The Comancheros (Widescreen) product details page

The Comancheros (Widescreen)

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The Comancheros is Michael Curtiz's last film as a director; from all accounts, he was weak and ill during the filming, although one would never know it from the finished product, which is skillfully directed and bears the unmistakable stamp of Curtiz's professionalism. John Wayne stepped in to direct some scenes when Curtiz faltered, and Cliff Lyons, an excellent stuntman whose career traced back to the silent era, directed the second-unit action sequences, and certainly these contributions added considerably to the film's final cut. The film boasts a particularly interesting cast; aside from Wayne, stars Stuart Whitman and Lee Marvin, as well as veteran character actors Jack Elam, Henry Daniell, and Richard Devon are on hand to liven up the proceedings. The plot is simplicity itself; Wayne plays Texas Ranger Jake Cutter, a role he could stroll through without breaking a sweat, who arrests itinerant gambler Paul Regret (Whitman) as another routine assignment. But Whitman and Wayne soon find they must pool their resources to defeat a band of renegade arms dealers known as the Comancheros, led by Jack Elam at his slimiest. The Comancheros is a deeply formulaic film, designed to keep Wayne in the public eye and his loyal audience members satisfied. None of it makes much sense, but Curtiz directs in his usual hectic style, so that the incidents pile up so quickly that one soon forgets the absurdity of the film's premise. Interestingly, veteran Western director Budd Boetticher was originally slated to direct this film during a particularly down period in the director's life when he was in jail in Mexico during the production of his film Arruza (which was eventually completed after much hardship in 1972). Astoundingly, Boetticher turned the offer down, preferring to remain in jail rather than tackle what he saw as a mediocre project. Michael Curtiz died shortly after production of the film was completed. Wheeler Winston Dixon, All Movie Guide