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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: Sucker on August 26, 2006, 12:06:07 PM



Title: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Sucker on August 26, 2006, 12:06:07 PM
Hadn't watched this in a while so I stuck it in the DVD player the other evening.
How I have always loved the 20th Century Fox intro music with the "Cinemascope Extension"  :)

The film was as enjoyable as ever and the music is even better than the Mag Seven.

On thing I hadn't noticed before. When the Duke (as Ed McBain) was signing in on the Sweetwater Hotel register one of the names already written in was "William Clothier". The DOP on the movie was the great cinematographer  William H. Clothier - always was a joy to see his name on the opening credits of any movie.

Afterwards I briefly checked the credits again and the Assistant Director's name was also on the hotel register. I wonder if any of the other names on it were a reference to anyone else.

When you consider today's movie credits which can run 10/15 minutes the crews on the older movies must think they got a raw deal.

Lots of memorable lines but my favourite is the Duke calling the Monsoor a "Lu-Lu"  ;D


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: cigar joe on August 26, 2006, 02:10:50 PM
And Lee Marvin's caharacter steals every scene he's in. 8)


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Tim on August 27, 2006, 01:13:05 PM
Quote
The film was as enjoyable as ever and the music is even better than the Mag Seven.

  I'll disagree with you there, but both scores do have similarities.  Personally though, I like Bernstein's score for Mag7 better.  It was roles like this for Wayne that made me wish he had done more comedic roles along the lines of Jake Cutter or GW McClintock.  Very good Duke western, and like cigar joe said, Lee Marvin steals his scenes as Tully Crow, another great western name.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on August 27, 2006, 05:05:04 PM
Hadn't watched this in a while so I stuck it in the DVD player the other evening.
I'm astounded that anyone would actually own this on DVD. After all, it's on AMC almost every other week.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Sucker on August 27, 2006, 06:46:47 PM
I'm astounded that anyone would actually own this on DVD. After all, it's on AMC almost every other week.

Well, Dave, you will be even more astounded to hear that AMC is not available where I come from and the DVD was a present from a lady friend. Funny old world, isn't it?  ;)


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Tim on October 01, 2006, 10:09:17 PM
  This one was on the History Channel this morning, Sunday, which isn't news in itself, but it was shown in.....WIDESCREEN!  Needless to say, I was surprised when I turned it on because even THC uses pan-n-scan on most movies.

  So keep your eyes open for movies on The History Channel.  Sunday mornings they usually show some good historical movies, war and westerns, and if they start presenting them in widescreen all the time, it's for all the better!  ;D


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: The Peacemaker on October 01, 2006, 10:31:47 PM
  This one was on the History Channel this morning, Sunday, which isn't news in itself, but it was shown in.....WIDESCREEN!  Needless to say, I was surprised when I turned it on because even THC uses pan-n-scan on most movies.

  So keep your eyes open for movies on The History Channel.  Sunday mornings they usually show some good historical movies, war and westerns, and if they start presenting them in widescreen all the time, it's for all the better!  ;D

Are you serious?!?

Damn, and I missed it. Oh well.   :'(


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Tim on October 02, 2006, 09:19:16 AM
Quote
Are you serious?!?

  That was my reaction, I thought I was suddenly getting TCM here instead of the History Channel.  And this is a movie that needs to be seen in widescreen to appreciate it.  The pan-n-scan AMC uses is brutal.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Silenzio on October 02, 2006, 08:25:22 PM
I'm astounded that anyone would actually own this on DVD. After all, it's on AMC almost every other week.

Isn't that like me saying I'm astounded anybody owns FAFDM on DVD, for the same reason?


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Tim on October 03, 2006, 07:27:32 AM
Quote
Isn't that like me saying I'm astounded anybody owns FAFDM on DVD, for the same reason?

  That's true.  AMC has showed FAFDM a ton of times since it premiered last winter/spring.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: The Peacemaker on October 03, 2006, 03:10:42 PM
That's another thing I hate about AMC, besides the obvious reasons, is that they show the same movie over and over and over and over and over again until it gets annoying. Then they stop showing the movie and they don't air it for another 2 years!  >:(

God how I LOATHE amc!!!!  >:(


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Silenzio on October 03, 2006, 03:19:35 PM
That's another thing I hate about AMC, besides the obvious reasons, is that they show the same movie over and over and over and over and over again until it gets annoying. Then they stop showing the movie and they don't air it for another 2 years!  >:(

God how I LOATHE amc!!!!  >:(

TCM kicks so much more ass.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: The Peacemaker on October 03, 2006, 03:33:16 PM
TCM kicks so much more ass.

