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Viva Max (1969)

G | | Comedy | December 1969 (USA)
When his girlfriend tells him that his men wouldn't follow him to a house of ill repute, Max, a general in the Mexican army decides to perform some great act of heroism. He takes his men ... See full summary »



(novel) (as James Lehrer), (screenplay)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Paula Whitland
General Lacomber
Chief of Police Sylvester
Dr. Sam Gillison
Edna Miller
Desmond Miller
Christopher Ross ...


When his girlfriend tells him that his men wouldn't follow him to a house of ill repute, Max, a general in the Mexican army decides to perform some great act of heroism. He takes his men over the border into Texas and re-captures the Alamo. This upsets the Texans greatly. The Texas National Guard is sent to retake the mission. Normally this would be easy as Max's men have left all of their ammunition back in Mexico, but the State department insists that no one be killed and so the National Guard also goes in with unloaded weapons. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Rated G for Great Entertainment See more »




G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

December 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Viva Max!  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


When first announced in 1967, Arthur Hiller was scheduled to direct, and Alberto Sordi and Telly Savalas were being sought to star. See more »


Laredo is 146 miles from San Antonio. While Max and Gomez get to San Antonio by car, it's never explained how the rest of the men get there. See more »


General Maximilian Rodrigues De Santos: A friend of mine, a woman, she told me the men do not respect me. She said they would not follow me even into a whorehouse!
Sergeant Valdez: She is wrong, senor. The men would follow you into a whorehouse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"All persons mentioned in this story are completely fictitious except for: Davy Crockett Col. William B. Travis James Bowie John Wayne and Richard Widmark" is the first credit to appear. See more »


References The Alamo (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Amusing and distracting at best, certainly no more than that
25 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In an attempt to win the respect of his girlfriend and father, General Maximilian Rodrigues de Santos takes a group of 100 Mexican soldiers and heads north. Despite the fact that his men are poorly organised and view the General as being unfit to lead a dog, they manage to bluff their way past the bemused border guard. They go through Texas and make for San Antonio, home of the Alamo. They easily manage to capture the tourist attraction and are easily holed up inside, claiming it back on behalf of Mexico. Meanwhile, outside, the Texan authorities scratch their heads and wonder what they are supposed to make of all this.

The idea sounds simple and indeed it is – it all depends what you do with it whether or not it is as simple as all that or better. What could you do with it? Perhaps a wacky zany Carry On style jape? Or perhaps an absurd satire with relevant digs at the political systems? Or perhaps a cross between the two? Well, I'm not sure what the makers of this film tried to do with it but to my mind they didn't actually manage to make anything come off that well. At times it has some nice digs and ironies within it but these are very liberally scattered throughout the film rather than being the core of it. For the majority of the film it is surprisingly light on laughs or good comedy; it is roundly amusing but I did want more belly laughs. Funnily enough the best material happens outside the Alamo with some funny portrayals of the Texan response.

This leaves Ustinov just trying to mug his way to laughs and, to his credit he makes a good fist of it considering. However, like I said, the better material goes to people like Morgan, Winter, Wynn and a few others who are amusing and benefit from not having the title role on their shoulders to carry. The direction makes reasonable use of the Alamo but somehow still manages to make some parts of it look like it is on a set somewhere.

Overall this is a distraction at best; it is pretty amusing and has some nice touches but mainly it doesn't do anything consistent of note. Ustinov tries hard to carry the film but the best material is saved for the support cast playing the American response, meaning that I found myself in the funny situation of not wanting the lead actor/title character to be on the screen. Amusing and distracting at best, certainly no more than that.

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