THE COMANCHEROS is one of John Wayne's most entertaining Westerns. It has a great cast, story, photography and one of Elmer Bernstein's best scores. The widescreen DVD looks incredible. John Wayne and Stuart Whitman play off each other brilliantly. Lee Marvin as Crow has a small but effective and outrageous character part. There's plenty of action and heroics to go around in this great outdoor adventure. I wish they would make movies like this today.
John Wayne as the texas ranger whose job it is intially to bring in gambler Stuart Whitman is great fun with a great score to support this technicolor action and buddy film. The title refers to a group of white outlaws who rile up the indians against the settlers. Ina Balin is the lady with a connection to the outlaw clan that Stuart lays claim to and eventually wins. Wayne as the senior member of this buddy team helps out in the romance department being a little long of tooth to be the romantic focal point though there is a brief indication of a love interest for his character as well. Stuart becomes a reluctant ranger in order to save himself from deportation back to Louisiana and an appointment with a hangman for winning a dueling contest and he is teamed with Wayne to locate the outlaw gang. The scenes between the two while they travel together initially as ranger and prisoner and finally as evolving friends and allies are most entertaining. Pleanty of action and entertaining dialogue. Cast is populated by a number of Wayne's stock company of actors and includes Lee Marvin in a relatively brief role as, what else, a bad guy. One of the most fun of Wayne's westerns before he started playing parodys of himself.
John Wayne rules in this big, sprawling western adventure film. The screenplay, co-written by western novelist Clair Huffaker, struggles with the historical accuracy of Texas in the 1840s and the rifles seem a little advanced for 1843, but, nit-picking aside, this is an entertaining film. Texas Ranger Jake Cutter (Wayne) and sometime gambler Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman) go under cover after a vicious army of outlaw raiders known as "Comancheros," led by the diabolical Graile (Nehemiah Persoff). Hard-hitting, large scale action sequences deftly directed by Michael Curtiz, who directd some of Errol Flynn's better adventure films, will please action-adventure fans. The movie includes a comfortable blend of action, suspense, and humor with occasional serious overtones of duty, friendship, and the love of a good woman. Taken within the context of the film that isn't as corny as it might sound. Great outdoor color photography adds to the appeal. A pulse-pounding musical score by Elmer Bernstein matches the excitement. Lee Marvin makes the most of his costarring role as Tully Crow, one of the West's wildest bad men. Watch for the hilarious vignette featuring Edgar Buchanan as a judge of dubious integrity. Ditto the comic relief segment with Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as a seemingly bewildered gunrunner. There is nothing intellectual or artistic to say of this movie, but it's good old fashioned fun. Recommended viewing.
Though primarily a classic action-Western, this movie succeeds on several other levels as well. Wayne plays veteran Ranger Jake Cutter, who boards a Gulf steamer to arrest New Orleans gambler Paul Regret (Whitman), planning to extradite him for the so-called "murder" (in a formal duel) of the son of a judge (Texas being at this point still a Republic and eager to co-operate with the older States in the hope of soon being admitted to their august company). Whitman (whose role in this film was my first introduction to him, and whom I've liked ever since) is really a character a little outside his depth: he apparently didn't even know the status of the man he killed until the referee told him, and the perils and crudities of frontier Texas are perhaps more than he was expecting, but he's flexible enough not only to adjust but to even escape Jake's custody once--and, upon their second encounter, to redeem himself in a splendidly choreographed Indian attack on a rural ranch (watch for veteran Western actor Bob Steele as the owner of same), which leads to his acceptance into the Rangers and his partnership with Jake in the search for the hidden stronghold of the white renegades (the Comancheros of the title) who are providing the Indians with guns and even tactical support. As always seems to be the case in Wayne's films, much of the weight of the movie is carried by the wonderful lesser cast: Nehemiah Persoff as the crippled Comanchero mastermind Graile and Ina Balin as his daughter Pilar, whom Regret meets on the boat and with whom he falls in love (arrested by Jake, he vows to "turn Galveston inside out" to find her); Lee Marvin as gunrunner Tully Crow (one of his best roles); Michael Ansara and Richard Devon as Pilar's bodyguards, Amelung and Esteban (the latter of whom apparently loves her from afar, to the point of switching sides when Jake and Regret set out to arrest her father); Wayne's son Pat as the young Ranger Tobe; Edgar Buchanan absolutely delightful as the wily Judge Breen; and Joan O'Brien as Melinda Marshall, the widow for whom Jake has eyes. Though the historic ambience (especially the guns) isn't always accurate, the fast pace, unforgettable characters, and as-ever-splendid Bernstein score make up for it. Like my other Wayne favorite, "El Dorado," this is one I return to again and again--I can't even count how many times I've rewatched it, and I never get tired of it. A Wayne Western everyone's collection should include.
