MOVIE REVIEWS

Comancheros

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October 30, 1961

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By John Chard January 30, 2017

Just like your first rattler. One look and you'll know.

After winning a duel with a prominent and connected New Orleans man, gambler Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman) has to flee on account of impending arrest for murder. But he is soon captured by Texas Ranger, Jake Cutter (John Wayne), who sets about returning him to Louisiana to be hanged. However, in spite of their obvious professional differences, the men are forced to come together to fight The Comancheros, renegade white men who smuggle guns and whiskey to the Comanche Indians.

The credentials for The Comancheros are out of the top draw. Directed by Michael Curtiz, starring John Wayne, with support from the likes of Lee Marvin, Henry Daniel, Edgar Buchanan, Ina Balin, Jack Elam & Bruce Cabot. While the score is provided by Elmer Bernstein and cinematography is courtesy of William H. Clothier. It's based on a story by Paul Wellman and although far from being a top tier Duke Wayne Oater, it's an amiable action packed movie that has an old fashioned feel to it.

This was to be Curtiz's last film as he was to pass away shortly afterwards, he was helped on the direction by Wayne who requested to be uncredited for his work, while Cliff Lyons was on hand for some of the action sequences. The acting is solid and the cast seem to be having fun, though a romantic strand between Whitman's Regret & Balin's Pilar is badly developed, but around them all is the Utah & Arizona locale which is beautifully utilised by the talented Clothier.

An entertaining Oater to pass away a Sunday afternoon with. 6/10

By Per Gunnar Jonsson January 30, 2017

This movie was directed by both Michael Curtiz and John Wayne himself although the latter was never credited as a director. I so enjoyed myself when watching this movie. It is indeed a classical John Wayne western very far from todays special effects loaded action movies. I guess you must have a bit of a nostalgic attachment to old classics, characters like John Wayne and western movies in order to enjoy this movie.

John Wayne plays his classical slightly grumpy, all honest, tough guy that I really like. I remember one of my greatest disappointments as a kid was when John Wayne played a character that actually turned out to be the bad guy at the end. On top of everything he died at the end! I was so pissed off, almost traumatized.

The story is pretty much what the book blurb says. Nothing fancy. There is a pretty lady thrown in of course although it is not John Wayne who gets her at the end, or even aspires to get her, but the gambler, Paul Regret, who, not surprisingly, turns out to be one of the good guys. The story holds together pretty well and there are of course plenty of opportunities for both fist-fights and gun-fights.

The gun-fight are where it turns a bit silly though. The big fights are mostly a whole bunch of Indians mixed up with some white crooks attacking on horseback riding around shooting wildly until the directors decides that it is time for the next scene and they ride away. A handful of people, sometimes barely that, repeatedly stand against 50 or more bad guys on horseback yet they always come out on top. That is pretty silly to me. It makes for some nice old-fashioned gun-fights but it is still rather silly. More the kind of stuff that would be put in a children's movie today.

Still the movie was really fun for me to watch. The good guys are really good guys and the bad guys are well done. I especially appreciated Lee Marwin's performance as Tully Crow in the bad guy department. Also, as is usual in these oldie movies, the opponents can have a fight (verbal as well as physical) and still communicate fairly intelligently without swearing their heads off.

I would recommend this movie when you are in a nostalgic Western mood looking for some light entertainment.

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