The Comancheros and The Journey To The Center Of The Earth
The Comancheros - three stars
This movie came in one of those John Wayne collections; therefore, my assumption was that it was going to be awful. However, a John Wayne fan I know reviewed the collection and said all of them were pretty good. Thus, I decided to actually read the description on the back. Basically, the movie was about John Wayne, a Texas Ranger, tracking down an arms dealer selling guns to a gang of Native Americans and Caucasians. Furthermore, I realized it was from the director of Casablanca, Michael Curtiz.
The beginning of the film is excellent. A few men in the woods with two of them about to duel. One man explains that he found his woman was more interested in the man he is about to duel. The allegedly more attractive man basically says that is not his fault, to which the previous man responds, "I intend to simplify her choice." That man does simplify the woman's choice, by getting shot by the other man, Monsieur Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman).
John Wayne then tracks down Regret while he is on the lam. Unfortunately, Regret is a little to crafty and escapes a few times, that is only after a few attempts are foiled by the Duke. At one point Regret is able to get is little girly pee shooter revolver back. He aims it at Wayne, to which Wayne replies by punching that Pilgrim square in the nose. Wayne then picks up the gun and pulls the trigger a few times, but the gun only clicks. "No bullets."
Unfortunately, a gang called the Comancheros complicates Wayne's hunt for Regret. However, he does get Regret back when he discovers him at poker game while he is undercover. Wayne then takes Regret on his fight against the Comancheros, and Regret actually assists him. In turn, a local judge basically pardons him. What actually happens is all the other Texas Rangers sign a statement saying that Regret has always been a Texas Ranger. This is one of those two moments I am not to keen about. Regret did murder an innocent man. Assisting in the fight against theComanchheros does not change that.
The other part I am not satisfied with is the blatant prejudice towards Native Americans. Firstly, I am not some hippie who claims that the Anglo-Saxons stole all the Native Americans' land. That is ridiculous. Some of the land Anglo-Saxons did steal, and the true crimes Anglo-Saxons committed against Native Americans are atrocious. However, they are extremely exaggerated because some of the are not really crimes. I will explain this all in a later post. However, in this movie the Native Americans are obsessed with alcohol. The Caucasian half of the Comancheros actually do not pay their Native American half with money. Instead, they pay them with whiskey, which the Native Americans promptly pour over their face. I understand that genetically Native Americans and alcohol are not the best of friends; however, this just depicts all Native Americans as utter fools who lust drunkenness.
Aside from these two problems The Comancheros is a great story about securing property and natural rights on the open range, the nearest thing to wilderness. It indicates the natural rights are truly natural, for they exist in an area with almost no government. It is also always entertaining to see the Duke in action slugging people, shooting people, and beating them over the head with beer bottles and chairs. However, I would have liked to see the film exploreRegret's east-coast city personality versus Wayne's western-frontier personality, but that might be better for a comedy.
The Journey To The Center Of The Earth - two and a half stars
I am not referring to that recent 3-D remake from the outstanding actor Brendan Fraiser. I am talking about the original with Pat Boone, James Mason, and Alrene Dahl. Pat Boone is not much better than Brendan Fraser; however, James Mason makes up for it with his rudeness and one liners. My favorite is when Sir Oliver S.Lindenbrook (Mason) begins his expedition and Carla Goteberg (Dahl) has forced herself into it. Goteberg is being belayed down the first descent and Alexander McKuen (Boone) remarks that maybe Gotebergwill want to turn back because of the height of the first descent.Lindenbrooks responds by saying, "You make my mouth water."
The Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a descent adventure film, but it does have a lull towards the latter half of the middle, while they are in the cave with the enormous mushrooms. It was also nice to see where the inspiration for the rolling boulder in Indiana Jones came from. Philosophically it is solid, except for Lindenbrook's sexist remarks. There is a great few lines from Boone about how man is curious and even though he will freeze to death exploring the north pole he will keep returning to know the truth. Lindenbrook then makes a speech at the end explaining that it is this curiosity, this desire to know truth, this desire to understand and progress that is the spirit of man. Even the skeptical and fearful Islander that comes with them is convinced. In the beginning he is the one that asks why they should die in the caves exploring the center of the earth, which prompts Boone's explanation. After Lindenbrook speaks at the end the Islander, without his translator, says "If you ever go back down there, I want to go again."