The Comancheros (1961)

Written by Per Gunnar Jonsson on September 10, 2014

This movie was directed by both Michael Curtiz and John Wayne himself although the latter was never credited as a director. I so enjoyed myself when watching this movie. It is indeed a classical John Wayne western very far from todays special effects loaded action movies. I guess you must have a bit of a nostalgic attachment to old classics, characters like John Wayne and western movies in order to enjoy this movie.

John Wayne plays his classical slightly grumpy, all honest, tough guy that I really like. I remember one of my greatest disappointments as a kid was when John Wayne played a character that actually turned out to be the bad guy at the end. On top of everything he died at the end! I was so pissed off, almost traumatized.

The story is pretty much what the book blurb says. Nothing fancy. There is a pretty lady thrown in of course although it is not John Wayne who gets her at the end, or even aspires to get her, but the gambler, Paul Regret, who, not surprisingly, turns out to be one of the good guys. The story holds together pretty well and there are of course plenty of opportunities for both fist-fights and gun-fights.

The gun-fight are where it turns a bit silly though. The big fights are mostly a whole bunch of Indians mixed up with some white crooks attacking on horseback riding around shooting wildly until the directors decides that it is time for the next scene and they ride away. A handful of people, sometimes barely that, repeatedly stand against 50 or more bad guys on horseback yet they always come out on top. That is pretty silly to me. It makes for some nice old-fashioned gun-fights but it is still rather silly. More the kind of stuff that would be put in a children's movie today.

Still the movie was really fun for me to watch. The good guys are really good guys and the bad guys are well done. I especially appreciated Lee Marwin's performance as Tully Crow in the bad guy department. Also, as is usual in these oldie movies, the opponents can have a fight (verbal as well as physical) and still communicate fairly intelligently without swearing their heads off.

I would recommend this movie when you are in a nostalgic Western mood looking for some light entertainment.