It does. Uncut movies, no commercials, good classics ( not crap that came out last year and if it did it's good ), and best of all...widescreen.  8)


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Silenzio on October 03, 2006, 03:54:23 PM
It does. Uncut movies, no commercials, good classics ( not crap that came out last year and if it did it's good ), and best of all...widescreen.  8)

I know, they rule so much. If anybody can preserve the original aspect ratio, it's TCM! TCM! TCM!


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: cigar joe on October 03, 2006, 09:59:02 PM
also Osborn's intros and epilogues have nice tid bits of info.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: titoli on November 01, 2008, 05:00:10 PM
I think what is not working completely with this movie and prevents it from making Wayne's Top Ten is Whitman. It is not that he's no good, it's just he is too diminutive near the Duke, he looks intimidated by him, though the role could allow him to take all sorts of advantage over him. Who, being that great intelligent actor he was, wouldn't have minded at all: he knows he doesn't need it and usually relish an overpowering antagonist. In fact Marvin takes full advantage of it and gives us of of his most memorable performances: the card playing scene makes my personal top ten of the greatest scenes of western. After that it was impossible denying him the role of Liberty Valance. I think Whitman's role should have been played to great advantage by MacQueen or as an afterthought by Eastwood. Then the movie would have been great.

The dig scenes and the character of Gordo made me come to mind respectively GBU and Brega.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: cigar joe on November 01, 2008, 06:46:14 PM
Whitman also wasn't forceful enough in a very similar film Rio Concho opposite Richard Boone, same problem as you describe.  He plays Captian Haven a cavalry officer assigned to discover the source of stolen "yellow boy" Winchesters. A better choice would have been a William Holden "Escape From Ft. Bravo", or Joseph Cotton "Two Flags West"  or even Robert Ryan who already played similar roles.  Whitman just didn't have the gravitas to play opposite Boone.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: titoli on November 01, 2008, 08:20:43 PM
Whitman also wasn't forceful enough in a very similar film Rio Concho opposite Richard Boone, same problem as you describe.  He plays Captian Haven a cavalry officer assigned to discover the source of stolen "yellow boy" Winchesters. A better choice would have been a William Holden "Escape From Ft. Bravo", or Joseph Cotton "Two Flags West"  or even Robert Ryan who already played similar roles.  Whitman just didn't have the gravitas to play opposite Boone.

But in 1964 all those actors you mention were too old. That's why I named macQueen and Eastwood. Or, even better, come to think of it, James Garner.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: mike siegel on November 02, 2008, 05:11:04 AM
I love that film, watch it every year. Good R2 Widescreen DVD.
Leone obviousely liked it a lot too, he used 'Sweetwater' and 'McBain' in OUATITW.

(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/13731420/341353010.jpg)


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: titoli on November 02, 2008, 10:07:18 AM
Anybody knows how the "Ed McBain" came to be adopted?


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on November 02, 2008, 12:27:04 PM
You mean, was there an Ed McBain novel in the library of one of the screenwriters, something like that?


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: titoli on November 02, 2008, 03:15:24 PM
I mean whatever had to do with Lombino.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: T.H. on March 29, 2009, 11:08:04 AM
I finally watched this in its entirety and it was a pleasant surprise

some pros and cons, I'll start with the cons

Stuart Whitman
weak final battle
uneven interiors, some had polish, others not so much

plusses:
beautiful exterior shots and landscapes
good score (great for old hollywood standards)
Lee Marvin

I wish Marvin's character would have had a bigger role or played Whitman's character or something.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on March 29, 2009, 04:31:13 PM
I finally watched this in its entirety and it was a pleasant surprise

some pros and cons, I'll start with the cons

Stuart Whitman
weak final battle
uneven interiors, some had polish, others not so much

plusses:
beautiful exterior shots and landscapes
good score (great for old hollywood standards)
Lee Marvin

I wish Marvin's character would have had a bigger role or played Whitman's character or something.
That pretty much sums it up, don'tcha think?

One other thought: maybe this film provided the template for The Wild Wild West?


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: T.H. on March 29, 2009, 05:13:38 PM
That pretty much sums it up, don'tcha think?

One other thought: maybe this film provided the template for The Wild Wild West?

