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Two Rode Together (1961)

Approved | | Western | 26 July 1961 (USA)
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A corrupt marshal is pressured by his army friend into negotiating the release of white captives of the Comanches, but finds that their reintegration into society has its consequences.

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(screenplay) (as Frank Nugent), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
First Lt. Jim Gary
...
Marty Purcell
...
Elena de la Madriaga
...
Sgt. Darius P. Posey
...
Maj. Frazer
...
Judge Edward Purcell
...
Mr. Harry J. Wringle
...
Chief Quanah Parker
...
Ortho Clegg
...
Mrs. Abby Frazer
...
Greeley Clegg
Chet Douglas ...
Deputy Ward Corby
...
Belle Aragon
...
Running Wolf
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Storyline

The US Army is under pressure from the desperate relatives of white prisoners of the Comanches to secure their rescue. A cynical and corrupt marshal, Guthrie McCabe, is persuaded by an army lieutenant to assist in the negotiations with the Comanches; however, just two captives are released, and their reintegration into white society proves highly problematic. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The West's most violent story... The West's most valiant hour! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 July 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Misión de dos valientes  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the film's most renowned and impressive shots has been credited solely to John Ford's mean streak. In the famous five-minute two-shot of James Stewart and Richard Widmark bantering on a river bank about money, women, and the Comanche problem, the film's downbeat comedy, misogyny, and careless attitude toward human life are summed up perfectly. Ford justified the take as a simple preference for a wide-screen two-shot over cross-cutting between close-ups of "pock-marked faces." But Stewart and others insisted Ford forced his crew to wade waist-deep into the icy river and stay there all day until the shot was completed. See more »

Goofs

About 1:16 into the film, when the townspeople are discussing the fate of the boy (rescued from the Comanches), Willis Bouchey, John Qualen and Paul Birch turn and walk out, passing Shirley Jones and those remaining in the room. Qualen and Richard Widmark then have a brief shot at the doorway and Qualen exits. The next shot shows the group, including Qualen, again walking past Jones and the others on their way to the door. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Jesus gives Marshal Guthrie a beer]
Marshal Guthrie McCabe: Thank you, Jesus.
Jesus: Senor, the widow Gomez has delivered a son this morning - a boy.
Marshal Guthrie McCabe: Bully for the widow Gomez!
Jesus: But senor, it has been more than a year ago since Senor Antonio Gomez has been buried in the church house.
Marshal Guthrie McCabe: Well, there are some men you just can't trust to stay where you put 'em.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

The Blue Danube
(uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Played at the officers' dance
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User Reviews

 
like a dark-comic sequel to the Searchers: less about the search than those brought home
24 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure why John Ford had such a problem with Two Rode Together as he did (according to the trivia page Ford considered the film "crap" even after his favorite writer came in to make it more like a Ford picture). It brings many of his favorite, or just preferred, themes to come back to: male camaraderie, the very fragile divide between whites and Indians in the late 19th century, and a sense of balance between leisure pace and high dramatic tension and stakes. Maybe he thought he was repeating himself, or had other ideas that didn't make the final cut of the script or lost them in the direction. There's a lot of meat on the bones of Two Rode Together, even if if it does shy away from real greatness. It takes its story seriously, and also leaves some time for some unexpected human comedy between its two leads (or just mostly James Stewart).

It's premise is a little like a re-working or quasi-sequel to the Searchers. In that film Wayne was on a dogged search for his niece after she'd been captured by the Comanches and spends years tracking them down, only to find her totally changed (he still brings her home anyway). In Two Rode Together, a Marshall, about as tough and gruff and cruelly sarcastic as Wayne in that film, and a Major (Richard Widmark, the more level-headed and honorable of the two, if not quite as interesting), are put to task by the army to go to Comanche territory and bring back a few people that had been taken away years ago. Their families are desperate to see them again, and the Marshall is way more reluctant than the Major as he's had more experience with the Comanches (that, and the lack of pay, very shrewd and greedy he is). But they go ahead to the Comanche territory, track down a couple of them, and bring them back. This is halfway through the movie.

The rest of Two Rode Together sees the dire straits of this assimilation, how one of them, a rowdy boy who doesn't speak a lick of English, isn't even thought to be the right son of the desperate mother, and the other, a Mexican, is pushed aside and made to feel an outcast right away. How Ford and his writer presents this isn't very insightful (I'm sure other films have explored the American-Comanche relationship with more depth or subtlety), but it's still entertaining and full of some compelling scenes. And while Ford keeps the drama moving at a nice clip- sometimes leisurely, sometimes with more force like at the dance later in the film- he lets his two stars do a lot of lifting that makes the movie very worthwhile.

Stewart has been this cranky before, but rarely have I found this kind of grumpy but moral Marhsall so well-rounded. We laugh at some of his drunken outbursts because Stewart gives it some irony and sincerity. And there's some real tension brought out between the two characters; when he pulls out a gun he means to use it, even if he doesn't, and it's this uncertainty about him that makes it so interesting (he's not like 'Duke', for example, who you'd expect this kind of behavior). And Widmark is well-cast in this nicer-but-firm role, as a decent man who has to put up with a lot as a friend-partner-watcher of the Marshall, while also putting on a good face to his possible fiancé.

The action is far from heavy here- only one scene with a gun firing at someone, oddly enough it's a pretty weak scene and not well directed by Ford- so it's mostly a character study, more about the decisions they make, the bit players and their words to say in scenes, and what these two men in uniform will do when they complete their mission. By the end their is some redemption and catharsis, and it's not all happy all-around, and its 'issues' it deals with about racial harmony and acceptance is never too heavy-handed. Ford cares about these people, even if he says he's like his Marshall character, just doing it for the money.


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