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on May 10, 2000
I picked this movie on a whim, having nothing better to do that Saturday afternoon, and man, was I glad that I did. Filmed in 1976, this fairly low-budget movie stars Dennis Hopper as an Irish prospector-turned-outlaw during the Australian gold rush of the 1850s-1860s. He joins forces with an aboriginal renegade (played by David Gulpilil, who would cover similar territory a year later in the film of Thomas Keneally's THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH) and goes on the lam, evading psychotic former prison guards and police. This movie, with its atmospheric cinematography, innovative folk music, rather seems like the Australian answer to BAD COMPANY. Hopper is really good as the harassed Morgan (with a respectable brogue, no less) and Frank Thring (who was rewarded with the greatest closing line in any movie since CASABLANCA), probably best known for playing Pontius Pilate in BEN HUR, is a sinister magistrate who tries to give Morgan his comeuppance. Don't overlook this movie.
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VINE VOICEon February 24, 2005
This is a restored version of this interesting feature, actually completed in 1957 by Buena Vista (Disney) but canned for two years until Columbia rescued and released it, supposedly based upon an historic incident, and there is a good deal to appreciate here, in particular excellent camerawork under the aegis of director Ted Tetzlaff, known essentially as a cinematographer. The scenario places the action in the newborn state of California in 1848, relating of a homicide trial with the defendant, played by Dennis Hopper, accused of murdering a local Mexican/Californian during an observed gun duel, after which he is arrested by the local unofficially appointed and unarmed sheriff, portrayed by 18 year Patrick Wayne. One of the better of a blessedly rare genre, The Didactic Western, YOUNG LAND's primary motif becomes a question as to whether the United States system of justice will serve up fair verdicts for non-English speaking citizens, with the efforts of an imported State judge (Dan O'Herlihy) to organize a proper trial inside a sheep barn being particularly engrossing as the judge is not accustomed to such rude courtroom surroundings. Thanks to a rather large budget, art director Jack Okey creates a Mexican village including a plaza, cantina, jail, and other buildings, and Tetzlaff, favouring long shots shows the players in full along with the location settings, all used to good advantage in glorious Technicolor through strong performances by Hopper, O'Herlihy, Ben Stroud, and Ken Curtis as a fugitive converted into a deputy.
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on January 2, 2006
The film was originally shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. But this 2005 DVD release from Troma Entertainment presents the film in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio print cropped directly from the "pan and scan" full-screen print that was made for VHS releases. The film has never been seen in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio since its theatrical release.
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on April 23, 2006
....I was hugely dissapointed in the Troma release of this film..I thought finally after paying more for company dvd with a little more prestige that the usual bargain bin varieties..I'd be getting a complete version of this film finally on DVD!...NOPE..all the nasty tidbits were cut!..the Head getting blown thru at the beginning in the Chinese opium Den..the more graphics aspects of the prison rape..the bucket of animal guts scene...the [...] scene in the Bar..the old man mooning the Bush Cop...even the mention of the word Scrotum!..All cut in the Troma Release!...I'm sticking with my old Thorn EMI VHS!!!!..I'm Pissed!..cuz I love this movie!
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on October 25, 2015
Stupid, but entertaining western with Patrick Wayne as the golden boy lead actor. He is a 21 year old sheriff of a small California settlement who rules over the town with solely his good intentions and good looks, while wearing no badge. He has a heart of gold and a pretty Yvonne Craig as a tempestuous bride to be that is sure "ogle" material. He wears no gun and everyone, even the outlaws, bend to his orders for no apparent reason. The premise is a stretch of the imagination and the screenplay is even more childish, but this bit of old west fluff is worth a look see, if you want to pass a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do. Dennis Hopper and "Festus" from the old "Gunsmoke" television series keep things enjoyable throughout as the two heavies. There's good acting all around and the scenery and location make for ideal surroundings. If you can get over the childish feel of the whole shebang, you'll be OK. I'm sure this movie would have never been made if it weren't for Patrick's daddy pulling some strings.
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VINE VOICEon February 10, 2008
