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The Comancheros (1961)

A Texas Ranger finds himself with an unlikely partner as he faces gunrunners.

Directed by:

Michael Curtiz

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 102 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

John Wayne stars as a Texas Ranger, Captain Jake Cutter, who arrests a gambler called Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman). Regret is wanted for killing a man in a duel in New Orleans. Cutter takes Regret into custody and sets off to deliver him to a Ranger Station near the state border. Along the way, Regret manages to escape. When Cutter arrives at the Ranger Station, he learns that there are more serious threats to which he must turn his attention. It seems that a ruthless group of outlaws, known as the Comancheros, have been monopolising the trade in guns and alcohol to the Comanches, and inciting them to cause trouble. One of the gun smugglers has been arrested, and Cutter is to take his place in order to infiltrate the Comancheros. Driving a wagonload of confiscated guns, he sets off to find the gang. In a town near the Comancheros hideout, Cutter encounters Regret once more and takes him into custody. But the Comancheros are about to become a real danger, and the two men will have to cooperate against the greater threat.

"The Comancheros " is one of John Wayne's most entertaining Westerns, combining some enthusiastic and occasionally gleefully violent fights with the relaxed good humour that characterised much of Wayne's later work. Not taking itself too seriously, the film concentrates instead on providing good value entertainment, and succeeds admirably. Typically, the plot doesn't bear too close an examination, but the story rolls along briskly enough that there isn't time to notice some of the holes. Unfortunately, there are plenty of Indian clichés throughout, from those who drink to those who scalp – unsurprising considering when the film was made, these nonetheless sit a little uncomfortably now. Overall though, "The Comancheros " is still able to amuse.

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It's Got: John Wayne demonstrating good humour and not taking himself too seriously.

It Needs: To lose the clichéd drunken Indians.

DVD Extras "The Comancheros " is available in the UK as part of a John Wayne double-DVD pack with "The Undefeated ". Extras: Theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Rio Bravo, Rio Conchos., True Grit

Summary

One of John Wayne’s better Westerns, complete with some very jolly fights and plenty of good humour.

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