Irish adventurer Emmett Keogh finds himself partnered with a hard-drinking priest named Van Horne in revolutionary Central America. Tricked into delivering guns by smuggler/con man Jennings, the three end up joining forces against despot Tomas de la Plata, who treats his subjects ruthlessly and who has a special hatred for priests. Van Horne, who seems to be a priest in costume only, decides to stand up to de la Plata and lead a revolt against him. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
When Keogh is knocked backwards on a balcony, the stuntman intends to fall back out of sight before a second double for Keogh comes into sight and rolls down the adjacent stairs. But for a moment, both "Keoghs" are visible at the same time. See more »
Ralph Nelson proved himself to be a great director shooting some really great productions in black and white ("Requiem for a Heavyweight, Lilies of the Field) but his color efforts are clumsy and "TV movie-like" ("Duel at Diablo," "Embryo" and this, "The Wrath of God." Nelson captures not of the epic sweep and poignance available in this material. One could only dream of what director Sergio Leone might have accomplished, even given the awkwardly structured, exposition-laden storyline. Fortunately, Nelson had a wonderful cast (Mitchum, Buono, Hayworth and, most notably, Ken Hutchinson and John Colicos) with which to work. Only Frank Langella seems to indulge in overacting, and he arrives more than 45 minutes after the beginning of the film (my "45 minute" rule: if a two hour movie is still introducing major characters after 45 minutes, the movie is usually a dog. Fortunately, Nelson handles the humor better than the drama and there is an abundance of it, albeit irreverent.
The theme of "The Wrath of God" is "redemption through sacrifice." Mitchum did this better in "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison". Sam Peckinpah did it better with "The Wild Bunch". Richard Brooks did it better with "The Professionals". Heck, even Anthony Quin did it better in "Guns for San Sebastian," the movie this one most nearly resembles thematically. Still, there is much to enjoy in "The Wrath of God" to dismiss it entirely, even with the flat, disappointing ending. I give "The Wrath of God" a "5".
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