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: The Professionals (1966)  ( 49032 )
dave jenkins
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« #45 : May 11, 2011, 01:43:21 PM »

Yes the ending sucks. It might have worked had it been set up at all (like The Dogs of War), but it plays as a really lame, "crowd-pleasing" cop out in this film.
Seems so to me too.



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« #46 : May 11, 2011, 01:47:01 PM »

Maybe Brooks was reacting to the reception of Lord Jim, which definitely had a downer ending?



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« #47 : May 12, 2011, 01:05:15 AM »

Ooops, nobody else here who thinks the end is somehow great?

My only complaint with The Professionals: At least one of the four should have died. (Ryan or Lancaster the way the film goes)

For me the much better mercenary film compared to Mag 7


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« #48 : May 12, 2011, 02:43:19 AM »

The ending is neither weak nor strong. But I think it fits the rest of the film which is just a pure joy. It is a great fun western with some undertones. But it isn't HEART OF DARKNESS or THE WILD BUNCH. If you kill one of the guys, you'd be in a different league immediately. Such a touch and a slightly altered ending would have lifted the film into something more acclaimed but I'm not sure it would have had the same kind of success. I don't think my girlfriend would have liked it :) And this is one of the very few westerns she REALLY liked... Great soundtrack.








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« #49 : May 12, 2011, 06:16:28 AM »

I don't know Mike, the Magnificent Seven got away with killing four of its main characters without sacrificing its tone.



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« #50 : May 12, 2011, 07:46:37 AM »

I like it a lot also.  O0


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« #51 : May 12, 2011, 08:57:06 AM »

I don't know Mike, the Magnificent Seven got away with killing four of its main characters without sacrificing its tone.

Sure, but to me the Marvin-gang are PROFESSIONALS, like Rambo, Murtaugh & Blondie. They are not supposed to die :)
After all Brynner made a point with 'We lost. We always lose.'



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« #52 : July 19, 2012, 12:34:43 PM »

Interestly this "violent" zapata western got oscar nominated 3 times in the same year as GBU



Best Cinematography, Color
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Best Director

« : July 19, 2012, 12:36:52 PM emmo26 »

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« #53 : July 20, 2012, 12:59:50 AM »

Well, both Brooks and Conrad Hall were already regulars when it came to the Academy, so it was no real surprise. Richard had been nominated four times andwon for Best Screenplay (Elmar Gantry). Hall had been nominated in 1966. Both worked together again in 1967 (In Cold Blood), both would be nomintated again! (Hall won his first one two years later, BUTCH CASSIDY).
I like their work a lot, but Oscars always has been a lot of crap. With the exception of Lean, Wilder, Ford and certain others most films & creators we highly regard now, who's works stood the test of time , never were acknowledged really. Kubrick, Hitchcock, Hawks, Peckinpah, LEONE....



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« #54 : July 21, 2012, 09:40:59 PM »

IMO this ending was far worse than the ending to Red River, which is considered the gold standard for awful endings to a good Western. Red River's is probably more famous because it is considered among the very greatest Westerns of all-time; while The Professionals, is real good, but generally not rated that high. If you vomit on the Mona Lisa, history will remember that more infamously than if you vomit  on, say, Nighthawks -- even if the vomit on Nighthawks  was a bigger, fatter, and uglier bunch of vomit!) But IMO, the ending to The Professionals was worse. (At least with Red River I was expecting it; I mean, come on, did you really expect Tom and Matt to shoot it out? With The Professionals, I absolutely dd not see it coming. You can argue whether that should be better or worse).


Otherwise, this was a very good movie. The best performance I've seen by Lee Marvin.


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« #55 : July 22, 2012, 01:02:19 AM »

IMO this ending was far worse than the ending to Red River, which is considered the gold standard for awful endings to a good Western.

Who says so? In all my books about film, about westerns, about Hawks, there was never any complaint about the ending.

Quote
I mean, come on, did you really expect Tom and Matt to shoot it out?

Not as a duel between them, that would have been indeed unlikely, but that he got shot by Ireland (and not only wounded).
I did expect him to die, and the screenplay had it that way. Wayne wasn't the big star then, he just became the superstar in the late 40s.
The role and the film absolutely demand his death, not the bad guy death, but the sentimental good/bad guy death which allows him to find comprehension and salvation shortly before he dies.
I still think that the ending was a brave choice against a typical convention.

