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Set in the Argentina of about 1875 in which a customary punishment for killing was a sentence to army service. A young gaucho deserts his army sentence and becomes a bandit leader and also gets his sweetheart pregnant. Seeing the futility of his ways, he takes her to a church to be married prior to surrendering himself back to the army. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tyrone Power was probably right to bow out of doing Way Of A Gaucho. This would have been a great part for him ten years earlier, but by 1952 Power was 38 years old would not have been all that convincing any more as one wild and woolly gaucho who prizes freedom above all things.
So 30 year old Rory Calhoun got the part and he looked even younger than that. Calhoun plays a young man who was taken in by a large estancia owner and raised as a stepson along with his real son Hugh Marlowe. The film opens with Marlowe returning from getting a European education in Spain and Marlowe has adopted European ways.
Civilization is coming to the Pampas, a fact that a lot of the gauchos resent, none more so than Calhoun. When he kills a man in a brawl, he's arrested, but Marlowe goes to bat for him and he gets army service with Richard Boone trying to make a soldier out of him. Naturally Calhoun doesn't take to that kind of discipline and he deserts and becomes the notorious bandit leader Valverde. Along the way he meets Gene Tierney and the two of them get something going.
20th Century Fox starting in the early Forties did a whole slew of films with a Latin American setting, the idea being to promote a Good Neighbor policy with Latin American countries who all declared war on the Axis powers after December 7. In fact Argentina was the only country not to declare war, at least until 1945. Because of that the Juan Peron government had few post war friends outside of Franco's Spain.
So with that in mind they no doubt welcomed 20th Century Fox to do a film with a real Latin American location. The cinematography of the Pampas is first rate and the American players who also included Everett Sloane as Calhoun's sidekick blend nicely in with the Argentine cast. The first lady of Argentina Eva Peron who was a film star before she married Juan took a personal interest in this project even though she was dying during the shooting of Way Of A Gaucho.
For its exotic location and good performances Way Of A Gaucho is definitely worth your time for a look.
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