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Manuel Artiguez, a famous bandit during the Spanish civil war, has lived in French exile for 20 years. When his mother is dying he considers visiting her secretly in his Spanish home town. But his biggest enemy, the Spanish police officer Vinolas, prepared a trap at the hospital as a chance to finally catch Artiguez. Written by
Olaf Mertens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie was banned in Spain, which was still ruled by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the fascist victor of the Spanish Civil War. See more »
In the first 5 minutes of the movie it is supposed to be 1939 and the Loyalist (Republican) soldiers are crossing into exile on the French border. As they cross over they are turning in their guns and the first one to turn in his gun turns in a Russian PPSh-41 submachine gun. The PPSh-41 was not developed until 1941. See more »
[regarding which faction killed his father]
What difference does it make? Did either side have a right to take his life?
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Opening credits - the first card shown contains the passage from Revelations 6:8, which contains the phrase "Behold a Pale Horse", the title of the film. See more »
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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