Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
A rich Texan, J.W. Grant, selects three men and invites them to his private train to offer them a contract: Rescue his wife who has been kidnapped by a Mexican revolutionary. The leader of the men, Rico, decides they would be a better team if Grant would hire one more man, an explosives expert. Grant quickly agrees and soon the four are off to complete the contract. However, while on the trail, they discover some interesting facts, like has Mrs. Grant 'really' been kidnapped?Written by
In his book, "Lee Marvin: Point Blank", author Dwayne Epstein describes Richard Brooks as an old fashioned, screaming director who drove his cast and crew to exhaustion, causing them to blow off steam at night when they got back to their Las Vegas hotel. Lee Marvin and Woody Strode created legendary debauches in the casinos, but still managed to perform the next day. No matter what they'd been up to the night before, Marvin was a total professional by the time they arrived on the set the next day. According to Strode, "I saw it when we'd drive to the set. He'd study the dialogue, and by the time we got to the set, he got it all in his head. He'd say, 'Now watch me make Burt blow all his lines'. Burt's been up all night studying and going through the regular routine an actor would go through. Lee didn't do that. Guy was gifted." See more »
Joe Grant states, while reading the biographies of the Professionals, that Fardan left Pancho Villa's forces in June 1915 and spent a year prospecting fruitlessly. Later, however, at the camp at the old church, after Dolworth states that he joined the Mexican revolution in 1911, Maria Grant states that no man was more loyal to the revolution than Fardan and that he and Dolworth stayed and fought for six years, implying that Fardan did not leave Villa until 1917. As Raza's lover and confidante, Maria should have known that Fardan (and Dolworth) were long gone from the revolution by 1917. See more »
Relax. The stuff you're handling is safe. These beaded sticks are the tricky ones. It's the heat. Makes 'em sweat. Nitro. When they're dry and cool, they're safe and obedient. We'll leave these sweaty ones behind. Ventilate 'em. Cool 'em. Then maybe they'll behave.
Right now, I don't know if it's me or the dynamite that doin' all that sweatin'.
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Though not as perceptively grim in tone and style as Sam Peckinpah's epitaph The Wild Bunch, Richard Brook's The Professionals almost certainly inspired the former and was also one of the last great westerns Hollywood ever produced. Made at a time when the 'classical' era was waning, Brooks went entirely nostalgic, creating a story about John Wayne-like characters completely loyal to their cause but also flawed in many ways.
The cast is superb. The exotic beauty of Claudia Cardinale is great fodder for the main cast of Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode. Although Ryan and Strode have considerably less screen time, the relationship between Lancaster and Marvin is terrifically fleshed out along with Brooks' steady hand guiding the entire process of four men on the hunt to rescue a millionaire's kidnapped wife only to realize all is not as it seems.
Despite the fact that this film will forever be compared to the ones it inspired like The Wild Bunch or The Dirty Dozen, it should be admired on its own terms. It is a very entertaining and satisfying film with solid writing, acting, directing and editing along with some stunning cinematography of the American southwest. Compared to today's films, who could ask for anything more?
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