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Author Topic: Villa Rides (1968)  (Read 9832 times)
cigar joe
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« on: November 05, 2005, 07:23:52 PM »

Ok finally managed to find a copy of this on VHS, unfortunately in full screen but not a bad transfer.   

Villa Rides (1968) Dir. Buzz Kulik, Yul Brynner, Robert Mitchum Charles Bronson, Herbert Lom, Frank Wolff, Jill Ireland, and the kid (canít remember his name)who flips the coin from For A Few Dollars More as now a teen age Villista.

This was supposedly shot in Spain, and knowing this I still didnít recognize a single location on first viewing from any of the SWís. But let me tell you this one impressed me. It was big budget, a lot of great set pieces (a cavalry charge & an attack on a train), lots of action, and a very good and close to historical screen play which seeing as how it was written by Robert Towne (Chinatown) and Sam Peckinpaw how could it not be. Even the costumes of Villa hit the nail on the head, they looked straight out of a collection of photographs.

Forget about any comments of Brynner being miss cast he does a great job in the role of Villa, actually I thought his best western role was always as Chris in Mag 7, but this blows that performance away, in Mag 7 heís still (King & I)  Yul Brynner, in Villa Rides heís absolutely believable as Villa. Robert Mitchum plays a gun running aviator named Arnold, and we first see him delivering machine guns to a detachment of federal soldiers "Colorados" (for their red company flags), their commander is Frank Wolff.

Now here is where my in-depth immersement into the convoluted MexRev pays off. This particular film takes place right after the fall of Diaz. Madero, Villa, Orozco, and Zapata all fought against Diaz and Huerta was one of Diazís Generals.

But at the time of the film Madero is President, General Huerta a former Diaz general who is now aligned with Madero is in command of the federal forces, Villa is also with Madero. The "Colorados" from the beginning of the film are Orozcocistas, followers of General Orozco who rebelled from Madero (along with Zapata) when they thought he was not moving along fast enough with land reforms.

Mitchum gets involved with Villa when the town heís staying in gets attacked by the "Colorados" because they are sympathetic to Villa. Villa who in a position to stop them allows them to attack the town. Villaís reasoning is that once the villagers get a taste of the "Colorados" heíll get plenty of recruits. This is spot on for the historical MOís of all the groups portrayed in the film. Every major theme portrayed (except for the airplane) actually happened.


Mitchumís love interest (Jill Ireland) gets raped by Wolff, and Mitchum is pissed off when he finds out that Villa could have prevented it, however Villa points out that it was Mitchun who provided the "Colorados" with the machine guns in the first place. Some of the same Manco-Mortimer jocky-ing for position between Villa & Arnold take place and eventually they make an uneasy alliance with Fierro ready to shoot if it goes arwy.

The whole air plane plot (not historic) is believable (and entierly plausible) since Mitchum the gun running aviator has stolen the two-seater plane, which looks pretty close to a Curtiss Jenny which would have been the only plane available at the time. They eventually use it with homemade bombs (sacks filled with scrap iron and dynamite) fuses lit from burning cigars that Mitchum and Bronson drop on various targets.

The sound track is nothing special, which is too bad, a Morricone soundtrack with different themes for Villa, Arnold, Fierro, etc., etc., would have definitely enhanced this film

This film has got to have a DVD widescreen release, it will kind of remind you of both Mag 7 & The Wild Bunch without the great music.

 

« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 04:55:12 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2005, 10:03:07 AM »

I will have to check this movie out CJ.I remember from a photo-still that while Telly Savales has his head shaved for the dreadful Pancho Villa,Yul Brynner instead wears a wig in Villa Rides,but† i'll take your word for it† this is Brynners best serious western performance.
On a thread elsewhere during a discussion on Brynners role as Sabata(or Indio Black),Derringdo also references the King & I and (gulp!) i (gasp!) may have to watch this if shown on tv this Xmas just to see where you both are coming from.Maybe musicals are a tad cooler than i had imagined-after all i did manage to endure some musical numbers in the excellent SW Viva Maria,but there were two extremely tasty ladies involved here!!!
Have you seen Invitation to a Gunfighter,CJ,as i was recently outbid for a video on Ebay.Howard Hughes in his latest SW book cites Brynners performance as Sabata owes alot to the "fancy,black clad gunman called Jules Gaspard" in this movie,so i wonder how derivative of the King & I role this is also.I guess Yul might just be playing himself in these movies!!
We mustn't forget of course another (western?) role of Yuls as the robotic gunslinger in Westworld.Perhaps some trace of his sordid King & I past affected the circuitry and caused the android to malfunction!!!

