Arlecchino Cinema > 18:30


Gordon Douglas


Sunday 28/06/2015


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Rio Conchos, adapted from a novel by Clair Huffaker, co-author of the screenplay, is Douglas’ most complex and ambitious Western. A plot layered with surprises, ironies and paradoxes; the complexity and variety of the characters; a trail leading them through a thousand obstacles from Texas to New Mexico and on to the Mexican border (with exteriors wonderfully photographed in CinemaScope by Joseph MacDonald), all contribute to give life to this clever tale. A disparate group of four men – Lassiter, an ex-Confederate officer-come-adventurer (strongly interpreted by Richard Boone), a cavalry captain, a black sergeant and a womanising, unscrupulous Mexican bandit – sets out in search of a load of 2,000 rifles stolen from a military convoy by Apache. With a wagonload of gunpowder as bait, the four protagonists hope to find the mysterious ‘Pardee’, who, according to Lassiter, possesses or knows where to find the rifles. As we will later discover, Pardee is a Confederate colonel who, two years after the end of the civil war, still wants to fight the ‘enemy’ and dreams of leading an army of Apache against the Yankees. In addition to the antagonism between the four main characters, all of whom are rightfully wary of each other, there is a series of violent clashes with Mexican bandits and especially the warmongering “Red Skins” that allows Douglas to further indulge his taste for spectacular violence (particularly the scene in which the Indians drag three prisoners with horses). The violence culminates in the apocalyptic finale, in which the explosion of the gunpowder barrels sets fire to the Indian camp and the extravagant Southern mansion that Pardee is building in the middle of the desert.

Jean-Pierre Coursodon, Douglas redux: sur quelques films de Gordon Douglas, “Positif”, n. 587, January 2010

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo Guns of Rio Conchos di Clair Huffaker. Scen.: Joseph Landon, Clair Huffaker. F.: Joseph MacDonald. M.: Joseph Silver. Scgf.: Jack Martin Smith, William Creber. Mus.: Jerry Goldsmith. Int.: Richard Boone (Lassiter), Stuart Whitman (capitano Haven), Tony Franciosa (Rodriguez), Wende Wagner (Sally), Warner Anderson (colonnello Wagner), Jim Brown (sergente Ben Franklyn), Edmond O’Brien (colonnello Pardee), Rodolfo Acosta (Bloodshirt), Vito Scotti (bandito messicano), Kevin Hagen (Blondebeard). Prod.: David Weisbart per Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. · DCP. Col.