The Comancheros – 1961 – English
Film directed in 1961 by Michael Curtiz and John Wayne, and starring John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff, Lee Marvin, Michael Ansara, Patrick Wayne, Bruce Cabot, Joan O’Brien, Jack Elam, Edgar Buchanan, Henry Daniell, Richard Devon, Bob Steele…
Synopsis: Jake Cutter (John Wayne), a Texas Ranger, must carry out a difficult and risky mission: take down a dangerous band of outlaws who, when a war is about to break out, is dedicated to providing weapons and liquor to the warlike Comanche Indians.
Review: action and memorable characters. The Duke plays a Texas Ranger in the days of their infancy. Stuart Whitman is Paul Regret, a maverick who leaves Louisiana after killing a man in a duel, but the Duke means to uphold the law and take Regret back to be hanged.
Along the way, they become allies against a band of very bad men. I don’t think it is a spoiler to say Lee Marvin’s part is cut way too short. Still, this movie has all you could want in a Western. What really makes this movie one of the Duke’s classic movies is the abundance of memorable characters.
The audience knows what John Wayne, Whitman, Persoff, and Ansara will do in situations, but the other characters all play a large part in what happens. You become interested in what Gordo, Esteban, McBain, and others do. Indeed, the character of Esteban is the most intriguing character of the film, and he becomes the most pivotal character. He’s certainly the one most people would pick as the most likable and most believable. But he remains an enigma throughout the film. McBain is given a likable rogue treatment. And Marvin, he eats up his role as a guy you really don’t want to be around. A thrill ride.