Based on the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel. Set in the shadows of Mt. Vesuvius just before its famous eruption, the film begins with Glaucus, a Roman legionnaire, returning to his home from ... See full summary »
In Mexico at the time of the Revolution, Juan, the leader of a bandit family, meets John Mallory, an IRA explosives expert on the run from the British. Seeing John's skill with explosives, Juan decides to persuade him to join the bandits in a raid on the great bank of Mesa Verde. John in the meantime has made contact with the revolutionaries, and intends to use his dynamite in their service. Written by
When Sean sets his machine gun back on its tripod after setting the charges, it is loaded with a section of belt with no more than (possibly) fifty cartridges; he is never seen to reload it, but fires many more shots than that.
Also, when he stops shooting, it is because the gun has run out of ammunition - we can clearly see the bitter end of the belt go through the action, leaving empty links hanging on the right side, and no belt at all on the left side. But in later shots there is a belt with unfired cartridges visible on that side - though it seems to change length between shots. See more »
[John opens his coat to reveal the explosives he carries]
John H. Mallory:
You pull that trigger and shoot me, I fall. And if I fall... they'll have to alter all the maps.
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A quote from Chairman Mao regarding the nature of revolutions was removed from original English prints out of fear that audiences would misinterpret the quote's use as an endorsement of communist revolution. The quote was later put back into uncut prints. See more »
Here is a tragedy -- a great film doomed by a terrible title.
I saw this movie as "Duck, You Sucker" in the theater in 1972 or '73. I still have images and haunting music burned in my brain from it. It has, for one thing, one of the biggest real explosions ever filmed, an absolutely awesome blast using real high explosives that makes today's fiery spectacles pale. I think the whole production company was stunned by it, certainly Sergio Leone was, because he gives it the full treatment: multiple cameras and angles, wide shots, lots of screen time giving us lots of looks. And it's worth it. If you're not a war veteran, you've never seen anything like this.
But this film is much more than its fx. It's a deep, moving story told on the grand scale, with Oscar-class cinematography. It is both a major outdoor adventure and a small, intimate story. It has some of the quirkiest scenes, blackest humor and darkest betrayals, too.
Don't look for it on TV, unless Turner Classic Movies shows it "uncut." It was horribly mutilated in editing for television, and therefore unpopular and rarely shown. Get the original theatrical version, and watch it undisturbed. A party atmosphere would ruin it for you.
It's on my top-20 all time list!
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