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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:

Alone... in an untamed land with three men who forced their way into her life! 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

When the posse takes Turk captive, they put him on a horse with a rifle in the boot and with his hands cuffed in front of himself. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The print distributed by UPA for television in the seventies was in black and white. See more »

Connections

Featured in Passion & Poetry: The Early Sam (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
Sung in the church bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
They Should Have Died On The Trail
30 October 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Deadly Companions is one of those star produced vehicles, in this case unofficially by Maureen O'Hara although her brother Charles Fitzsimmons is the nominal producer. According to her memoirs she wanted Brian Keith as her co-star, but Keith wanted Sam Peckinpah to be given his first shot at directing a feature film. O'Hara agreed much to her regret.

The film is an interesting and most adult western. Keith is a Union army veteran whose thrown in with a pair of ex-Confederates, Steve Cochran and Chill Wills. But he's also got a mission to avenge a scar given him by a former Confederate sergeant in a brawl. Still he takes his time as he believes as that revenge is a dish best served cold.

While stopping over at a town where the three are contemplating a bank robbery, some other robbers beat them to it. Keith, Cochran, and Wills shoot it out with the others, but in the process Maureen O'Hara's son is killed by Keith.

The grieving widow is determined to take her son's body back to a place that is now a ghost town and the way is through Apache territory. Keith agrees to accompany her out of obligation, Cochran has his hormones in overdrive and Wills goes along for the ride. These are not three guys I would want to be out on the trail with and they prove it soon enough.

Given all that happens to them and the characters that Peckinpah develops, they all should have died on the trail. There's violence enough in The Deadly Companions, but Peckinpah had not yet developed one of those slow motion violence ballets he would later use to great effect in The Wild Bunch.

Peckinpah didn't like the film, he preferred to think of Ride The High Country as his cinematic debut. O'Hara didn't like the film and doubly didn't like Peckinpah. In this she echoed Charlton Heston who had a similar opinion, though Heston gave Peckinpah his due insofar as talent was concerned. Both thought he had a screw loose. O'Hara also said he didn't have a clue as to how to direct a feature film his experienced crew carried him along. I would say he learned though.

But for this film I have to agree with Sam and Maureen. It really is quite mediocre.


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