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Set in the Argentina of about 1875 in which a customary punishment for killing was a sentence to army service. A young gaucho deserts his army sentence and becomes a bandit leader and also gets his sweetheart pregnant. Seeing the futility of his ways, he takes her to a church to be married prior to surrendering himself back to the army.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Way of a Gaucho is directed by Jacques Tourneur and adapted to screenplay by Philip Dunne from the Herbert Childs novel. It stars Rory Calhoun, Gene Tierney, Richard Boone, Hugh Marlowe, Everett Sloane and Enrique Chaico. Music is by Sol Kaplan and cinematography by Harry Jackson.
1875 Argentina, and after killing a man, gaucho Martin Penalosa (Calhoun) is sentenced to serve army duty. Not one to be conformist, Martin deserts and becomes a leader of bandits.
A most pleasing Oater filmed predominantly out of Argentina and in Technicolor, story essentially revolves around Penalosa's refusal to accept progress, where his beloved Pampas is set to see its landscape changed. With him already having a non conformist attitude anyway, the impending railroad incursion onto the lands tips him still further beyond the law. But he has many other things to contemplate, not least the appearance in his life if the delectable Teresa Chavez (Tierney), and that he is a very wanted man, particularly by Major Salinas (Boone), who has taken umbrage at Penalosa's desertion from his army.
Charge him with a wilful misunderstanding of history.
With some high grade locations photographed superbly, and a rousing musical score that sticks in your head for hours afterwards, tech credits are impressive. Which then only leaves it to the cast and director to seal the deal for this to be a must see for genre enthusiasts. Thankfully all deliver the goods. The best portions of the pic - as per characterisations - comes via the Calhoun/Boone series of confrontations, both characters having a grudging respect for each other. Their moral compasses differ greatly, as does their goals in life, but it's two men who are chipped from the same granite stone and both brought vividly to life by two great character actors.
He's a fool, but very gaucho.
Tourneur's CV shows him to have been at times an outstanding director, and even though this pic is more a case of being a passable mark for him, there's nice framing touches on show to showcase his keen eye for detail. He also plays a good hand with the action, with plenty of exciting scenes involving the Gaucho's and their trusty steeds. He gets a more than competent turn out of a radiant Tierney, whilst Enrique Chaico is most memorable, his director letting him hold court as a very important religious character.
The moral of the story is nothing new, and in truth from a narrative viewpoint it could have been bolder with its telling of the last days of the Pampas - as the Gaucho's knew it - and one crude imposed projection shot dampens ever so slightly an otherwise great action sequence. But these are minor irritants in what is a very enjoyable and beautifully mounted South American themed Oater. 7/10
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