Actually, John Wayne is not the best part of this film. The opening scenes deal with the end of the Civil War. Wayne plays Colonel John Henry Thomas, whose men have followed him from Texas to fight for the Union and are not sick of soldiering and ready to go home. The plan is that they are going to put together a herd of wild horses and sell them to representatives of the Mexican government, who are offering the best price. Of course, Mexico might be about to have its own Civil War. Meanwhile, the defeat of the Confederacy and the arrival of Northern carpetbaggers have convinced Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson) and his men that there is nothing left for them in the South. So his plan is to lead his men and their families to Mexico to serve in the military for the government of the Emperor Maximillian trying to hold onto power.Read more ›
The movie is entertaining, and with a great deal of humor. Actually, this is probably one of Rock Hudson's better roles ( I can't bear him in those fluffy Doris Day comedies) in that his comedic talents are allowed to shine without being ridiculous. Loved Roman Gabriel as a football player.....but as an actor...well, um, noooooo.
The only people who will find this entertaining are John Wayne fans -- who will have their loyalty to the screen legend tested by this film -- and those who still argue for the nobility of the Confederacy. This latter group are probably heartbroken at the film's ending when Rock Hudson and company are not successful in establishing a Confederate haven in Mexico from which they can continue to fight for the valiant cause of the South. Alas. Rock Hudson as Colonel James Langdon embodies the prototypical Confederate hero who loves his slaves, loves the South even more, is a proper gentleman, and will burn his plantation estate before he lets Yankee carpetbaggers get their hands on his Eden. Bravo! Perhaps my favorite scene is when Rock gives one of his older slaves his daddy's gold watch. The poignancy is overwhelming. I guess the message is: I'll give you this priceless antique before I give you your freedom.
Even without this Southern revisionist crap, THE UNDEFEATED would be awful. The only reason it gets one star is that John Wayne's sideburns in this film absolutely rock. In fact, I would have been much more entertained by a film about the Duke's sideburns and Rock Hudson's mustache. Maybe Andrew V. McLaglen will use that idea for a directorial comeback vehicle!!! We can only hope.