The Undefeated (1969)

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    There are 150 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • The Undefeated (1969)


      20th. CENTURY FOX

      Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


      Plot Summary
      After the Civil War, ex-Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and ex-Confederate Colonel James Langdon are leading two disparate groups of people through strife-torn Mexico. John Henry and company are bringing horses to the unpopular Mexican government for $35 a head while Langdon is leading a contingent of displaced southerners, who are looking for a new life in Mexico after losing their property to carpetbaggers. The two men are eventually forced to mend their differences in order to fight off both bandits and revolutionaries, as they try to lead their friends and kin to safety.

      Full Cast
      John Wayne .... Col. John Henry Thomas
      Rock Hudson .... Col. James Langdon
      Antonio Aguilar .... Juarista Gen. Rojas
      Roman Gabriel .... Blue Boy (John Henry's Cherokee Indian adopted son)
      Marian McCargo .... Ann Langdon
      Lee Meriwether .... Margaret Langdon
      Merlin Olsen .... Cpl. Little George, CSA
      Melissa Newman .... Charlotte Langdon
      Bruce Cabot .... Sgt. Jeff Newby CSA
      Jan-Michael Vincent .... Lt. Bubba Wilkes CSA (as Michael Vincent)
      Ben Johnson .... Short Grub
      Edward Faulkner .... Capt. Anderson, CSA (Col. Langdon's aide)
      Harry Carey Jr. .... Soloman Webster (Thomas rider)
      Paul Fix .... Gen. Joe Masters
      Royal Dano .... Maj. Sanders, CSA (one-armed major)
      Richard Mulligan .... Dan Morse
      Carlos Rivas .... Diaz
      John Agar .... Christian
      Guy Raymond .... D.J. Giles (government purchasing agent)
      Don Collier .... Goodyear (Thomas rider)
      Big John Hamilton .... July Mudlow (cowardly Langdon party member)
      Dub Taylor .... McCartney (Thomas outfit cook)
      Henry Beckman .... Thad Benedict (carpetbagger who tries to buy Langdon plantation)
      Víctor Junco .... Maj. Tapia
      Robert Donner .... Judd Mailer
      Pedro Armendáriz Jr. .... Escalante
      James Dobson .... Cpl. Jamison, CSA
      Rudy Diaz .... Sanchez
      Richard Angarola .... Mr. Petain (Maximilian's representative)
      James McEachin .... Jimmy Collins (black carpetbagger with Benedict)
      Gregg Palmer .... Ezra Parker (government purchasing agent)
      Juan García .... Col. Gomez
      Kiel Martin .... Union corporal who brings message that the war is over
      Bob Gravage .... Bobby Jo Hicks (Thomas rider)
      Hal Needham .... Yankee corporal at river crossing (uncredited)
      Chuck Roberson .... Yankee sergeant at river (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      James Lee Barrett
      Stanley Hough story (as Stanley L. Hough)
      Lewis B. Patten novel (uncredited)

      William H. Clothier

      Hal Needham .... stunt coordinator
      Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
      Stan Barrett .... stunts (uncredited)
      Dick Bullock .... stunts (uncredited)
      Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
      William H. Burton .... stunts (uncredited)
      Tap Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
      Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
      Bill Couch .... stunts (uncredited)
      Chuck Couch .... stunts (uncredited)
      Jerry Gatlin .... stunts (uncredited)
      Alan Gibbs .... stunts (uncredited)
      Mickey Gilbert .... stunts (uncredited)
      Kent Hays .... stunts (uncredited)
      John Hudkins .... stunts (uncredited)
      Gary McLarty .... stunts (uncredited)
      Hal Needham .... stunts (uncredited)
      Paul Nuckles .... stunts (uncredited)
      Bob Orrison .... stunts (uncredited)
      Gil Perkins .... stunts (uncredited)
      Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
      J.N. Roberts .... stunts (uncredited)
      George Robotham .... stunts (uncredited)
      Wally Rose .... stunts (uncredited)
      Danny Sands .... stunts (uncredited)
      Fred M. Waugh .... stunts (uncredited)
      Walter Wyatt .... stunts (uncredited)
      Dick Ziker .... stunts (uncredited)

      During filming John Wayne fell from his horse and fractured three ribs. He couldn't work for almost two weeks. Then he tore a ligament in his shoulder and couldn't use one arm at all. The director, Andrew V. McLaglen, could only film him from an angle for the rest of the picture. His only concern throughout was not to disappoint his fans, despite being in terrible pain.

