In Shenandoah, Virginia, widower farmer Charlie Anderson lives a peaceful life with his six sons - Jacob, James, Nathan, John, Henry and Boy, his daughter Jennie, and his daughter-in-law ... See full summary »
Jim Douglas has been relentlessly pursuing the four outlaws who murdered his wife, but finds them in jail about to be hanged. While he waits to witness their execution, they escape; and the... See full summary »
The story of the famed siege of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution, in which a small band of soldiers held off an overwhelming army under the Mexican general Santa Anna long enough to allow the Texan army to gather its strength. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
When John Wayne filmed his Alamo story he had built a complete Alamo set in the town of Brackettsville, Texas which is still there and quite the tourist attraction. As long as that stands, we will have a set for future Alamo interpretations for the screen. One such with Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton was done in this century.
But I would say The Alamo: Thirteen Days To Glory is the best Alamo story filmed I've seen. John Wayne's film is a good one if over-hyped, but it's a John Wayne film with the story redone to fill parameters of screen character of John Wayne. Brian Keith plays Davy Crockett here and gives a fine interpretation of the rollicking frontier character he was.
It's a lot closer to Professor Lon Tinkle's book on The Alamo than the Wayne film was and having read the book years ago I can attest to that. Tinkle's book is listed as the source in both films, but Tinkle who was alive back then when the Wayne film was done and he was not pleased with the result.
Alec Baldwin was around the right age for young William Barrett Travis, the idealistic freedom fighter who incidentally was a slave owner. Back in the day no one saw the ironic contradiction in that. One thing that was not explored and hasn't been was Travis's hyperactive sex drive. He was the Casanova of the Southwest, he even kept a salacious diary of his libidinal conquests.
But the man who always gets the whitewash is Jim Bowie, played here by James Arness. He was a hero at the Alamo to be sure, but his career before the Alamo was that of a scoundrel. He was a smuggler, a slave trader, an all around con man selling land he had questionable title to. But his heroic death certainly redeemed him. No hint of that is in Arness's portrayal nor any others I've seen of Bowie on the screen. And of course he did design the Bowie knife, done to his specifications. That man needed such a weapon.
However the main asset that The Alamo: Thirteen Days To Glory has is a full blown portrayal of Antonio De Lopez De Santa Anna, the president of Mexico who comes up personally to put down the rebellion stirred up by the North Americans who've come to settle in Texas at Mexican invitation. Unfortunately those Americans came with some pre-conceived notions about liberty that just hadn't made it that far south, at least liberty for white people. Raul Julia plays Santa Anna who remains an even more controversial figure in Mexican history. He was also quite the scoundrel, but he was the best Mexico produced until a genuine reformer named Benito Juarez came along.
This film was the farewell performance of Lorne Greene who appears briefly as General Sam Houston. Greene's not quite my conception of Houston, he really was way too old for the part, Houston was in his early forties in 1836, he was not yet the patriarch of Texas. But within the limits imposed on him, Greene does a fine job.
For a romantic telling of The Alamo tale by all means see John Wayne's version, but for historical content I recommend this film highly.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?