I would assume.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Dust Devil on October 08, 2009, 07:54:30 PM
Beans, eggs 'n' biscuit, cut by a sip of whiskey every now and then - this is a fairly ordinary Western. They tried a lot of different things but not much came out of it. The only bright point is, as mentioned here already, Lee Marvin's little show. It seemed to me he even caught the great John Wayne off-guard for a second or two, like he didn't expect him to go so directly and disrespectfully (don't know how else to call it) on him, the leading man.

Good only for killing time I'm afraid, at least the first time.


5.7/10


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Dust Devil on October 08, 2009, 07:56:06 PM
Or, even better, come to think of it, James Garner.

This crossed my mind several times while watching TC, they looked very similar in those days.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Groggy on January 10, 2010, 04:25:44 PM
Finally got to see this today. Movie, where have you been all my life?

Quote
I don't know how I missed The Comancheros (1961) during my Duke-loving youth, as I'm sure I would have loved it. It's almost a picture-perfect template for the classic Hollywood Western, with John Wayne, cowboys, Indians, gunfights, Monument Valley, card-playing, drinking, and lots of machismo. The Comancheros is no masterpiece, but it's a fun bit of Western entertainment, with a few niggling flaws that can be mostly overlooked.

Ne'er-do-well gambler Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman) kills the son of a New Orleans judge in a duel, and flees to Texas to escape justice. Upon arriving in Galveston, he's arrested by Texas Ranger Jake Cutter (John Wayne), who has the devil's own job keeping Regret in line. After Regret escapes custody, Jake finds himself with bigger fish to fry - a band of gun runners, the titular Comancheros, who are smuggling weapons to hostile Comanche Indians. While trying to infiltrate the gang, Jake meets up with Paul, and the two enemies must team up to fight crippled crime boss Graile (Nehemiah Persoff) and his gang of thugs.

There really isn't much to criticize in The Comancheros, unless you want to be nitpicky and point out that Winchester rifles didn't exist in 1843. It's a fun, compelling and well-made old-school Western which makes no pretensions to being anything more. With exciting shootouts and fights, a fun, quotable script, a cool duo of leads, a sexy, somewhat-duplicitous female lead (Ina Balin) and gorgeous Western scenery, the film admirably succeeds in what it sets out to do. If there's any criticism to be made, it's that the main plot takes awhile to get going, and the villains - aside from Tully Crow (Lee Marvin), the half-scalped, hard-drinking gun-runner who makes an unfortunately early exit - are underdeveloped. That being said, this isn't The Searchers, and such lapses can be overlooked when the end product is so damned fun.

The great Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Mildred Pierce) is at the helm in his farewell picture, and the movie is certainly technically accomplished. With veteran Ford photography William Clothier, Curtiz makes exquisite use of Monumental Valley location, out-Fording John Ford in many sequences, especially the extreme, Lean-esque long shots in the scene where one of Jake's deputies (Patrick Wayne) watches the Marshall and Regret be intercepted by Comanches. The action scenes are excitingly staged, although the final battle is a bit of an anti-climax; it's given a great deal of build-up but seems over in the blink of an eye. The movie also boasts a snappy script by (who else?) James Edward Grant and Clair Huffaker, and a rousing, iconic score by Elmer Bernstein.

Wayne is in top form, playing his usual two-fisted protagonist with a snarky, self-deprecating sense of humor (his calling the New Orleans-based Whitman "Mon-sewer" is hysterical). Stuart Whitman acquits himself well although he's inevitably overshadowed by the Duke. Ina Balin is a gorgeous femme fatale but has little to do. Lee Marvin shines in his colorful bit; he would parlay this role into a co-starring role with Wayne in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and from there catapult to stardom. Old Western hands Edgar Buchanan (Ride the High Country), Bruce Cabot and Jack Elam (Once Upon a Time in the West) can be spotted in small parts.


http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2010/01/john-wayne-double-feature-angel-and_10.html (http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2010/01/john-wayne-double-feature-angel-and_10.html)


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Dust Devil on March 04, 2010, 05:36:37 AM
Well, lemme tell you guys, I was *slightly* full of it the first time around. I raise my rating to 7/10. Solidly entertaining.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Groggy on March 04, 2010, 07:41:30 AM
Your opinion is your opinion.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on March 04, 2010, 11:17:32 AM
Quote
If there's any criticism to be made, it's that the main plot takes awhile to get going . . .
Yeah, like that PoS GBU.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Dust Devil on March 04, 2010, 11:18:13 AM
And the great thing about is that I'm free to change it anytime I want. I was a bit harsh the first time around, knowing it was one of Leone's favorite AW I guess I was expecting a masterpiece no less. Now I'm objective enough to say it's a decent Western. Nothing special in terms of artistic achievement but unpretentiously entertaining enough in the borders of its genre.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: mike siegel on March 05, 2010, 04:10:09 AM
By coincidence I watched it again yesterday...

