HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
   
 
Newest Articles
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
   
 
  Comancheros, The Another Death Valley
Year: 1961
Director: Michael Curtiz, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff, Lee Marvin, Michael Ansara, Patrick Wayne, Bruce Cabot, Joan O'Brien, Jack Elam, Edgar Buchanan, Henry Daniell, Richard Devon, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman) is a man in trouble since he got into a duel with the son of a powerful official: the man died, against Regret’s wishes for he was aiming for his shoulder but the target foolishly moved, and now he is wanted for murder, no matter that he thought duelling was legal in the New Orleans of 1843. It may well have been, but you don’t just bump off the offspring of such an influential man, so he flees the scene. Later, he is on a riverboat indulging his passion for gambling when he is approached by an attractive young woman, Pilar Graile (Ina Balin), who claims she wants to dance with him, but may have an ulterior motive. Though someone with only one motive that’s plain to see is ranger Captain Jake Cutter (John Wayne)…

Yup, Big Jake, not to be confused with any other character called Big Jake who may have been played by The Duke, is a fully paid up member of the forces of right and justice, and it’s not important that Regret wasn’t trying to kill his victim, all that matters to Jake is that he is brought in to be hanged, and he is the man to do it. As it turned out, in the most rambling manner possible, with a plot very easily distracted, most notably a fairly substantial interlude where Wayne traded quips with a roughhousing, half-scalped Lee Marvin who he poses as a gunrunner with. It was a mark of the confidence of the enterprise, as deceptively laid back as that was, that it could get away with throwing in whatever suited them to stay entertaining.

Of course, behind the camera it was a less fortunate experience, not because of any great tensions ruining the goodnatured atmosphere, but because the director was in the process of dying. He was Michael Curtiz, a minor legend for his helming of many a classic Golden Age of Hollywood effort such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and Casablanca who though he had the reputation as a talented journeyman was more than that. He could bring pace, humour and even a soulfulness to even the most potentially pulpy of material, as well as the visual flair that delineated a man at home in the studio system when it gave him the opportunities to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings, but sadly after The Comancheros he was to be no more, suffering from the effects of cancer for the whole shoot.

Indeed, he died shortly after it was completed, and Wayne had been an enormous help on the set, often standing in when Curtiz was simply too ill to direct, actually making a better job of it than he had on the previous year’s The Alamo which had been his pet project to direct himself. Don’t go looking for which sequence was guided by which talent, either, for this was an entirely seamless edit between their scenes, as if Wayne had been a quick learner and was capable enough to adopt the Curtiz style. The mood, in spite of a load of people getting killed in the course of the plot, was upbeat and Wayne demonstrated yet again the worth of having a genuine star heading your movie, charismatic and comfortable enough in his skin by that point to guarantee there was an audience eager for him.

The Comancheros more or less set up the sort of Western Wayne would appear in for the rest of his career, with brawling, rowdiness, gunfights and the like mixing with a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do message that proved so appealing. No matter that he was getting long in the tooth, his exchanges with Whitman and Marvin, among others, were more than enough evidence his wits were still quick, and this was a film that liked to hear its characters chat and shoot the breeze, as Jake and Regret do whenever one has captured the other. But what, you may be asking, is a Comanchero? They didn’t show up until three quarters of an hour into the story, but brought out the theme of balance between civilisation and savagery, with Regret the city boy at one end, and the outlaws at the other, a gang who ride with the Comanches and stage terrible raids on the settlers of the plain. Jake, needless to say, was the perfect example of the happy medium, and he was pretty easygoing in temperament, making this good company, with a rousing finale. Music by Elmer Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1769 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: