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Author Topic: Vera Cruz (1954)  (Read 16002 times)
boardwalk_angel
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« on: August 09, 2005, 10:31:23 AM »

Vera Cruz (1954)               

                                                                         


Directed by Robert Aldrich

Gary Cooper
Burt Lancaster 
Denise Darcel
Cesar Romero
Sara Montiel
George Macready    
Ernest Borgnine
Henry Brandon 
Charles Bronson (as Charles Buchinsky)
Jack Elam

"Money. Is that worth risking your life for?" a Juarista general asks Ben Trane...played by Gary Cooper ...
"Comes closer than anything I know."

Robert Aldrich's second feature film ...Set during the Mexican revolution of 1866, filmed on location ...featuring a number of now familiar faces: Ernest Borgnine ; a young Charles Bronson (who hadn't even changed his name to Bronson yet); Jack Elam.... packed with plot twists, intrigue, double crosses, triple crosses.....backstabbing..shaky & shifting alliances........is a lot of fun....shot in SuperScope featuring the great Ernest Lazlo's cinematography. In many ways...a transitional film (from a 40's style -->the 50's style)..& a transitional western, one that signals a change from old-style epic Hollywood Westerns...it actually combines the large Hollywood spectacle with the grittier, more cynical Westerns of the 50's & 60s... and anticipates & influences the Spaghetti western ...& the "Mexican Revolution" theme or subplot.

Cooper plays a loner named Benjamin Trane. He rides into Mexico hoping to sign up with either Emperor Maximilian or the revolutionary Juarez--whoever will pay him the most. ...He stumbles across Joe Erin (Lancaster)..their first encounter is a hoot & gets this movie off on a rousing note.. ...& hooks up with a group of mercenaries headed by Erin....  However, their negotiations with Marquis Henri de Labordere (played to the hilt by Cesar Romero) is interrupted by the arrival of the Juaristas. From then on...The story becomes a matter of who's conning who. .... a fortune in gold ...& what seems like EVERYBODY's playing EVERYBODY....& a terrific conclusion.


--"Man's got to have more. Needs something to believe in."
"I've got that too,"
says Trane as he holds up his rifle and gives it a shake.

Cooper & Lancaster are terrific as Ben Trane and Joe Erin...playing with & off each other smoothly & delightfully....the character that Burt Lancaster plays in "Vera Cruz" really paves the way for his portrayal of Dolworth in "The Professionals"..(could be a younger version of the same character, in many ways...although ultimately much darker)...............Neither Aldrich, nor Lancaster, take the easy road w/ Joe Erin's character...& kudos to both of them for it.

A fabulous supporting cast.........some great dialogue......(Joe Erin's "Ace Hanna" story being a particular favorite of mine), ahead of its time as well as a product of it....... major inspiration of the Italian Westerns, which came a decade later...."Vera Cruz" is not only a top notch, crackling good Western.....but an important one......& deserving of " must see" status.

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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2005, 04:48:12 PM »

This is yet another movie that I haven't seen yet, but I really, REALLY want to. 

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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2005, 03:43:33 PM »

 Grin this is top priority B/W ANGEL, i'll check it out soon as my bum foot heals up. thanks. catch ya later on down the trail. what a cast !  Cool

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2005, 10:25:16 PM »

An essential text for all true Leoneastes. Unhappily, the current R1 DVD transfer leaves a LOT to be desired.

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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2005, 07:13:44 AM »

Couple of other things.............the influences on Peckinpah......"The Wild Bunch", in particular....is very interesting.
Rewatching this the other night.......I was struck by the music when Maximilian makes his grand entrance at the palace......it sounds like pure Korngold......... the magnificent Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who scored "The Sea Hawk", "Captain Blood", & "Robin Hood"..among others.
As it turns out, Hugo Friedhoefer, who scored "Vera Cruz", worked as an orchestrater & arranger on "Captain Blood" & "Robin Hood".....& the influence/homage/borrowing (?) is unmistakable...& very entertaining.


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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2005, 07:08:46 AM »

The original trailer for Vera Cruz is a dandy...& a good example of the old style Hollywood  previews...
Couple of Bronson sightings here...including a scene in which Sarita Monteil is being chased...the lead guy chasing her....& catching her... is the young Mr. Buchinsky himself.

http://tcmdb.com/title/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=17830

« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 07:42:13 AM by boardwalk_angel » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2006, 07:31:43 AM »

I noticed a pretty good deal on "Vera Cruz" at Deep Discount...done business with them..very good.

http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/dvd.cfm?itemID=MGD001597

Region 2 also--->

http://www.play.com/play247.asp?pa=pfa&page=title&r=R2&title=92190

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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2006, 04:35:27 PM »

I saw it once and didn't like it a bit. I came to it with great expectations as Aldrich was going strong in the '50's, but didn't find it so good. Aldrich made so many good movies (my favourites: Attack, Kiss Me Deadly, The Choirboys, Emperor of the North Pole) ) but I don't rank this among them. Apache is his best western.

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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2006, 10:02:57 AM »

I saw it once and didn't like it a bit. . Apache is his best western.

OK..different strokes for different folks (and so on...& so on..& shoo bee doobee doo). Cool
What didn't you like?....Apache is good...but I wouldn't place it above this one..Burt Lancaster as an Apache warrior, for one thing..is somewhat of a sttt-ttt-rrrr-rrr-e-tt-tch....but that's me.
I'd love to discuss this.

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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2006, 11:33:20 PM »

I saw it twenty years ago, dubbed. If I manage to find a dvd I surely will come back at you.

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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2006, 10:21:50 PM »

I didn't realize this until just now...

In the early 1960s Robert Aldrich went to Italy to make "Sodom and Gomorrah". .. Leone had finally directed his first feature, "The Colossus of Rhodes". ..the year before.

According to Frayling's biography of Leone, in 1961 "Sergio took a surprising career step backwards, by agreeing once again to become a second-unit director"....on...--> "Sodom and Gomorrah"  Shocked <---... the great attraction being  that he would be working with Robert Aldrich. ..the guy who had made "Vera Cruz".
Interesting.
I see a lot of influences on Leone's visual style in Aldrich's work..which Leone of course built upon and took to greater..even masterly, levels..I would say.

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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2007, 06:57:13 PM »

Saw this again today, its ok, nothing all that great except for its influences. Burt has a great smile. The supporting players were ok, not as good as some of Aldrich's other films "kiss Me Deadly" and "Emperor of the North", agreed.

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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2007, 07:09:19 PM »

Must agree with CJ 100% here.

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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2007, 07:46:35 PM »

CJ is always right (except when he's talking about Gladiator Evil).

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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2007, 10:28:16 PM »

CJ is always right (except when he's talking about Gladiator Evil).

Or the new 3:10 to Yuma movie, which kicked so much ass.


Oh well. To each his own. He's still got good taste.

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