And the ending of The Professionals is as cynical as the whole film, and is in accordance with the idea of professionalism the film is about.

A real surprise ending is btw the one of King Vidor's Billy the Kid (1931)

In Reap the Wild Wind he also played the good/bad role, and died at the end.


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« #56 : July 22, 2012, 02:47:16 AM »


I did expect him to die, and the screenplay had it that way. Wayne wasn't the big star then, he just became the superstar in the late 40s.
The role and the film absolutely demand his death, not the bad guy death, but the sentimental good/bad guy death which allows him to find comprehension and salvation shortly before he dies.
I still think that the ending was a brave choice against a typical convention.


Everything I've read online trashes the end of Red River. You really think it was a brave choice against a typical convention? Having these two hardened guys who are about to kill each other break it up and become friends again just because the girl says "aww, can't you get along?" That's just a ridiculous ending. And certainly the cutesie ending I'd have expected in Hollywood; so I don't see how you can say that it was against convention. If anything, the conventional happy ending would have them making up just like they did; because neither one is really a "good guy" or a "bad guy." Tom has built the land from the ground up, spent years of his life building this herd, conceived of the plan to go on the cattle drive, and then ultimately he wants to administer frontier justice -- common at the time -- when someone is caught stealing. You can say he was correct, being strict, per custom at that time, to hang or flog food thieves, whatever they were gonna do. Or you can say he was being too tough, or yo can say that he was going crazy,( kind of like Bogie in The Caine Mutiny?) Om the other hand, Matt was off in school for much of the time, it's not his herd; he just takes it over when he feels that Tom has become unqualified to lead cuz he's nuts, very similar to The Caine Mutiny. Well, if you want something conventional and happy, it's: have them make up  -- after the GIRL says don't you know you love each other! and they all live happily ever after. That's what happened. And that's why the ending to Red River is the absolutely most atrocious ending to an all-time great Western.

Anytime in the future that I will watch the movie, I will shut it off a minute before the end. As soon as they  are about to fight, I'll end the movie on that


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« #57 : July 22, 2012, 03:35:15 AM »

People say that, because it is Wayne, the icon, but he wasn't an icon in 48, he wasn't a superstar, only a star of minor films (but not b-pictures), and "only" a co-star in bigger budgeted films (like in Reap the Wild Wind, They Were Expendable, Fort Apache). And the logical ending for that film would be his death (but never caused by Clift), and if you understand Hollywood this is the expected-by-the-audience ending and for that a conventional ending. To have a happy end in a film which was demanding a tragic ending is a surprise.
Dunson is too hard from the beginning on, he loses the girl due to his false decision to leave her behind. He takes the land, which is not his, with violence, and then he becomes too hard, becomes inhuman in the process of the trail to defend his dream. If he fails with the herd, the girl at the beginning would have died a 2nd time for him. And it is the meeting with another girl which starts his inner change.
The ending is even realistic for me. He bears still his grudge but inwardly he searches for a reason not to shoot Matt. If Matt had pulled his gun he would have tried to kill him, but when Matt refuses to draw he can't kill him anymore, he has the reason not to shoot, and the fistfight only manifests his change. And that change doesn't come out of nowhere in the final scene, this change had already happened long before in the confrontation with Dru. Which is one of the best scenes of the film.

The line of Dru at the end is of course not good, which Hawks also admitted, but apart from that the scene works very well, and Hawks always defended it. The ending would have worked better without that line, which only makes clear what is visible anyway. Too many films don't trust the audience too understand a film only by the pictures.


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« #58 : July 22, 2012, 03:40:46 AM »

Just found a quote from Robin Wood from his Hawks book:

"With this ending Hawks did not only broke with the rules of the classic western, but also with the rules of the classic tragedy."



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« #59 : July 22, 2012, 07:42:50 AM »

People say that, because it is Wayne, the icon, but he wasn't an icon in 48, he wasn't a superstar, only a star of minor films (but not b-pictures), and "only" a co-star in bigger budgeted films (like in Reap the Wild Wind, They Were Expendable, Fort Apache).

You're forgetting Stagecoach.



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