Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Professionals (1966)

Director: Richard Brooks

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale, Ralph Bellamy, Je De Santis, Rafael Bertrand, Jorge Martinez de Hoyos, Marie Gomez, Jose Chavez, Carlos Romero, Vaughn Taylor

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It Captures The Flavor Of A Brawling Lusty Mexico!

Plot: Wealthy Texas oilman Joe Grant hires four professional soldiers to retrieve his wife Maria from a Mexican revolutionary and bandit by the name of Jesus Raza who is demanding $100,000 for her return. He promises the four men $10,000 for what amount to 9 nine days work. Two of the men, Rico Fardan and Bill Dolworth, know Raza from their own days fighting with Pancho Villa during the Mexican revolutionary war. They make their way to Raza's encampment - with a battle or two along the way - and in the end have little trouble getting hold of Maria Grant. What they learn however leads them to question just who the kidnappers are and how they should deal with their employer.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

How about that great tagline?  Love it.  What a terrific cast, too.  There's enough testosterone on screen to make the cameras explode.  They would have, too, if Charles Bronson was in it.  It's a great, mature western that goes for the grit in a similar vein of Sam Peckinpah's, THE WILD BUNCH (1969) but three years earlier.

I dig all of these cats but it's Palance that shows his acting chops.  Watch in the clip above at around nine minutes in the exchange between Palance and Lancaster.  Great stuff.  The only downside for me is Maurice Jarre's irritating score.  He should have avoided this genre.  It's not his fault.  Someone had to hire him.  Listen to his score for RED SUN (1971) and you'll understand where I'm coming from.  This is one of those Westerns I'd love to see on the big screen.  It's the kind of picture I can get lost in.  It's pure adventurous escapism.

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