In 19th century the Japanese Emperor sends a gift pony to the US President. The pony is stolen and ransomed by Indians. Sheriff Gideon aided by an inept Japanese servant who believes he is a true Samurai offers to deliver the ransom money.
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Gian Maria Volonté,
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Michael Shamus Wiles,
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Robert F. Lyons,
While this movie can't be considered a classic due to its low-budget and uneven acting, it does have an appeal for me, in some strange way. Stewart Granger is all smiles and morally corrupt in his actions, but there's something about his character that makes you wonder where he originated from and what set him on the path to being the bastard that he is at an older age, compared to his younger compatriots. When he does unleash that smile upon hearing about an offer of more money to do a job, you can't help but laugh at his smarmy style.
He's like the dark side of espionage...something the genre of spy films rarely recognizes as a possibility, in that any man in such a world doesn't need any morals, he just needs finances to get the job done, whatever it may be. This is also something verbally acknowledged by those who hire him for the job early in the film. They don't want an upstanding citizen or agent...his actually being a bastard is what makes him right for the task, because those he faces are just as bad!
The title, while connected to events in the film, is also saying something about the whole genre of spy films at that time; that these men, being a Bourne, a Bond or whomever, can't always be doing the right thing for the right reasons, and that such films as a whole are more often about assassins and men of violence than those of noble and misunderstood heroes. (and yet, there is a touch of nobility and honor to his character in the film, too)
Maybe that's reading more into what is essentially a low-budget take on the popular espionage films of the 60's, but I think the film has a better script, and some decent enough dialogue, to make it hard to ignore completely. And Stewart Granger is a delight to watch as a gray-haired, older anti-hero spy-for-hire.
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