I first saw "The Comancheros" as a kid at one of Houston's downtown movie palaces. I loved it and still do, as sheer entertainment. It's perhaps the greatest horseman's stunt extravaganza ever, with more falls per minute than any other movie I know. I'm glad to have it on DVD (and in widescreen, too). But BEWARE of thinking it is true to actual Texas history! The film is set in 1840, during the days of the Texas Republic. Among its rampant anachronisms and inaccuracies: * It shows a Texas Ranger arresting a fugitive from Louisiana. The Rangers in 1840 were not policemen. They were a frontier militia set up to fight Mexicans and Indians. * The Winchester repeating rifle did not exist in 1840. Ditto the Army Colt "peacemaker" revolver. * Texans in 1840 lived almost entirely in the eastern part of the state, not in the semi-arid West. They raised crops, not herds of cattle. There was as yet no such thing as a "cowboy." Hence the film's costumes and ranch-house sets are wrong. * The Comancheros were not an outlaw band of Anglo renegades who rode along with Comanches on their raids and took vacations on Louisiana riverboats. They were virtually the entire population of what is now New Mexico, separated from the Texas settlements, never mind Louisiana, by the Comanches' impassable domain. They survived by staying on the Comanches' good side, and they did that by trading with them and ransoming the captives the Comanches brought up from Old Mexico. As T.R. Fehrenbach notes, the Comanches bragged that they allowed these people to live on the fringes of Comancheria only so that they might raise horses for them. * Speaking of riverboats, those vessels kept to their rivers, and did not ply the Gulf of Mexico between New Orleans and Galveston as one does in this movie. Enjoy "The Comancheros" for its action, scenery, music, star turns, humor and ripe dialogue, but if you want a more realistic portrait of a Comanchero, see Antonio Moreno's character in "The Searchers." He's the Spanish-American gentleman who guides Ethan and Martin to Chief Scar's camp. For a more realistic portrayal of an Indian raid and settler's pursuit, get the recently released Disney DVD "Savage Sam," starring Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Brian Keith, Jeff York and Slim Pickens. It's a sequel to "Old Yeller," and very nicely done (if you can get past its hokey title song). And for a thrilling history of the Comanches and their 40-year war with the Texans, get Fehrenbach's book "Comanches: The Destruction of a People."
You can see by the title that I am a John Wayne fan, and this rip-roaring Western is one of the reasons why. With equal portions of rousing action, humor, and drama, this film keeps your interest and, like the Duke's performance, never loses its authenticity. It's said that John Wayne took over direction of some of the action sequences, and they're great. There are well-drawn, clear differences between the good buys and bad guys, but the characters are human and developed enough for the actors to sink their teeth into, which all do with gusto. By this time in his career, the Duke only had to show up on screen to be the authentic Western hero, but as usual he goes 'way beyond that, giving a colorful, humorous, absolutely real and terrific performance as the Texas Ranger who helps a man on the wrong side of the law redeem himself and find the woman he loves--as well as stopping a motley, dangerous bunch of white renegades (Comancheros) who are selling weapons to warring Comanche Indians. It's great movie-making and a great couple of hours with the Duke, so check it out!
John Wayne's tough-guy character gets some choice zingers in this amiable, two-fisted, entertaining (and occasionally ricketty) western about a Texas Ranger who's out to bust up a gun-running gang that's selling arms to the Comanche renegades. It's one of those films where the Indians drop like flies every time the cowboys open fire, but it zips along at a pleasant pace, with a tad more plot than normal. Lee Marvin has a short but choice role as Mr. Crow, a sinister gunslinger who goes on a roaring bender with Wayne, paving the way for their interplay in the '62 sizzler, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence." This was the last film directed by Michael Curtiz, who is probably best known for his work on "Casablanca," and while this film is nowhere near the same league at that classic, it still has its moments.
Finally, "The Comancheros" is released on DVD. This is one of Wayne's best, and most enjoyable westerns(that says a lot, because the Duke's westerns were always classic). The acting is superb, Stuart Whitman turning out one of his best performances, and John Wayne underrated as usual. Lee Marvin also makes a powerful, short performance. That cast alone makes for a classic. Michael Curtiz's("Casablanca"-1942) last film, he creates one of the better 1960's westerns. Several people have mentioned the guns in the film. Historical facts are often changed to create entertaining films. This film is not a history lesson, it is an example of classic hollywood at it's best. A well crafted, fun, classic western. Recommended for both fans of classic westerns, and classic films in general.