Mexico, 1743. Pursued by government troops, the bandit Léon Alastray seeks sanctuary in a Franciscan church. When Father Joseph refuses to hand over Alastray to the authorities, he is banished to San Sebastian, a small village situated in Indian territory. Alastray has no choice but to accompany his benefactor, dressed in the habiliments of a monk. The two men are surprised to find the village practically deserted, most its inhabitants having been killed or driven away by hostile Indians. After Father Joseph is shot dead by an Indian, Alastray takes his place and helps the remaining villagers to defend themselves against further Indian attacks… —Filmsdefrance.com
Director Henri Verneuil was born Achod Malakian of Armenian parentage on October 15, 1920, in Rodosto, Turkey, and his family fled to France and settled in Marseilles when he was a young child. He later recounted his childhood experience in the novel Mayrig, which he dedicated to his mother and made into a 1991 film with the same name, which was followed by a sequel, 588 Rue Paradis, the following year.
Verneuil enrolled in 1943 at the Ecole Navale des Arts et Métiers at Aix-en-Provence, where he studied engineering. He then pursued a career in journalism, working as the editor-in-chief of the magazine Horizon in 1944-1946 and as a film critic for a Marseilles radio station. In 1947, he had an idea for a short film set in Marseilles and proposed it to the famous comedian Fernandel. The comic liked it, and thus began a long-lasting partnership which produced such popular film hits as Forbidden Fruit, The Sheep Has Five Legs, and The Cow and I read more