Pale Horse [from the novel Killing a Mouse on Sunday by Emeric Pressburger] is rooted in the Spanish Civil War, using introductory newsreel footage and the fighting to set the background for a story that happens 20 years later and essentially concerns a Spanish guerrilla (Gregory Peck) who continues to live the war alone. He is thrown again into the fray in a personal attack against a vain and arrogant police captain (Anthony Quinn) who has vowed his death.
The one-man fight against a corrupt and powerful adversary is an obvious losing battle, but the guerrilla’s last stand, he knows, can be his most effective.
Peck is a worn-out, untidy broken man who once again surges with force and energy in a characterization that ranks among the better in his long career. There also is an excellent performance from Quinn, who is coarse, crude and worldly as the arrogant police chief but shows his own insecurity beneath a physically courageous false front. Omar Sharif shows a warm, sensitive side in this film, playing the role of a young priest torn between obligations of personal morality and the official laws of government.