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The Deadly Companions (1961)

Approved | | Western | 1961 (UK)
Ex-army officer accidentally kills a woman's son, tries to make up for it by escorting the funeral procession through dangerous Indian territory.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as A.S. Fleischman), (novel) (as A.S. Fleischman)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Kit Tildon
...
Yellowleg
...
Billy Keplinger
...
Turk
...
Parson
...
Doctor Acton
James O'Hara ...
Cal, General Store (as Jim O'Hara)
Peter O'Crotty ...
Mayor of Hila City
Billy Vaughan ...
Mead Tildon Jr.
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Storyline

The veteran Civil War Yankee officer Yellowleg saves the cheater Turk in a card game, and together with the gunslinger Billy Keplinger, they ride together to Gila City with the intention of heisting a bank. Yellowleg has a war scar on the head from a man that tried to scalp him and he has been on the trail of his attacker for five years. When bandits rob a store, Yellowleg shoots at the outlaws and accidentally kills the son of the cabaret dancer Kit Tilden and the grieving woman decides to bury her son in the Apache country Siringo, where her husband is also buried. Yellowleg calls Billy and Turk to escort Kitty through the dangerous land. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An Unholy Alliance

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1961 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Trigger Happy  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Pathé-Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The producers found it very difficult to get financial backing for the picture due to subject matter, eg: carrying a dead child in a coffin throughout the film. They refused to change the story. Based on the success of the novel, Yellowleg, on which the film is based, Pathe America was persuaded to co-finance the film along with the Theater Owners of America. See more »

Quotes

Kit Tilden: It's strange - I feel I know better than any man I've ever known, yet I hardly know you at all.
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Connections

Featured in Passion & Poetry: The Early Sam (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Title Song
Song by Marlin Skiles & Charles B. Fitzsimons
Sung by Maureen O'Hara
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User Reviews

Peckinpah's First
21 March 2001 | by (London) – See all my reviews

This film is best seen as an apprentice work, falling neatly between Peckinpah's TV work (The Rifleman etc), and the string of Western masterpieces that began with Guns in The Afternoon/Ride the High Country. For the only time in the director's work there is no sense of the 'old West' passing, as Peckinpah still works broadly within the established Western tradition - one which he would shortly transform and make his own.

Brian Keith and O'Hara work surprisingly well together, even though in the light of the director's later work the insistance upon a strong and sympathetic female co-lead seems uncharacteristic. Apparently Maureen O'Hara's role in producing the film influenced the emphasis and development of her role.

The film suffers from a poverty of budget (most noticeable in the opening scenes where the bar room appears cramped and two dimensional), as well as over-insistent musical score - one which occasionally detracts from the rhythm of the film. The trademark Peckinpah montage editing has yet to make itself felt and, very unusually for this director, the first few moments of the film seem (to this viewer) slightly rushed and confusing - almost as if Peckinpah is just finding his feet, sketching on a larger canvas than he had previously been used to.

Peckinpah fans will find much to enjoy here, though: the character of 'Turkey' (played by Chill Wills) is as colourful and as rounded as any of the minor low-life characters that appear in the later films. He even hides a 'Major Dundee' military cap under his coat, - in retrospect one which can be seen as an appropriate cinematic "embryo". Even with a limited budget, the film is always in safe hands, the story intriguing and ironic. Riding into town, the desperate trio see a group of children playing and mildly tormenting each other - another Peckinpah trademark. When the desperadoes are confronted by a frontier prayer meeting, the anticipation of the grander meeting at the beginning of 'The Wild Bunch' is obvious. The preacher is in fact the first in a long line of religious failures and bigots featuring in Peckinpah's films.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to those used to Peckinpah's work is the lack of violence (even the end shoot out, although effective, is somewhat muted). Peckinpah, it seems, had yet to discover the stylistic hallmark which later was to mark his career in controversy.




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