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In 1916, a Mexican rebel named Cordoba steals six cannons from the forces of General Pershing who's been sent to bring order to the Texas-Mexico border. Pershing assigns a soldier named Rod Douglas to retrieve the cannons. Douglas recruits a trio of misfits and they, along with a Mexican officer and an enigmatic woman, travel 200 miles south to Cordoba's mountain fortress. Explosions and gun battles soon erupt. Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
After slightly over 50 years of avid film watching, I've come up with some simple rules for making good movies.
1. Introduce your main characters early, certainly within the first half hour 2. Keep your characters to a minimum. If adapting a novel, combine characteristics and actions of minor characters
into one person 3. Make sure your characters actions have credibility; if necessary, create additional scenes to establish motivation 4. Keep the action clear. Violence does not have to be explicit, but it must not be confusing, either 5. Get the best music money can buy. Frequently it matters more than acting, photography, etc. 6. Usually if a movie isn't very good within the first 10 minutes, it's not going to get any better
`Cannon for Cordoba' is a textbook example of what happens when these simple rules are not followed. Elmer Bernstein's score is rinkydink, one of the worst I've ever heard in a modestly budgeted movie. This is altogether surprising considering Bernstein's credentials (`Man With the Golden Arm,' `The Magnificent Seven,' `The Great Escape,' `Sons of Katie Elder'). Paul Wendkos' direction is lackluster and confusing. Performances vary from very good (Don Gordon, Peter Duel) to terrible (Raf Vallone, Giovanna Ralli, Gabriele Tinti) with the usually reliable George Peppard falling somewhere in the middle. This should not be surprising, considering the mediocre direction and amateurish script, which breaks rules 1, 2 and 3.
Don't waste your time. I give `Cannon for Cordoba' a `3'.
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