Monday, July 13, 2015

1969 - THE UNDEFEATED, the western heads into the sunset...again

Everyone says that The Wild Bunch and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance signaled  the end of the  western has a film genre.  However John Wayne pretty much kept this genre going in a series of mediocre westerns.

The Undefeated is based on an actual historic event.  After the Civil War, a Confederate General led a group of ex soldiers down to South America to reestablish a Confederate State.  In this film Rock Hudson plays a confederate Colonel leading a group of southerners to Mexico who meets up with John Wayne's former Union Colonel. 

As with a lot of these late career films, Wayne at times seems to be sleepwalking through the film.  At other times he seems completely disengaged from what is actually going on.  Rock Hudson was always a light talent sort of like a light beer.  Not a lot of substance as an actor.  However Hudson at least attempts a southern accent and does bring a little conviction to his role.  Also in the cast are a couple of John Ford regulars, Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr..  These guys had been kicking around the film business since the 1940's.

The Undefeated was directed by Andrew McLaglen.  McLaglen had been an assistant director under John Ford, but he certainly didn't have Ford's flair with composition or even handling actors.  It's well known Wayne liked to boss him around on set.  Wayne pretty much directed himself towards the end of his career.

This film is at best a time killer with enough humor, action and old fashioned star power to keep it interesting.

119 minutes.

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