6.1/10
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The Deadly Companions (1961)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 16 February 1962 (Sweden)
An ex-army officer accidentally kills a woman's son and tries to make up for it by escorting the funeral procession through dangerous Indian territory.

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writers:

Albert Sidney Fleischman (screenplay) (as A.S. Fleischman), Albert Sidney Fleischman (novel) (as A.S. Fleischman)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maureen O'Hara ... Kit Tildon
Brian Keith ... Yellowleg
Steve Cochran ... Billy Keplinger
Chill Wills ... Turk
Strother Martin ... Parson
Will Wright ... Doctor Acton
James O'Hara ... Cal, General Store (as Jim O'Hara)
Peter O'Crotty ... Mayor of Hila City
Billy Vaughan ... Mead Tildon Jr.
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Storyline

The Civil War Yankee sergeant Yellowleg saves the cheater Turkey from hanging after a card game, and together with Turk's gunslinger buddy Billy Keplinger, they ride together to Gila City with the intention of heisting a bank. When other bandits rob a store, Yellowleg shoots at the outlaws and accidentally kills the son of the cabaret dancer Kit Tilden and the grieving woman decides to bury her son in the town of Siringo in Apache country where her husband is buried. Yellowleg Enlists Billy and Turkey to escort Kitty and the coffin through the dangerous land. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Deadly! Hate and revenge were all he lived for! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1962 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Trigger Happy See more »

Filming Locations:

Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Pathé-Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The corresponding novel written by screenwriter Albert Sidney Fleischman actually came after, rather than before, the finished script. At producer Charles B. Fitzsimons's request, Fleischman, himself a previously published novelist of some note, proceeded to novelize his own screenplay in order to gauge potential demand. The resulting work would sell 500,000 copies in the space of four months, more than enough to get the cameras rolling. See more »

Goofs

At 35 minutes Brian Keith is engaged in a conversation around a campfire with Turk and Billy. His hat is tilted over his right eye and then in the final two shots it is tilted over his left eye. See more »

Quotes

Yellowleg: You don't know me well enough to hate me that much. Hating is a subject I know a little something about. You got to be careful it don't bite you back. I know somebody who spent five years looking for a man he hated. Hating and wanting revenge was all that kept him alive. He spent all those years tracking that other man down, and when he caught up with him, it was the worst day of his life. He'd get his revenge all right, but then he'd lose the one thing he had to live for.
See more »


Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(uncredited)
Music traditional
Lyrics by Patrick Gilmore aka Louis Lambert
Sung by Turk in the bar and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Peckinpah's First
21 March 2001 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

This film is best seen as an apprentice work, falling neatly between Peckinpah's TV work (The Rifleman etc), and the string of Western masterpieces that began with Guns in The Afternoon/Ride the High Country. For the only time in the director's work there is no sense of the 'old West' passing, as Peckinpah still works broadly within the established Western tradition - one which he would shortly transform and make his own.

Brian Keith and O'Hara work surprisingly well together, even though in the light of the director's later work the insistance upon a strong and sympathetic female co-lead seems uncharacteristic. Apparently Maureen O'Hara's role in producing the film influenced the emphasis and development of her role.

The film suffers from a poverty of budget (most noticeable in the opening scenes where the bar room appears cramped and two dimensional), as well as over-insistent musical score - one which occasionally detracts from the rhythm of the film. The trademark Peckinpah montage editing has yet to make itself felt and, very unusually for this director, the first few moments of the film seem (to this viewer) slightly rushed and confusing - almost as if Peckinpah is just finding his feet, sketching on a larger canvas than he had previously been used to.

Peckinpah fans will find much to enjoy here, though: the character of 'Turkey' (played by Chill Wills) is as colourful and as rounded as any of the minor low-life characters that appear in the later films. He even hides a 'Major Dundee' military cap under his coat, - in retrospect one which can be seen as an appropriate cinematic "embryo". Even with a limited budget, the film is always in safe hands, the story intriguing and ironic. Riding into town, the desperate trio see a group of children playing and mildly tormenting each other - another Peckinpah trademark. When the desperadoes are confronted by a frontier prayer meeting, the anticipation of the grander meeting at the beginning of 'The Wild Bunch' is obvious. The preacher is in fact the first in a long line of religious failures and bigots featuring in Peckinpah's films.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to those used to Peckinpah's work is the lack of violence (even the end shoot out, although effective, is somewhat muted). Peckinpah, it seems, had yet to discover the stylistic hallmark which later was to mark his career in controversy.


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