The Comancheros is a big, brash, uninhibited action-western of the old school about as subtle as a right to the jaw.

The Comancheros is a big, brash, uninhibited action-western of the old school about as subtle as a right to the jaw.

The screenplay, based on the novel by Paul I. Wellman, is a kind of cloak-and-dagger yarn on horseback. It is set against the Texas of the mid-19th century, a troubled time prior to its statehood when the Comanches were on the warpath and renegade white men, or ‘Comancheros’, were aiding the Indian cause with fighting equipment. The film relates the story of a Texas Ranger (John Wayne) and an itinerant gambler (Stuart Whitman) who team up to detect and destroy the renegade, parasitic society.

Wayne is obviously comfortable in a role tailor-made to the specifications of his easygoing, square-shooting, tight-lipped but watch-out-when-I’m-mad screen personality. Lee Marvin makes a vivid impression in a brief, but colorful, role as a half-scalped, vile-tempered Comanchero agent.

Director Michael Curtiz was fortunate in having aboard some excellent stuntmen whose hard falls, leaps and maneuvers during the raid and battle sequences (directed by Cliff Lyons) are something to see.

Cameraman William H. Clothier’s sweeping panoramic views of the Moab, Utah site are something to behold.

The Comancheros

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Michael Curtiz; Producer George Sherman; Screenplay James Edward Grant, Clair Huffaker; Camera William H. Clothier; Editor Louis Loeffler; Music Elmer Bernstein;; Art Director Jack Martin Smith, Alfred Ybarra

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1961. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

John Wayne Stuart Whitman Ina Balin Nehemiah Persoff Lee Marvin Michael Ansara
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