Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying ... See full summary »
After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.
In ancient times, the Mongolian warlord Temujin must do battle against the rival tribe that killed his father. The battles pale in comparison with Temujin's home life, as he attempts to woo the heart of the red-haired Tartar prisoner Bortai whom he has captured in a raid. He must also deal with various intrigues within his palace. Eventually, Bortai falls to his manly charms, Temujin defeats his enemies within and without, and is crowned Genghis Khan. Written by
The movie was filmed not long after the atom-bomb tests in the Yucca Flats area of Nevada, where 11 bombs were tested; although the area was in Nevada, the Utah location where the film was shot, Snow Canyon (not far from the town of St. George), was downwind from the test site and much of the radiation fallout from those tests landed in Snow Canyon. Many of the film's cast and crew received high doses of radiation while shooting at that location (and after the production returned to Hollywood from the location, 60 tons of soil were shipped to the studio so that interior shots and retakes could match the exterior location shots; the studio was unaware that this soil was also contaminated with radiation). Many people involved in the production knew about the radiation--there's a picture of John Wayne himself operating a Geiger counter during the filming--but no one took the threat seriously at the time. Thirty years later, however, half the residents of St. George had contracted cancer, and veterans of the production began to realize they were in trouble. Actor Pedro Armendáriz developed cancer of the kidney only four years after the movie was completed, and later shot himself when he learned his condition was terminal. Howard Hughes was said to have felt "guilty as hell" about the whole affair, although apparently it never occurred to anyone to sue him. For various reasons he withdrew "The Conqueror" from circulation, and for years thereafter the only person who saw it was Hughes himself, who screened it night after night during his paranoid last years. See more »
In many of the "day for night" shots, the tents, animals and people all cast very strong shadows. See more »
[His bride-to-be tries to escape]
I stole you. I will keep you. Before the sun sets you will come willingly to my arms.
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John Wayne is the consummate cowboy, only Clint Eastwood comes close to approaching the title. So it's really jarring to the sensibilities to see Wayne standing there in a Mongol costume and a cheesy "fu manchu" moustache spouting barbarian lines in his trademark western drawl. It's like seeing Alec Guinness start acting like Pee-Wee Herman; some serious misalignment of the heavens has happened and maybe that guy on the corner saying "the end of the world is nigh" was right.
That aside, "The Conqueror" plays like an epic Cecil B. DeMille movie, with epic lines, epic scenery, and epic music. Say what you want about modern cinema, recent movies as a whole tend to be better researched, with characters, clothing, and sets that are historically accurate. This movie makes it clear they had no concept what Genghis Khan and his time was like. People, Wayne included, simply say grandiose lines without any inflection, as if they had no idea how to act the part.
Through it all, I kept expecting Susan Hayward to claim she was an alien or had fallen through a time machine. I doubt very many 12th century Mogolian women had red permed hair and wore low cut dresses. "The Conqueror" is either one of the worst movies you ever saw or one of the funniest.
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