaur's Katy) have made an impressive haul, only to have Fleet caught off-guard by a young woman claiming he'd impregnated her, and her two brothers ready to make sure Fleet marries her. This leads to Fleet almost inadvertently assaulting a police officer, and sentenced to a chain gang for three years...of which he serves slightly less for good behavior. On his way back to the town where Katy, his girlfriend, and Nolan are likely to have his share of the proceeds stashed away, Fleet comes across deputies from the town attempting to steal gold from a Chinese immigrant Tong mining camp; Fleet helps the Chinese miners foil the robbery and a kidnap attempt, and with them takes the deputies into town under citizens' arrest; this attracts considerable attention from the townsfolk, including a young woman prostitute, Ah Toy (France Nuyen), who seems startled to see the Chinese men in town, and the utterly unappreciative sheriff. It turns out that Nolan and Katy have wed, and are the town's aristocracy now, employing among others the brother of one of the arrested deputies. Fleet determines that Nolan engineered his confrontation with the brothers and the lawman that led to his chain-gang sentence, and does his best to figure a method of revenge against Nolan that might get Katy back...and finds that making common cause with the Chinese miners while pretending to betray them for Nolan's benefit (and getting Ah Toy out of the prostitution contract she sold herself into with her madam, Marie Windsor, to finance her family's return to China some months before) are means to that end.
And what makes these two rather good, not quite excellent films an interesting contrast is the degree to which they embody the yearnings of a lot of women and of men, in ways that are not so very often laid out thus. Anne, in Nothing Personal, seeks to be a free agent, unencumbered by her previous life or anything else, if she can help it...she's a pretty young woman, but also autonomous and proudly so, not about to take guff from anyone, ready to make her way on her own or in as equal a partnership as possible with a compatible spirit...and when she finds such a spirit, she's both willing to make a life with him, or not, as he chooses (it doesn't hurt, from the point of view of the identifying audience, that she could enchant a man and also have done so with one willing to sacrifice for her benefit). Ultimately, she remains her own woman, not caught in the interconnections that stereotypically define a woman's role in nearly every society, even more than they do a man's. Meanwhile, in One More Train, both Nolan from the outset and eventually Fleet see that what will bring them contentment is not the itinerant life of confidence trickstering and related sorts of theft, but settling down and establishing domestic and communal roots, taking a permanent place in society...something the Chinese men, and Ah Toy, are also striving to achieve. While the latter story is a bit more common than the former, particularly in film neither is the usual trend, where men are questing and women are nesting, entirely too often.
|Janet Varney and Alison Rosen|