HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Pariah
Weapon, The
Godzilla vs. Kong
Love and Monsters
Tove
Young Wives' Tale
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Vera Cruz Mexican Slayride
Year: 1954
Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Denise Darcel, Cesar Romero, Sara Monteil, George Macready, Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine, James McCallion, Morris Ankrum, James Seay, Henry Brandon, Archie Savage, Charles Bronson, Charles Horvath, Jack Lambert, Juan Garcia
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: The American Civil War has just ended, but another has begun down South in Mexico where the people are rising up against the Emperor Maximilian (George Macready), though it's going to be a real struggle to bring about any change. Into this atmosphere of revolution come men from the United States, looking to sell their services as mercenaries for either side, one of those being Benjamin Trane (Gary Cooper), a refugee of sorts from the war where he lost almost everything. Now it looks as if he will lose his horse, which is lame, and he spots some other horses up ahead...

That's not all that's up ahead, as Cooper's co-star and producer Burt Lancaster is there as well, in the role of Joe Erin, a mercenary just like him, but somewhat less scrupulous because Coop refused to play anything but the pure hero, so just as Western clich├ęs dictated, he wore the white hat while Lancaster wore the black hat. This was one of the films which established director Robert Aldrich as one of the premier creators of manly films for manly men, something he tried to adapt to other forms later on, but his muscular style was well displayed in works such as Vera Cruz, one of those movies which may have had audiences thinking, ho hum, another Gary Cooper Western, but emerged saying, hey, that was pretty good.

Thus when word got around that the combination of Cooper and Lancaster, not to mention the solid backing of some of the finest tough guy character actors in Hollywood and an expensive sheen (all those extras!), was actually something well worth seeing, Vera Cruz became one of the biggest hits in the careers to date of many of those involved, paving the way for more of the same, though not always quite as accomplished. Certainly the Europeans were watching intently, as the film was credited with pushing a lot of those filmmakers into trying to emulate that innovative, wary camaraderie between the lead characters and those visuals with the sun beating down on dusty landscapes, men unshaven, and guns always on the verge of being drawn.

Not to mention that both hero and villain will be expert sharpshooters when the weapons do come into play; this means Vera Cruz has lost some of its gloss and sparkle down the years, but only because its pioneering style for the genre became so overworked. Ben has his own reasons for visiting Mexico which are not quite as apparent as that title crawl might indicate, but we can tell why Joe is there right away when he sells him a horse belonging to an officer in the Mexican army - Trane wasn't to know, but it does have him chased by the officer and his troops before he gets his own back on the treacherous soul. Yet in a constant game of oneupmanship, Joe's gang are waiting for him and turn the tables.

Those men including such famous faces as Ernest Borgnine (who gets biffed straight out of the bar and into the street with one punch), Charles Bronson (in a kind of rapist role which later he would specialise in blowing away with a large handgun) and Jack Elam (who got into a fight with Lancaster on the set when Burt made fun of his looks). It was one of the better casts assembled for a fifties Western, and also showing up were Cesar Romero as the Marquis who makes the offer to Joe and Ben about assisting a Countess (French actress Denise Darcel) to the town of the title, and popular Spanish singer Sara Monteil as the feisty pickpocket who becomes Trane's love interest. Of course, there's more to the mission than meets the eye, as the theme of selfish greed versus moral conscience runs through this, embodied by the guarded but oddly humorous inteprlay between the two leads, Lancaster grinning for all he's worth. It may have lost some of its lustre through imitation, and the tension dips in the middle, but there's plenty to enjoy here for sheer star power alone. Music by Hugo Freidhofer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3253 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: