Cinema Arlecchino > 11:15


Robert Parrish


Wednesday 28/06/2017


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Mitchum’s best western, even though director Robert Parrish denigrated it for a long time. He had tried to attach Gregory Peck to the project (one shudders); when the film got made by Mitchum’s company the director lost some control over it, and most of the money went that-a-way. Parrish and author Tom Lea had become friendly when he was the editor of The Brave Bulls, Robert Rossen’s 1951 adaptation of Lea’s first novel. They made a handshake deal on The Wonderful Country, and Lea wrote a script which was turned down by every studio in town. Robert Ardrey wrote another one. And yet for this story of a man divided between two countries set in a fictional border town on the Rio Grande, Lea, a painter and illustrator turned novelist, knew his history and geography first-hand: his father, a frontier judge, had been Mayor of El Paso for years and once put Pancho Villa’s wife in jail for smuggling money and weapons into Mexico (like Mitchum’s padron in the film). Mitchum plays Martin Brady, wanted in New Mexico for murder and working as a pay-for-hire assassin in Mexico. Floyd Crosby and Alex Phillips’ splendidly physical photography is so arresting that people can be forgiven for thinking that the ‘wonderful country’ of the title is Mexico – which is not the case, at least in Tom Lea’s mind. The company shot around Durango and San Miguel de Allende. There are many westerns where the pistolero lays his gun aside for good, but none as laconic and as touching as this one.

Philippe Garnier

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Tom Lea. Scen.: Robert Ardrey. F.: Floyd Crosby, Alex Phillips. M.: Michael Luciano. Scgf.: Harry Horner. Mus.: Alex North. Int.: Robert Mitchum (Martin Brady), Julie London (Ellen Colton), Gary Merrill (maggiore Colton), Albert Dekker (capitano Rucker), Jack Oakie (Travis Hight), Charles McGraw (dottor Stovall), ‘Satchel’ Paige (Tobe Sutton), Anthony Caruso (Santiago Santos). Prod.: Chester Erskine per D.R.M. Production 35mm. D.: 98’. Col