A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Snakes In Movies

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Snakes in Movies
Lizards in Movies
Turtles in Movies
Amphibians in Movies
Alligators and Crocodiles
in Movies
Snake Face
All Movie Snakes
Must Die!
All Movie Snakes
Want to Kill You!
Snake Bites
Snakes Used
as Weapons
Giant Monster Snakes with a Taste
for Human Flesh
Pet Snakes
Snakes Used
to Shock Us
Dancing With Snakes
Snake Charmers
Snake People
Snakes Used Realistically
Snakes Used for
Food or Medicine
Snake Fights
Throwing and
Whipping Snakes
Black Mambas
Boas, Pythons,
and Anacondas

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Shalako (1968)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
Shalako Shalako Shalako
Shalako Shalako Shalako
Shalako Shalako Shalako
This is a Louis L'Amour-penned western made by the English and filmed in Spain. A between-Bonds Sean Connery, as Shalako, is paired up with Brigitte Bardot, who gets about ten lines which she can barely pronounce, but she's not in this movie for her talkin. Considering all of the great Spaghetti Westerns and other revisionist westerns that had been made by 1968, this one comes off as a bit old-fashioned, especially the singing cowboy theme song which sounds like a very bad TV show theme. "Shalako, Shalako... born on the wind to follow the sun...he rode wild country down New Mexico...would gamble his life to own a woman!" etc. But there are some interesting things regarding savages vs. civilized Europeans and other class and cultural differences. One of the less-likable aristocratic women is choked to death by an Apache with her own diamond jewelry that she tries to give him to spare her life.

The snake scene comes in when Shalako is taking the remaining members of a hunting party of foreigners trespassing in Apache territory (they even dress up in formal wear for dinner in the middle of the desert) away from the Apache warriors who have killed everyone else. He has just humiliated the Baron, the leader of the hunting party who is an arrogant stubborn man whose decision to defy Shalako got everybody else killed, when he sees the Baron wander near a rattlesnake. He tells everybody to freeze then throws his hat onto the snake and picks it up by the tail then whips it to death on the ground and tosses is away. The scene is supposed to show us how experienced and brave and resourceful Shalako is, as well as that he doesn't wish the Baron any harm, but it just shows me how stupid the screenwriters (maybe the novelist) are to treat a rattlesnake as if it was a timebomb instead of a living animal. Almost as bad as showing us an unnecessary killing (it's not hard to simply scoot the snake away with a stick or rifle, I've done it a hundred times) Shalako kills the snake in absolutely the stupidest way possible. His risk of being bitten by the snake is a thousand times higher than it would be just leaving it alone.
But he's "Shalako, Shalako, born on the wind to follow the sun...."

As they do in most movies, we first see a stock shot of a live rattlesnake filmed who knows when and who knows where (this one looks like an Arizona Black rattlesnake) then we see Connery holding and whipping a fake snake, probably made of rubber or, at best it's a dead snake. The snake carcass he throws to the ground looks nothing like the stock rattlesnake we saw at first.

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