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After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico to fight in their revolution for money. The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin and his men, and together they are hired by the Emperor Maximillian and the Marquis Henri de Labordere to escort the Countess Marie Duvarre to the harbor of Vera Cruz. Ben and Erin find that the stagecoach is transporting US$ 3,000,000.00 in gold hidden below the seat and they scheme to steal it. Along their journey, betrayals and incidents happen changing their initial intentions. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Joe's saddle gun, a "new, Winchester repeating rifle", is an 1872 model; since the film is set "just after the American Civil War", to be correct, the gun should be a Henry "Yellowboy", circa 1864. (The earlier weapon had no wooden forearm stock and a brass receiver; the rifle Joe carries has a steel receiver and the wooden stock.) See more »
Opening credits prologue: As the American Civil War ended, another war was just beginning. The Mexican people were struggling to rid themselves of their foreign Emperor - - - Maximilian. Into this fight rode a handful of Americans - - - ex-soldiers, adventurers, criminals-- all bent on gain. They drifted South in small groups - - AND SOME CAME ALONE- See more »
"Vera Cruz" is not a bad western but it could have been better. It's about two soldiers of fortune (Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster) who venture into Mexico following the American Civil War to hire themselves out to the highest bidder between the forces of Emperor Maximillian (George Macready) and the revolutionaries led by Morris Ankrum. It turns out that there is a large shipment of gold that everyone is trying to get their hands on. There are double crosses and triple crosses a plenty before the matter is finally settled.
Cooper plays Benjamin Trane a former Confederate Colonel who rides in alone and meets up with grinning teethy all in black gunslinger Joe Erin (Lancaster). Erin has a gang that includes the likes of Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson (using his real name, Buchinsky) and Jack Elam. Jack Lambert heads up a gang that opposes that of Lancaster.
Cesar Romero plays the Marquis Henri de Labordere a senior but corrupt official in Maximillian's government and Henry Brandon plays his second in command. Denise Darcel and Sarita Montiel provide the female treachery, each after the gold for their own reasons and of course involving our heroes.
Cooper looks out of place as Trane, a little too long in the tooth to be convincing as the fast on the draw hero. Lancaster on the other hand, apparently was given his head by Director Robert Aldrich and goes way over the top flashing those pearly whites at every opportunity. It was interesting to see Borgnine and Bronson in early roles before they made it big. Romero dashing as always, steals the picture in my opinion.
The battles scenes are well staged and exciting and the wide screen photography is spectacular.
"Vera Cruz" is OK if you don't mind being blinded by the "whitest teeth in the west".
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