Sunday, August 17, 2014

Behold a Pale Horse (1964)

Director: Fred Zinnemann

Writers: Emeric Pressburger, J.P. Miller

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Starring: Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Raymond Pellegrin, Paolo Stoppa, Mildred Dunnock, Daniela Rocca, Christian Marquand, Michael Lonsdale

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Danger of His Mission! The Daring of His Adventure!

Plot: Manuel Artiguez, a famous bandit during the Spanish civil war, has lived in French exile for 20 years. When his mother is dying he considers visiting her secretly in his Spanish home town. But his biggest enemy, the Spanish police officer Vinolas, prepared a trap at the hospital as a chance to finally catch Artiguez.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Good flick although it didn't seem like it for the first half hour.  Once Artiguez (Peck) gets into brutal mode it's all in until the end of the picture.  The black & white photography works very well. Maurice Jarre's often used theme sounds just like that old religious tune, "Shall We Gather at the River", so I'm not sure if that was intentional or coincidental.  Either way, it didn't work for me.  The performances are good all the way around.  In the final minutes of the film look for future Drax, Michael Lonsdale, as a reporter. I love that guy.

It's nice to see Peck as an aggressive and dangerous man.  The way he treats the priest is pretty harsh but he's got a reason for behaving that way.  After all, he's survived without being caught for decades and all you have to do is look where and how he lives to see that it's not much of an existence.  That little kid deserved a beating and I'm surprised he didn't get one from Artiguez.  I felt like jumping through the screen and doing it myself.  I could have taken him.  He's probably in his early 60s by now.  The ending is satisfying and touching which was enough for me to want to see it again someday.  I picked this one up at Big Lots years ago for $2.  The Comombia DVD serves up a fine widescreen print with the only extras being trailers for this film, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1961), LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953). I'm glad they have the decency of including trailers for movies you're probably going to like if you're getting the DVD.  I hate it when companies try to get you to like something completely off the mark.

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