Friday, November 12, 2010

The Conqueror (1956)

Director: Dick Powell

Starring: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendariz, Agnes Moorehead, William Conrad, Lee Van Cleef

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Surpasses anything ever filmed before!

Plot: Mongol chief Temujin battles against Tartar armies and for the love of the Tartar princess Bortai. Temujin becomes the emperor Genghis Khan.

My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? Nooooooooooo!

It's a sub-standard adventure film of the period that should have been at least a standard one. The rumors are true - this is probably the worst incidence of mis-casting in a major motion picture. John Wayne looks the part but acts like...John Wayne. Take the mustache off, put him and everyone else in cowboy clothes and you've got yourself a typical Western. Hell, they even filmed it in Utah, not too far from where Wayne did a bunch of pictures with John Ford.

What makes this film bad isn't necessarily Wayne, although he's fun to laugh at (and even that gets old quick), it's the sluggish pace and the overall blandness that hurts. There's just not much life in it. It's great to see Armendariz, Cleef, Moorehead and Conrad, but there's only so much you can take when there's a lot to snooze on. It was a chore to get through the nearly two hours. Woof.

There's an urban legend that most of the people associated with this film (who were on the set) developed cancer, many dying from it. It was filmed more than a hundred miles downwind of a nuclear test site. Read the trivia for this film on imdb to get the gist of it. However, this could be somewhat blown out of proportion and just not true at all. Michael D. Shaw wrote a piece about the details of the claims and the facts surrounding it. If what he says is true (as long as the facts are there to back up his research, then it is) there's nothing to the claim that THE CONQUEROR killed The Duke. CLICK HERE for the entire post.

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