In 1825 Marcos Zappa is blackmailed by Don Pedro Garcia, whose ambition is to be emperor of California. Garcia schemes to have Marcos seduce and marry Manuella, the daughter of his rival, Jose De Marquez. Manuella, who is already engaged to be married to Miguel De Gandara, is attracted to Marcos but not sure if she should trust him. Written by
As a swashbuckler, this is fairly lame. The whole thing is never believable, with an air of lightness that just about always says "can you believe this????" The script makes absolutely no sense. But Montalban is charming in the lead and I'm always grateful to see Gilbert Roland and J. Carrol Naish at work. But what's really odd about this movie are the homo-erotic undertones. Montalban frequently has his shirt off -- more often around men than women. There's more sexual tension between Montalban and Gilbert Roland than there is between him and Cyd Charisse. The men are always trying to top one another -- and they seem more hurt by betrayal than the women. Add in all the pointy objects they keep poking at one another... well, I don't want to make too big a deal about it, but it is odd.
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