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After the Civil War, ex-Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and ex-Confederate Colonel James Langdon are leading two disparate groups of people through strife-torn Mexico. John Henry and company are bringing horses to the unpopular Mexican government for $35 a head while Langdon is leading a contingent of displaced southerners, who are looking for a new life in Mexico after losing their property to carpetbaggers. The two men are eventually forced to mend their differences in order to fight off both bandits and revolutionaries, as they try to lead their friends and kin to safety. Written by
During filming John Wayne fell from his horse and fractured three ribs. He couldn't work for almost two weeks. Then he tore a ligament in his shoulder and couldn't use one arm at all. The director, Andrew V. McLaglen, could only film him from an angle for the rest of the picture. His only concern throughout was not to disappoint his fans, despite being in terrible pain. See more »
In the opening scene, Union soldiers are marching past the screen carrying a flag with 48 stars on it. During the Civil War the Union flag only had either 34 or 35 stars. See more »
"The Undefeated" is one of the finest of John Wayne's later westerns, "True Grit" excepted and taking into consideration that "Big Jake" is nothing to slouch at.
"The Undefeated" is the Duke's biggest large-scale epic since "The Alamo" a decade earlier. The battle scenes and the shots of the horse drive are stirring and impressive.
Another thing that separates this film from other post-1965 Wayne westerns (except for "The Cowboys") is the dialog. It's sharp, crisp, witty and often fun.
Here's a good example of that sharp, witty & pointed dialogue: Duke and co-star Rock Hudson had just returned to their camp after being forced to kill a Mexican bandit leader, who, with his gang wanted Rock & Duke's valuables, their horses and their women. When one of the women asks the Duke why he had to kill him, he replied matter of factly, "The conversation sorta dried up." Classic stuff!
And Hugo Montenegro's memorable score is terrific - the best work I personally have heard from him. It helps perpetuate the whole notion that this is indeed an epic western.
I'm amused at some of the wanna-be Rex Reed's here, the "I am a critic so I can't really, actually, truthfully admit that I loved something like this" with their "ho hum, it's passable, I guess"; and their "it's an okay time killer if you've got nothing better to do." How too, too cool. Give me a break, you elitist wanna-be's!
"The Undefeated" is long on length and even longer on entertainment. This is a grand western.
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