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
As Grant's train pulls out of the station after Dolworth is picked up, one of his guards climbs aboard the platform car as it begins to move. The movie's third unit director decided it would be a good visual for the other three guards to leap on to the platform from the horse ramp. However, the first man hesitated, forcing the next two to hurriedly jump almost on top of each other. The second man stumbled but the third man fell flat on his face. As Director Brooks did not want to back up the train to re-shoot the scene, it was left in the movie. See more »
I just recently revisited this great Western classic and rediscovered why I think this is the best of its genre. The setting, the plot/subplots, the casting, the writing are in a class unto themselves. First of all, what else can you say about the match-up of Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster? Two phenomenal actors with a great screenplay and story line to propel their already lofty skills to an even higher level. The supporting cast of Jack Palance, Claudia C., Woody Strode, Robert Ryan, etc. contributes to the overall storyline by portraying their individual roles, each entirely different, with skill, depth and emotion.
What starts out as a fairly self-explanatory rescue and retrieve mission ends up getting increasingly complicated. As Burt Lancaster's character noted, "there's something a little dicey about this arrangement"! As the melodrama ensues, the inevitable capture and retrieval occurs and the tension mounts as the chase begins.
When the retrieval part of the mission nears its ending, the pace slows down to where the principal combatants, Jack Palance and Burt Lancaster, render their philosophical reasons for their respective actions. Palance, the Mexican revolutionary, tells of the revolution being like the goddess at the inception and like a whore as time wears on, where lust slowly overshadows love and passion surmounts compassion. But this time, he says, "I'm on this mission for love". Burt's reply of "I'm in it for the money, what else?", has the typical mercenary ring to it, but you get the feeling it may not portray his true feelings. This depiction of revolution(s), at a time (late 60's) when revolutionary zeal was the current political motif, sheds a remarkably lucid view: what does it all mean in the end?
But true to the Code of the Professional, Burt, Lee M. et al, must fulfill their obligations to the letter of the contract. And when you see the film in its entirety, you will see how they achieve that obligation and may be surprised at the final fulfillment!
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