Saturday, September 21, 2013

Way of a Gaucho (1952)

Director: Jacques Tourneur

Writers: Herbert Childs, Philip Dunne

Composer: Sol Kaplan

Starring: Rory Calhoun, Gene Tierney, Richard Boone, Hugh Marlowe, Evertt Sloane, Enrique Chaico, Jorge Villoldo, Ronald Dumas, Hugo Mancini, Nestor Yoan

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Surging with the fury and romance of the Argentine Pampas!

Plot: Set in the Argentina of about 1875 in which a customary punishment for killing was a sentence to army service. A young gaucho deserts his army sentence and becomes a bandit leader and also gets his sweetheart pregnant. Seeing the futility of his ways, he takes her to a church to be married prior to surrendering himself back to the army.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Drinking game: Take a drink every time anyone mentions the words 'Gaucho' or 'Pampas'.  Sloshed in 20 minutes.

Richard Boone brought me to this and, aside the beautiful scenery, he's the best part about it.  His performance as Major Salinas is smooth, calm and intelligent.  For example, after bringing in Martin (Calhoun) who had deserted, an offense punishable by death without question:

Don Miguel Aleondo: It can't be your duty to torture him.
Salinas: It's my duty to shoot him.
Don Miguel Aleondo: What do you hope to gain by this?
Salinas: A disciplined solder, one who would obey my orders as he would the word of God.

Watch him in that scene and you'll know what I mean about smooth. Calhoun doesn't seem to bring much to the picture.  I didn't really care about his character at all which is a shame since, you know, he's the main character.  I've known his name for years but I can't recall anything else I might have seen him in. 

Except for Boone and the scenery there's not much reason to see this.  It's OK.  And by the way, It's nice to see that Major Salinas wasn't portrayed as a bad man as you usually would find in Hollywood pictures when you've got someone going after the hero.  He's just a guy who is trying to do his job. He also gave Martin a lot of chances to do the right thing. When Martin decided he was going to fight for the wrong side, Major Salinas had no choice but to go after him.  I liked that.

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