The Comancheros (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Curtiz|
|Produced by||George Sherman|
|Screenplay by||James Edward Grant
|Based on||The Comancheros
by Paul I. Wellman
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Cinematography||William H. Clothier|
|Editing by||Louis Loeffler|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||November 1, 1961|
|Running time||105 min.|
The Comancheros is a 1961 Western Deluxe CinemaScope color film directed by Michael Curtiz and John Wayne (uncredited) based on a 1952 novel of the same name by Paul Wellman. The film starred John Wayne and Stuart Whitman. The supporting cast includes Ina Balin, Lee Marvin, Nehemiah Persoff, and Bruce Cabot. Also featured are western film veterans Bob Steele, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, and Harry Carey, Jr. in uncredited supporting roles.
When illness prevented Curtiz from finishing the film, Wayne took over as director, though his role remained uncredited. Curtiz died shortly after the film was completed.
In 1843 roguish gambler Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman) escapes a death penalty after killing in a duel Emil Bouvier (Gregg Palmer), the son of a Louisiana judge. Regret claimed that he would have only wounded Bouvier if he hadn't sidestepped. He is captured by Texas Ranger Jake Cutter (John Wayne) after a tryst with a mysterious lady, Pilar Graile (Ina Balin). Regret manages to escape, but is subsequently recaptured after a chance encounter with Cutter in a saloon.
In the process of returning Regret to Louisiana, Cutter is forced to join forces with the condemned to fight the "Comancheros", a large criminal gang headed by a former Confederate officer that smuggles guns and whiskey to the Comanche Indians to make money and keep the frontier in a state of violence. Cutter stops at a ranch owned by a friend when there is a sudden Comanche atttack. During the attack Regret hops on a horse and flees, but instead of making a clean getaway he soon returns with a unit of Texas Rangers and the attack is repulsed.
Eventually they infiltrate the self-sufficient Comanchero community at the bottom of a valley in the desert. Pilar reappears as the daughter of the wheelchair-bound but ruthless leader Graile (Nehemiah Persoff). After Cutter and the other Texas Rangers defeat both the Comanches and Comancheros, Regret and Pilar leave together for Mexico and Jake rides off into the sunset.
- John Wayne as Capt. Jake Cutter
- Stuart Whitman as Paul Regret
- Ina Balin as Pilar Graile
- Nehemiah Persoff as Graile
- Lee Marvin as Tully Crow
- Michael Ansara as Amelung
- Bruce Cabot as Maj. Henry
- Joan O'Brien as Melinda Marshall
- Jack Elam as Horseface
- Edgar Buchanan as Judge Thaddeus Jackson Breen
- Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as Ed McBain (gunrunner)
- Leigh Snowden as Evie – Blonde in Hotel Room (uncredited)
- Patrick Wayne as Tobe (Texas Ranger)
Whitman's character—Paul Regret—was the lead in the novel and Wayne's part had to be amplified for the film version. Wellman had envisioned Cary Grant as Regret as he wrote the novel. Gary Cooper and James Garner were originally set to be the leads but Cooper was in ill health and Garner had been blackballed due to a dispute with Jack Warner.
Bosley Crowther called the film "so studiously wild and woolly it turns out to be good fun"; according to Crowther, "[t]here's not a moment of seriousness in it, not a detail that isn't performed with a surge of exaggeration, not a character that is credible."
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
Although set in 1843 Texas, the characters all use Winchester lever action rifles and Colt Peacemaker pistols, which were not available until 1866 and 1873 respectively. The Guinn Williams character is said have stolen rifles from Fort Sill and to have served a sentence in the Yuma Territorial Prison, neither of which became operational until after the Civil War, 1869 and 1876 respectively.
See also 
- Crowther, Bosley (November 2, 1961). "John Wayne Stars in 'The Comancheros'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p252
- "James Garner: You Ought to be in Pictures". Movieline. May 1, 1994. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Crane, My Life as a Mankiewicz, University Press of Kentucky 2012 p 50-52
- The Comancheros at the Internet Movie Database
- The Comancheros (film) at the TCM Movie Database
- The Comancheros (film) at AllRovi