A small budget masterpiece driven by another powerhouse performance by "Sir" Dennis Hopper, in my opinion, among the very greatest living actors, and solid acting up and down the line. What we have here is a tragic tale - once again the "have nots" simply crushed under the iron and leather heels of the "haves". A direct and candid visioning of why folks turn to crime and the insensitivity of the brutal wheels of capitalism and the awful legal infrastructure which supports this miserable system of social organization. Perfectly cast Frank Thring (whose claim to fame was that he played Pontius Pilate in Ben Hur) also turns in a massive performance as Morgan's ultimate nemesis - a proud and cynical bureaucrat - a vain capitalist dog-lover, who sanctions torture and killing of his fellow humanity by proxy - while he lines his belly with expensive butchery.
After seeing Mad Dog Morgan, one can rest assured, that human beastiality and stupidity has not changed a wit, nor lost a step, since the 19th century, and probably not for a long time before that. Another to the bone social critique marginalized by the corporate media.
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on February 16, 2016
I would like to think that Patrick Wayne felt a good deal of remorse for making this movie. The hat he wore was reason enough to give this movie a minus rating. Where was father John when this thing was made?
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on April 28, 2014
Not bad little Western with some good performances by Ken Curtis and Dennis Hopper and some blah performances by Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) and Patrick Wayne (John Wayne's son). Actually Patrick Wayne got better as the years went by. Hopper plays a gunslinger who murders a Mexican in the newly formed state of California. The rest of the film is taken up with tensions between the local Anglos and resident Mexicans as a trial decides the fate of the killer and the rights of all citizens in the area. I bought the VCI DVD release and the quality is OK but I would love to see a re-mastered version released very soon.
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Mad Dog Morgan is a real rarity, which is a great shame, because Philip Mora's film has much to recommend it and deserves much better than a dodgy cropped transfer on the Troma label. More a chronicle of the exploits of `Mad Dog' Morgan, the bushranger who inspired Ned Kelly, than a conventional narrative, it's a non-judgemental portrait of an inconsistent, unpredictable man - after going to great lengths to deny he'll ever "be made a murderer," he then becomes one almost immediately when he drunkenly sets his gun off, wounding his host, and then hurrying off to kill the man that he himself has just sent after a doctor. It's very much a seventies film (in the best sense), with a sense of the violence of both the landscape and the people trying to eke a living from it, and it constantly surprises with neat little details such as the magistrate who doles out long sentences simply because there are still so many roads to build. Despite being at the height of his drugs-and-booze lost period, Dennis Hopper gives a pretty good performance as the naïve and contradictory folk hero cum psychopath, even managing a fairly convincing Irish accent. There's an impressive supporting cast of familiar Aussie faces, not least Gulpilil as Morgan's beloved partner in crime and Frank Thring at his most superciliously unpleasant as the Superintendant: few actors could seem more natural when he and his social circle start casually divvying up Morgan's body parts in the final scene (the head for an anthropologist, the scrotum for the Superintendant's new tobacco pouch). Although not overly graphic, it's still fairly strong meat.
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on August 20, 2013
I have always enjoyed this movie because Dennis Hopper really suffers here, you can see that his drunk in most of his scenes. Wich of course adds to the reality. But above mentioned, it shows what a great actor he was.
Here he portrays Mad Dog Morgan, a crazed Irish, an outlaw. Being raped in prison and put in hard labor cutting down wood he is not in the best of moods when released to freedom. The scenes in which is is in the hard labor camps, is gruesome. You can really feel the heat, pain and agony of hard labor here.

My only issue with this Troma release if the picture quality of the main feature, its really bad. Compared to the Austrailan Umbrella release its really crappy. Troma should've done a better job here.
But there are a commentary track by Philippe Mora and a second disc with bonus like interviews with Dennis Hopper and cast.

I can recommend this movie, but not this release. The picture quality is way too bad. But the Austrailan Umbrella release is hard to find so i think you can make do with this one.

And yes, it's uncut. Prison scenes are nasty, even for a seasoned movie buff like me.

Buy it, but beware the picture quality.
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