IMDb > They Came to Cordura (1959)
They Came to Cordura
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They Came to Cordura (1959) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
6.6/10   1,179 votes »
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Down 28% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ivan Moffat (screenplay) &
Robert Rossen (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for They Came to Cordura on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
June 1959 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Slashing Story of a Desert Warrior Who Fought His Way From HELL TO GLORY !
Plot:
An army major, himself guilty of cowardice, is asked to recommended soldiers for the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Mexican Border Incursion of 1916. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(3 articles)
User Reviews:
A Wasted Opportunity See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Gary Cooper ... Major Thomas Thorn

Rita Hayworth ... Adelaide Geary

Van Heflin ... Sgt. John Chawk

Tab Hunter ... Lt. William Fowler

Richard Conte ... Cpl. Milo Trubee

Michael Callan ... Pvt. Andrew Hetherington

Dick York ... Pvt. Renziehausen
Robert Keith ... Colonel Rogers
Carlos Romero ... Arreaga
Jim Bannon ... Capt. Paltz (as James Bannon)

Edward Platt ... Colonel DeRose
Maurice Jara ... Mexican Federale
Sam Buffington ... 1st Correspondent
Arthur Hanson ... 2nd Correspondent
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clem Fuller ... (uncredited)
Wendell Hoyt ... Cavalry Trooper (uncredited)
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Directed by
Robert Rossen 
 
Writing credits
Ivan Moffat (screenplay) &
Robert Rossen (screenplay)

Glendon Swarthout (novel)

Produced by
William Goetz .... producer
 
Original Music by
Elie Siegmeister 
 
Cinematography by
Burnett Guffey (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
William A. Lyon 
 
Production Design by
Cary Odell (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Cary Odell 
 
Set Decoration by
Frank Tuttle  (as Frank A. Tuttle)
 
Costume Design by
Jean Louis (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Clay Campbell .... makeup artist
Helen Hunt .... hair stylist
Armiene .... hairdresser (uncredited)
Benny Lane .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Carter De Haven Jr. .... assistant director: second unit (as Carter DeHaven Jr.)
Milton Feldman .... assistant director
James Curtis Havens .... second unit director (as James Havens)
R. Robert Rosenbaum .... assistant director (uncredited)
David Salven .... assistant director (uncredited)
Roger Slager .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Ray Bassell .... lead man (uncredited)
Irving Goldfarb .... props (uncredited)
Ed Goldstein .... props (uncredited)
Harry Hopkins .... props (uncredited)
David Horowitz .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
John P. Livadary .... recording supervisor (as John Livadary)
George Cooper .... sound mixer (uncredited)
Sol Jaffe .... mikeman (uncredited)
Harold Lee .... recordist (uncredited)
Ernest Reichert .... sound editor (uncredited)
George Ronconi .... cableman (uncredited)
 
Stunts
May Boss .... stunt double; Rita Hayworth (uncredited)
John L. Cason .... stunt double: Van Heflin (uncredited)
Jack Conner .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Tony Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Clem Fuller .... stunts (uncredited)
Doug Gunther .... stunts (uncredited)
Walt La Rue .... stunts (uncredited)
Fred Lerner .... stunts (uncredited)
Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
Slim Talbot .... stunt double: Gary Cooper (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Frank G. Carson .... photographer: second unit
Morris Bauchman .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Albert Bettcher .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jack Botthof .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Coburn .... still photographer (uncredited)
Willard Klug .... grip (uncredited)
Eugene Lenoir .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Andrew J. McIntyre .... camera operator (uncredited)
Walter Meins .... grip (uncredited)
Don Murphy .... grip (uncredited)
Val O'Malley .... camera operator (uncredited)
Emil Oster .... camera operator (uncredited)
Clyde Prior .... grip (uncredited)
James Saper .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Charles Stapleton .... best boy (uncredited)
Homer Van Pelt .... still photographer (uncredited)
Seldon White .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Thomas S. Dawson .... costume supervisor: men (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Henri Jaffa .... color consultant
 
