Suave Mexican cattleman Alvarez Kelly has little interest in the Civil War except to make some money. But after a long drive to deliver cattle to the Unionists he finds himself kidnapped by... See full summary »
Suave Mexican cattleman Alvarez Kelly has little interest in the Civil War except to make some money. But after a long drive to deliver cattle to the Unionists he finds himself kidnapped by Confederate Colonel Tom Rossiter. With his hungry troops surrounded in Richmond the Colonel intends, one way or the other, to persuade Kelly to help steal the herd and move it into town. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Both William Holden and director Edward Dmytryk were concerned about the script of the film before production even began. At one point during filming, Holden, who was hung-over and dealing with an unruly horse, became angry and tried shoving the script up the horse's rear, yelling, "That's where it belongs!" See more »
The artillery pieces used are standard cannons (smoothbore guns) and not howitzers. Howitzers have short barrels, and are angled upwards like a modern mortar. See more »
You disappoint me, Mr. Kelly. After what happened to your home, I should think your sympathies would be with us.
I have no sympathies, only instincts. And they shy away from losers.
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Alvarez Kelly, Mexican national, has just sold a herd of cattle to the North during the American Civil War. Yankee Major Stedman insists he accompany the cattle all the way to Richmond where they're to feed Grant's troops besieging the city. Only Confederate Cavalry hero Tom Rossiter has different ideas for the cattle and for Kelly.
William Holden as Kelly and Richard Widmark as Tom Rossiter settle down in roles familiar to them. Ever since Sunset Boulevard Bill Holden has brought us a fine line of cynical protagonists to the silver screen. Holden's good, but he's not breaking any new ground here.
Richard Widmark as Rossiter is a bit more idealistic than Kelly, but only because he believes in a cause. He's no less cynical than Kelly in his methods of getting Kelly's cooperation in his scheme. The scheme being to get the cattle passed union lines to Richmond. We're not talking here about slavery and the causes of the Civil War. Just the prevention of disease and starvation.
The only other larger role of note is Patrick O'Neal as Major Stedman of the Union Army. He is such and unctuous and boring man and written deliberately so by the writers that we will understand why Kelly is tempted by the Confederate offer. Of course Widmark uses other forms of persuasion, but you have to see the movie for that.
It's a nice action film by two very capable male stars who were passed the peak years of their respective careers in the Fifties. Also you will not be able to get the title song, sung by the Kingston Trio over the opening credits out of your mind. Very catchy indeed.
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