The host of an investigative news show is convinced by the CIA that the friends he has invited to a weekend in the country are engaged in a conspiracy that threatens national security in ... See full summary »
Out on patrol in the war-time desert a Canadian corporal reminisces about the woman he has left behind in London and ponders whether she will fall for the charms of his rival in love. At ... See full summary »
John M. Stahl
In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann ... See full summary »
Sam Dunning, one of the wealthiest ranchers in the Pecos Valley is found dead with a bullet in his back. Pinned to his body is a note which reads "An eye for an eye, signed Joan Stanton". ... See full summary »
Juan Cesare, a descendant of the Borgia's of Vienna, thinks he may have a murder streak in him acquired from his long-dead relatives, is is love with Florence Ballau, but her father lodges ... See full summary »
C. Aubrey Smith
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
Star Maureen O' Hara, her brother producer Charles Fitzsimons and writer A. S. Fleischman formed Carousel Productions in order to get the film made. Director Sam Peckinpah was hired for $15, 000, star Brian Keith was paid $30, 000...the entire picture was done for $300, 000. See more »
It's strange - I feel I know better than any man I've ever known, yet I hardly know you at all.
See more »
The first theatrical feature from famed 'maverick' director Peckinpah is a very odd film. For one thing, it takes some careful reflection to recognize that it has virtually no story, simply the working out of apposite relationships between people having almost nothing in common with one another. The abortive bank robbery becomes almost forgotten, overshadowed as it is with O'Hara's journey to bury her son near her husband.
Which brings us to the first important historical point of the film. The attempt to bury the son is going to leave an impression on Peckinpah, who revamps it as black comedy for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. (It also apparently left an impression on Tommy Lee Jones, who borrows the idea for his recent "Three Burials" film.) Peckinpah would also rework the Chill Wills character through several films. Brian Kieth's driven Civil War vet becomes the basis of Major Dundee, and of Holden's Pike Bishop in the final battle of The Wild Bunch. Another reviewer remarked that the boy playing the harmonica foreshadows the Bob Dylan character in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid; but, more importantly, it clearly provided the inspiration for the Charles Bronson Harmonica character in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. The arrival of the three would-be bank robbers in the town at the beginning uses camera angles that would recur in the Wild Bunch, just as the arrival in the abandoned village at the end of the film includes camera angles used in the scenes from the Bunch that are set in Mexico. Another reviewer has rightly remarked the resonance of the barroom church service with similar scenes in later Peckinpah films. And the undeniable sexual tensions between Kieth, O'Hara and the two bank robbers would reappear in an almost unrecognizable fashion - not in the Ballad of Cable Hogue, as the reader might have expected, but in Straw Dogs, where it explodes into open violence, only achieving partial resolution in the McQueen/ McGraw relationship in the Getaway.
Whew! that's a lot of potential to discover in a low budget western. But there's more! One of the reasons why this film would leave an imprint on Tommy Lee Jones and Sergio Leone is that it is not really a "Western", i.e., a cowboy genre film. Except for the references to the Civil War, it could easily have been set somewhere in Africa, Mexico, or Australia. It could have been set in the Middle Ages. There's only one character that is pure "cowboy" movie stereotype, the black-clad gunslinger. And he is so openly a stereotype, one can't help wondering if he represents some intentional parody element to the film. At any rate, the point is that Peckinpah's decision to film a "non-Western Western" is historically crucial - If films like the Wild Bunch and Once Upon a Time in the West can be truly said to mark the end of the Western genre as a whole, the first notice of this transition is to be made in Deadly Companions.
Finally, one ought to note the performances of the actors. All of them, it should be noted are either miscast or cast against expectations. Chill Wills had never played such a nasty crud before; Maureen O'Hara playing a loser is completely antithetical to the cinema persona she had previously established for herself, and to which she would later return in films like McClintock! And Brian Keith turns in a great performance in a role that is really thanklessly unsympathetic for the audience in many subtle ways.
Really a remarkable achievement for a young director with little or no budget to work with.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?