I love that film. One of my favorites. It must have been quite hip
when it first came out, it's still so fresh. Monument Valley was photographed
so different in comparison to all the Ford films shot there. Looks fantastic.
Duke is at his best as in the other films he did around that time, HATARI!, LIBERTY VALANCE,
NORTH TO ALASKA.
Great great soundtrack. Close to M 7 Bernstein did previousely, but still unique.
Lee Marivin is a knockout, some fun, some violence, most of the dialogue works very well.
It has some flaws like the awfully bad re-shot scene with Duke & Ina Balin, some sloppy action shots
and the last reel which seems a bit rushed.
All in all a bit uneven but surely MOST ENTERTAINING.
And inspired. One of Michael Curtiz' best. Although I presume Wayne had a strong
influence as Curtiz was already very ill:

(Curtiz is standing in the middle)

(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/wayne/western1961comancherosebay.jpg)(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/wayne/western1961comancheros3ebay.jpg)
 


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: Groggy on March 05, 2010, 10:03:38 AM
If Michael Munn is to be believed, a good deal of the movie was directed by Wayne.

I remember hearing the music for this in a semi-recent Simpsons episode.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on March 16, 2011, 08:02:12 AM
Blu-ray!
Quote
The Comancheros: 50th Anniversary Edition (and The Hustler: The 50th Anniversary Edition) on 5/17 The Comancheros will include audio commentary (by Stuart Whitman, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Ansara and Patrick Wayne), 2 featurettes (The Comancheros and the Battle for the American Southwest and The Duke at Fox: A Two-Part Documentary), a vintage Comancheros comic book gallery, A Conversation with Stuart Whitman (Audio Only), Fox Movietonews: Claude King and Tillman Franks Receive Award for The Comancheros, theatrical trailers and 24-page book packaging.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 17, 2011, 11:26:30 AM
Blu-ray!
Blu-ray in da house! Huuaahh, mon sewer!


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: T.H. on May 17, 2011, 01:45:56 PM
Let me know how it is Jenkins.

I'm waiting for a price drop. I wish they didn't release it digi book form, which means it will always be reasonably expensive. I really dig the movie but I don't want to spend more than 15 on it.



Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 18, 2011, 06:11:24 AM
Took it for a spin last night: the image is fabulous, without spots or speckles (or reel-change marks), absent any obvious DNR, showing a reasonable amount of grain, with bright colors and pleasing fleshtones. It is not as sharp as a film made in 2011, but that's to be expected. I don't know if restoration was done or if Fox had pristine elements in their vaults waiting to be used, but the end result is a picture better than anyone could have expected for a 50 year-old film that isn't part of the Bond franchise.

Some of the extras are quite nice. There is a quick but reasonably thorough overview of the 40-year war with the Comanches that also explains who the historical Comancheros were. There's a 3-part puff piece called The Duke at Fox which, I gather, was shown on the Fox Channel and is entertaining but without a lot of substance (it does show clips of other Wayne films in HD, though). There is an audio commentary but I haven't listened to it yet. The feature I got the biggest kick out of was the digital version of The Comancheros comic book that Fox commisioned Dell to bring out in 1961. It features representations of the actors that appeared in the film, and operates almost as a set of storyboards (but in color). Interestingly, the comic was put together early enough in the production process that it retains things that were changed in the final cut of the film. There is a deleted scene and an ending that is substantially different from the one we now have. Way cool.

The bottom line is: if you have any affection for this film at all, you need this release. I'm sure it will be discounted before too long, and if not, attractively priced copies will begin appearing in the used markets.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: T.H. on May 18, 2011, 10:34:43 AM
Thanks a lot for that info. It just shot up my 'will buy soon' list.


Title: Re: The Comancheros (1961)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 19, 2011, 08:21:23 AM
The BD receives effusive praise here: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Comancheros-Blu-ray/21657/#Review