During the Mexican Rebellion of 1866, an unsavory group of American adventurers are hired by the forces of Emporer Maximilian to escort a countess to Vera Cruz. –IMDb
Robert Burgess Aldrich was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, the son of Lora Lawson and newspaper publisher Edward B. Aldrich. He was a grandson of U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and a cousin to Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller. He was educated at the Moses Brown School, Providence, Rhode Island, and studied economics at the University of Virginia. In 1941, he left university for a minor job at the RKO Radio Pictures, thus beginning his career as a cinéaste.
He quickly rose in film production as an assistant director, he worked with Jean Renoir, Abraham Polonsky, Joseph Losey and Charlie Chaplin, working with the latter as an assistant on Limelight. He became a television director in the 1950s, directing his first feature film, The Big Leaguer, in 1953. In that time, Aldrich was the rare American example of the auteur film maker, depicting his liberal humanist thematic vision in many genres, in films such as Kiss Me Deadly (1955), today a film noir classic, The Big Knife (1955), a cinematic… read more
I'll take all the implied horrors of the past for its romance. Even to the end. I've never seen the hero and anti hero, or the west like this before.This film left the biggest grin on my face and its still there straight from the magic of a western that is both the truth and the myth without one stomping out the other they both find there ground in this adventure, I hope there is many more like it. Thanks to Jack and Jerry for putting us on to this one and ucla for bringing it to the screen because this film should be seen.
Lean, efficient, an accretion of detail and gesture, the landscape gaining potency and timeless energy until it swallows the schemes of the characters completely. Aldrich's keen feel for adventure belies the melancholic core of the film; the relationship between Lancaster and Cooper plays intricately off the relationship between the Mexican landscape and its people. Lancaster, as usual, is just about the finest actor of all time here, and is matched by what may be Cooper's best performance. Remarkable cinema.
Smoothly directed by Aldrich, and with a terrific cast (Cooper, Lancaster, Cesar Romero, Ernest Borgnine, etc) this deceptively bleak film's an effective bridge between traditionally heroic westerns and the more amoral frontier films of the late 50's and 60's. Nobody trusts anybody else in the film really, but it's having a soft spot that keeps a gunslinger alive---belief is its own reward, given the alternative.