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Olaf Mertens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As they were not allowed by Spanish Gobernment to film in Spain, Fred Zinnemann and Alexandre Trauner stayed for two days at Frontón Hotel of Vitoria (Now Vitoria-Gasteiz) and went around the city to get pictures and information about buildings and people trying to reach the "intimate heartbeat of the city" in order to later recreate them properly. No local newspaper took the news maybe due censorship. See more »
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In 1939 like John Wayne's Ethan Edwards in The Searchers, Gregory Peck does not believe in surrenders. When all the others give up their weapons and go home, Peck conspicuously keeps his and keeps up the good fight. Of course twenty years later, Peck's become nothing more than a common bandit with the barest trappings of the revolutionary ardor he once had for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War.
His rival, his Pat Garrett to Peck being Billy the Kid, is the local captain of the Guardia Civil in Anthony Quinn. Peck's constant raids into his border area from France are a source of embarrassment to him and block his chances for advancement. At one time Quinn was a hardened Falangist, but now he's just a policeman.
Twenty years as made a lot of changes in both men. Quinn a devote Catholic who probably joined the fascist forces because of the anti-clerical attitudes of the Republican government now observes the form of religion, but he's got a mistress on the side. When he goes to pray it's not for anything profound, just please let him get Peck so he can advance.
Peck is as anti-clerical as he was during the Spanish Civil War in the late Thirties, but now is really into it a lot for violence's sake. He also knows his cause is long lost, but needs the excuse for what he's now doing. He also gets quite a surprise in finding a priest like Omar Sharif going to warn him about an informer in his crew. Catholics do come in all shapes and sizes.
Although Peck is somewhat miscast as a Spaniard, still he does a good job as does Quinn and Sharif. The strength of Behold a Pale Horse is that it presents both Peck and Quinn as flesh and blood people, neither of them all good or all evil from your point of view.
Behold a Pale Horse was made in 1964 and eleven years later Francisco Franco in whose service Quinn was in died after being dictator of Spain for 36 years. When I visited Spain in 2001 the thing that struck me was how there was very little evidence of Franco's reign. Spain has now settled quite nicely into a constitutional monarchy with a functioning parliament. And the Catholic church which rode as high in Spain as it did during Philip II is rapidly losing influence.
Kind of makes you wonder just what Peck and Quinn were fighting about.
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