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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2005, 02:52:55 PM »

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On a thread elsewhere during a discussion on Brynners role as Sabata(or Indio Black),Derringdo also references the King & I and (gulp!) i (gasp!) may have to watch this if shown on tv this Xmas just to see where you both are coming from.Maybe musicals are a tad cooler than i had imagined-after all i did manage to endure some musical numbers in the excellent SW Viva Maria,but there were two extremely tasty ladies involved here!!!

In The King & I he does this walk and his body has this sort of  "regal carriage" to it, to put it mildly. You have to see it to see what I mean.  He sort of moves his lower body while the top stays straight with no shoulder roll as he walks.  He does this same walk in "Mag7" and  "Westworld" too, like he's still doing the King & I shtick. He doesn't do it in Villa Rides.

Also I forgot to mention that Villa Rides also has SW actors Fernando Rey (as a soldier), and the actor that always play an inn keeper or bar tender, sort of a stout actor, Hes in Companeros right at the beginning when El Penguino gets his room and in The Mercenary where hes the inn keeper that fixes up the thirty egg breakfast, and also in Face To Face during Beauregard's escape at the stage stop. In Villa Rides hes one of the towns people that are stood on chairs and stools with ropes around their necks, while Frank Wolff walks around kicking away the supports.

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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2005, 02:07:29 AM »

I get you CJ now about Yuls walk but i think this is a very cool walk espescially in a western.Don't think too many people complained about John Waynes distinctive walk-far from it!!

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cigar joe
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2005, 09:49:31 PM »

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I get you CJ now about Yuls walk but i think this is a very cool walk espescially in a western.Don't think too many people complained about John Waynes distinctive walk-far from it!!


It all comes down to POV and PIT (point in time). From my PIT I first saw and a lot of other first wave SW viewers first saw Yul in "The King & I" (1956) basically his defenitive part he also played a lot of other Middle Eastern-Far Eastern parts, Aw's and SW's came later. So everything is shaded from that initial POV.

It like if you first saw Clint in a SW then all his subsequent western characters are held up to the NWNN which at least is in the same genre. But with Yul it was the exotic oriental epic film type genre where he first made his mark so for us in the earlier PIT we see him from that POV.

Continuing with Villa Rides, watched it again tonight and noticed that a lot of the scenes were shot from a downward looking camera angle so you don't get a lot of the horrizon in a lot of the action shots in the film looks like from a crane and or helicopter. It doesn't project that Leone style of wide open spaces where the topography was another charater. I still haven'yt recognized any Almeria locations, though the trains used are looking like the same rolling stock as in most SW's. Any way this Buzz Kulik did a good journeyman's job but it definitely lacks the style and magic of a Leone or Corbucci. You don't have that distinctly picaresque humor, surrealistic frames, beautiful editing, and Morricone scores.

A part of this may be the the full screen and possibly paned & scaned VHS copy I have. But looking at his (Kulik's) CV he mostly did TV after this film.

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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2005, 05:40:38 PM »

Watched this for a third time now and Bronson has some really great scenes, a must film for Charley Bronson fans, there are also some execution action sequences, that have the guys that are shot really go flying violently backwards, cool fx.

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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2005, 10:43:58 AM »

Dosn't Bronson have some running gag about the bad food produced by the Rebels resident cook?

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cigar joe
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2005, 04:15:59 PM »

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Dosn't Bronson have some running gag about the bad food produced by the Rebels resident cook?


Yea that's it, basically the cook sets the food down in front of him and Bronson takes a look or a taste and asks him if he cooked it and he says "yes" and then Bronson sayas "no you didn't".

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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2006, 12:21:44 PM »

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Ok finally managed to find a copy of this on VHS, unfortunately in full screen but not a bad transfer.

  joe, where'd you find a copy of this one?  Sounds like I'm gonna have to check it out after reading your review.   Grin

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cigar joe
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2006, 09:32:53 PM »

Villa Rides I found on Amazon.com

But you can also check Ebay.

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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2008, 12:06:07 PM »

Rumor has it that this is coming to DVD soon (Paramount is licensing it and several other pictures to a third party).

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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2008, 03:53:44 PM »

That would be great news!!!  Cool

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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2008, 05:48:24 PM »

June 8th the DVD is being released,  Afro Afro Afro

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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2008, 11:41:28 AM »



  Nice looking DVD cover, might have to pick this one up. Smiley

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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2008, 04:54:44 AM »

You can order this on Amazon now.  Afro

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