Guns for San Sebastian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from La Bataille de San Sebastian)
Jump to: navigation, search
Guns for San Sebastian
Bdsspos.jpg
Directed by Henri Verneuil
Produced by Jacques Bar
Ernesto Enríquez
Written by Serge Gance
Miguel Morayta
Ennio De Concini
James R. Webb (English screenplay)
Based on A Wall for San Sebastian 
by William Barby Faherty
Starring Anthony Quinn
Anjanette Comer
Charles Bronson
Sam Jaffe
Silvia Pinal
Music by Ennio Morricone
Laurie Johnson
Cinematography Armand Thirard
Edited by Françoise Bonnot
Production
company
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • 1968 (1968)
Running time
111 minutes ([US)

Guns for San Sebastian (French: La Bataille de San Sebastian) is an 1968 French action-adventure film based on the 1962 novel A Wall for San Sebastian, written by Rev. Fr. William Barnaby "Barby" Faherty, S.J.[1][2][3] The film is directed by Frenchman Henri Verneuil, it stars Anthony Quinn and Charles Bronson. The score is by Ennio Morricone.

It is a rare instance of a spaghetti western actually being shot in Mexico instead of substituting Spain or some similar European location.

Plot[edit]

In 1743, a womanizing atheist outlaw, Leon Alastray (Anthony Quinn), is pursued by the Spanish military. Given sanctuary by an altruistic priest (Sam Jaffe), he is taken to a village terrorized by marauding Indians.

When the priest is killed, Alastray is mistaken for a priest himself. This he at first denies but, finding the love of a village woman, and encouraged by the persuasive power of a fake miracle, decides to take on the role and thereby organize the villagers against the predatory raids of the Yaqui Indians.

Teclo (Charles Bronson) is a half-breed leader of marauders who pretends to side with the villagers but is really in league with the Yaqui. When Alastray attempts to make peace with the Yaqui, Teclo intervenes and foments a conflict. Whilst Alastray organises the men of the village to build a dam to increase the amount water of the area and have a higher yield of corn, the Yaqui attack and massacre many of the inhabitants of the village. The angry villagers order the priest out, but Alastray returns to the provincial capital and obtains a large amount of muskets and a cannon for the village.

Just before a battle, the villagers ask Alastray to hold a mass. At this point he confesses to the villagers that he is not a priest. They nonetheless accept him and together they defeat the Yaqui. Alastray flees the military again, this time accompanied by the woman he loves.

Reception[edit]

Though panned as somewhat pedestrian by most critics, several attributes separate this from many spaghetti westerns of the time.[citation needed] It is an excellent showcase of the talents of Anthony Quinn and Charles Bronson in their prime. While the cinematography is not on par with other contemporary members of the genre (like The Magnificent Seven), the authentic Mexican set and above average performances by the supporting cast (especially Sam Jaffe as the priest) contribute to a realism in which some westerns fall short.

Differences between the novel and the film[edit]

The original novel by Faherty had the hero a former soldier who became a Jesuit Friar, as opposed to the film's depiction of the hero as an army deserter and atheist bandit. The Indians in the novel were Comanche rather than Yaqui and the half-breed character played by Charles Bronson does not appear in the book.

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]