Music Department
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator
Morris Stoloff .... conductor
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Paul R. Davison .... technical consultant (as Col. Paul Davison U.S.A.{Rtd.})
Ivan Connors .... ramrod (uncredited)
Doris Grau .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Rolly Harper .... caterer (uncredited)
'Chema' Hernandez .... head wrangler (uncredited)
A.W. Kennard .... parrot trainer (uncredited)
Mary Lou Tobler .... stand-in: Rita Hayworth (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
123 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Certification:
Finland:K-16 | Germany:16 (DVD rating) | Spain:13 | UK:PG | USA:Approved (PCA #19173) | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In a 1960 interview John Wayne criticized this film and Montgomery Clift's Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), both of which treated homosexuality (in this film because of an implied homosexual relationship between the characters played by Gary Cooper and Tab Hunter), as "poison polluting Hollywood's moral bloodstream." The latter, he said, was "too disgusting even for discussion."See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Major Thorn improperly salutes Colonel DeRose in the opening scene when he dismissed. He should have saluted and held his salute until it was acknowledged. Instead, he lowers his arm even before Colonel Rose acknowledges it.See more »
Quotes:
Major Thomas Thorn:[to Adelaide] Lady, you're definitely too logical for a woman.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
22 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
A Wasted Opportunity, 21 June 2006
Author: aimless-46 from Kentucky

Is "They Came to Codura" (1959) as ill conceived and poorly executed as it appears to be, or is it an ambitious and well-intentioned western that falls short because it over-reaches? The problem is that so few films are ambitious that our brains go into a stall when a rare effort like this comes along; we don't know quite how to evaluate it.

Compounding this is the extensive trimming that the film received prior to its release; this cutting may not have hurt anything (what was taken out wouldn't have made things clearer or transformed the performances into believable characterizations) but it no doubt accounts for the overall disjointed feel of the story.

Finally there is Glendon Swarthout's source novel of the same title, an allegorical story of human redemption that does not translate well to the screen as most of it takes place inside the tortured mind of the protagonist. The screen play follows the novel almost too closely, keeping Swarthout's weakest elements while replacing his devastatingly ironic ending with a tame "Flight of the Phoenix" finale.

So if (for whatever reason) you are thinking about viewing "They Came to Codura" don't expect a typical viewing experience. And don't expect a masterpiece because the mixed description in the first paragraph is a pretty accurate assessment of the film.

That doesn't mean don't watch. The surface story is reasonably entertaining and the themes are extremely interesting even if they are so poorly articulated that they lose much of the power that they should have had.

Like the novel, the film is set in 1916 Mexico with the U.S. Cavalry dashing about in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Major Thomas Thorn (Gary Cooper) is in charge of escorting five prospective Medal of Honor winners back to the base at Cordura where their heroics can be utilized to fan a recruitment campaign for the looming U.S. entry into WWI.

Thorn carries a lot of personal baggage into this assignment. The son of a famous soldier he is deeply ashamed of the cowardice he exhibited during a recent battle. It is his duty to interview each soldier during the journey and to then write up the commendations. His past performance causes him to over-compensate as a leader and to soon alienate most of the men under his command; Lt. Fowler (Tab Hunter), Sgt. Chawk (Van Heflin), Pvt. Hetherington (Michael Callan), Cpl. Trubee (Richard Conte), and Pvt. Renziehausen (Dick York). Being dragged along with the group is a woman named Adelaide (Rita Hayworth), an American expatriate accused of aiding the Villa.

This is not exactly a strong cast, especially for a film that is more character study than action adventure. To be successful, an adaptation of a multi-character novel must go one of two ways with those characters; #1 assemble an extremely talented cast who can nonverbally communicate characterization or, #2 mold most of the characters into movie stereotypes and single out 2-3 for more extensive development (placing your strongest actors in those roles). This film's downfall is that it takes a third path, as none of the characters are predictable movie stereotypes (in fact all seven are extremely strange) and only Hayworth is able to give her character some degree of plausible dimensionality.

Neither the setting nor the story is important. This could have been set anywhere at anytime. What is important is the theme, the nature of courage-its randomness, its situational nature, and its lack of correlation with other character traits. The "heroes" are slowly revealed to be opportunists, bullies, deadbeats, and degenerates, but an isolated act of heroism was their redemption. And the coward ends up behaving like a hero.

A variety of explanations for the individual acts of bravery are illustrated-recklessness, momentary insanity, accident, hatred, fear of being considered a coward, and a need for redemption. The point being that going above and beyond the call of duty is not something that can be predicted or relied upon, and that except for the last reason does alter the basic nature of the hero.

Unfortunately none (ZERO) of these characters ring even remotely true and with the irony stripped out of the ending, the result is a total failure in effectively illustrating the theme. So you watch, and if you can suspend disbelief it is possible to understand what the film is trying to say. But this is hardly great cinema and the viewer ultimately thinks more about the missed opportunity than about the mysteries of battlefield courage and human redemption.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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