Leon Alastray is an outlaw who has been given sanctuary by Father John, whom he then escorts to the village of San Sebastian. The village is deserted, with its cowardly residents hiding in the hills from Indians, who regularly attack the village and steal all their supplies. When Father John is murdered, the villagers mistakenly think the outlaw is the priest. Alastray at first tells them he is not a priest, but they don't believe it, and an apparent miracle seems to prove they are correct. Eventually, he assists them in regaining their confidence and defending themselves. Written by
Despite the fact that it was a European co-production and the presence of Ennio Morricone, Anthony Quinn and Charles Branson,this was actually filmed entirely in Mexico. See more »
After the dam is blown up, you can see some of the (Indians) actors holding their breath as they float down the river. e.g. one in particular has puffy cheeks after he holds his breath. See more »
[Kinita is crying, and Leon is drunk]
I can't stand sniveling - stop your sniveling. I want to tell you something. Have you ever wondered why I stayed here? Was it because of that... that crazy old priest? Was it because of a god I... I don't even BELIEVE in? Was it because... Because for the first time in my life, I... I felt important, and I liked the 'yes, Father'; 'no, Father'; 'God bless you, Father'? Or was it because of you?
[pauses and thinks]
I think it was because of you.
[...] See more »
The European Western takes a couple steps back in time with the rascal-mistaken-for-clergy theme, a proved device that worked for Bogie in "The Left Hand of God" & Whoopi in "Sister Act." In colonial Mexico, bandit Leon (Quinn) takes refuge with dedicated Father Joseph (Jaffe) & escapes when the priest is transferred to a forsaken northern village. The villagers, terrified of marauding Yaquis & exploited by a frontier protection racket led by embittered half-Yaqui Teclo (Bronson), mistake Leon for the priest & implore him for miracles. Unable to escape back into colonial settlement & tempted by naive, spirited village girl Kinita (Comer), he teaches the villagers to fight back & believe in themselves rather than praying for miracles. Quinn is colorful as ever but not quite believable making the transition from Leon the selfish, godless rascal to Leon the selfless, principled hero, though he is properly scruffy all the way through. Comer is fetching but Bronson is only bulky & menacing. Two extraordinary talents--Gravet as a stuffy bishop & the legendary Silvia Pinal as Leon's conniving girlfriend--are relegated to minor, superficial roles. The time period is wrong for the film's big gunfights, since firearms were clumsy & rare in the 18th century. But the tongue-in-cheek flavor of the spaghetti Western, with a scruffy rascal confounded, puzzled & frustrated on the way to his selfish goal, holds true all the way through. The Yaquis are represented--up to a point--with the sympathy typical of Westerns of circa 1970. A subplot, Leon's pursuit of a wild white horse, is an effective, slightly surreal device. A contribution by Bunuel, Jr., the 2nd unit director? Oh, my God, this movie has Silvia Pinal & Juan Luis Bunuel! It's the closest thing to a surrealist Western!
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