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 »
When the team makes it back to the train after capturing Mrs. Grant Claudia Cardinale and the ambush is waiting for them, Ehrengard Robert Ryan is initially shown from inside the train car sitting facing sideways to the open door of the train car, then from outside he is shown with his back to the door of the train, then back to inside and he is sideways again. See more »
A rich Texas landowner (the elderly Ralph Bellamy) hires three men (Robert Ryan, Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin) to go into Mexico and return his beautiful wife (the ultra-erotic Claudia Cardinale) to him after she was kidnapped by a gang of ruthless thugs led by Jack Palance (made up to look Hispanic). The three accept the challenge, wanting to get paid handsomely of course, but as they advance and get closer to Cardinale a thin line develops and it becomes unclear if everything is really the way it appears to be. The scope of a quickly changing West before a backdrop of the Mexican Revolution only adds to a movie that nearly touches greatness. Writer/director Richard Brooks (Oscar-nominated in both categories) began to knock on the door with a potentially very dark Western here and in 1969 director Sam Peckinpah would knock that door down with the amazing "The Wild Bunch". Brooks, not known for this genre, created a legitimate winner here with this production. Sometimes though the characters lose out because of the beautiful cinematography by Conrad L. Hall (Oscar-nominated) and the fact that Cardinale is just illuminating when on the screen (she is the only actress with any substantial screen-time). Her amazing beauty overshadows all the males throughout. Thought-provoking, action-packed and highly interesting, "The Professionals" is a sometimes forgotten would-be masterpiece from the usually impressive genre. 4 stars out of 5.
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