      According to director Andrew V. McLaglen, his first choice for the role of Colonel James Langdon was James Arness, who was willing to do it but backed out just before shooting began. Rock Hudson was brought in as his replacement.

      Rock Hudson admitted in a 1980 interview that he thought the movie was "crap", and attributed its box office success only to the fact that it immediately followed True Grit (1969). However, he had fond memories of the filming because he became a close friend of John Wayne and Roman Gabriel.

      Before filming began, John Wayne had to lose most of the weight he had put on in order to play Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969).

      Despite his numerous anti-gay remarks in interviews over the years, John Wayne co-starred with Rock Hudson in The Undefeated (1969), even though he knew of the actor's homosexuality. In this Civil War epic, the champion of right-wing political conservatism worked well with and even became good friends with Hudson, Hollywood's gayest (although it wasn't publicly known at the time) leading man.

      Film debut of Merlin Olsen.

      * Crew or equipment visible: During the opening titles, as refugees file past the camera, its shadow is visible during the whole shot.

      * Anachronisms: At the end of the film, as everyone rides slowly toward the camera, a red pickup truck enters from the right and casually drives alongside the river in the background.

      * Anachronisms: The cavalry uniforms are Indian Wars vintage, not Civil War uniforms.

      * Anachronisms: After the Civil War (1861-65) when the cowboys are around the campfire, Webster talks of sending a letter and that it could go Pony Express. The Pony Express dissolved in October of 1861. It also did not go into South Texas where the cowboys apparently where traveling.

      * Anachronisms: In the opening scene, Union soldiers are marching past the screen carrying a flag with 48 stars on it. During the Civil War the Union flag only had either 34 or 35 stars.

      * Anachronisms: The movie is set in 1865. The Confederates are using 1873 Springfield Trapdoor rifles, The Mexican bandit leader is using a 1873 Trapdoor Carbine, John Wayne is using his 1873 Colt Peacemaker and an 1892 Winchester 30-30 rifle.

      * Factual errors: Looking closely, you can see the rifle of the tenth member of the firing squad. Also you can plainly see his shadow on the ground at a 10 o' clock position. There are several other shots that confirm the number.

      * Anachronisms: At the end of the last close up shot of John Wayne in the movie, a green pickup truck can be seen entering the frame in the background on the opposite side of the river.

      * Factual errors: When Mrs. Langdon wants to break up the brawl that broke out in the Fourth of July celebration, she grabs a rifle and fires three shots into the air in quick succession. The rifle she used was a single-shot carbine, which requires that the shooter manually eject the shell and reload between each shot. It would have been impossible to fire three shots as quickly as she did without ejecting and reloading.

      * Revealing mistakes: When Colonel Langdon leaves to go ask John Henry to give up his horses to save the Colonels men, he leaves and the sun is still up. He is shown riding at a full gallop at sunset and arrives at John Henry's camp sometime around daybreak. John Henry and his men take the herd back at a walk and still arrive just before noon, covering the same amount of ground at a walk in less than 6 hours, that the Colonel travelled all night to cover.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
      (Horse stampede)
      Durango, Mexico
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 9 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • The Undefeated (1969)

      The Undefeated is a 1969 American Western film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and John Wayne (uncredited)
      and starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson.
      The film portrays events surrounding the French Intervention in Mexico
      and is also loosely based on General J. O. Shelby's escape to Mexico
      after the Civil War and his attempt to join with Maximilian's forces.

      Although Duke didn't agree with Rock Hudson's personal life,
      he got on well with him, professionally and socially.
      I thought the two gave all, to make a good film although the critics,
      were not so impressed.
      They thought it, a mediocre film, although they were taking Duke,
      more seriously as an actor, and it didn't get great reviews!

      User Review
      Not perfect, but exceptionally watchable
      15 June 2000 | by Pro Jury

      John Wayne and Rock Hudson play off each other with confidence and style in this fine movie western.

      THE UNDEFEATED endlessly frames its two super-popular movie stars from low camera angles and often adds perfect blue skies above and picturesque western vistas in deep focus behind. Both in full command of the camera, regal, standing straight and tall -- here John Wayne and Rock Hudson live forever larger than life. THE UNDEFEATED is pure hero worship eye candy!

      Although the story is rather flawed, everything else is A+. The music is among the best of bold western movie scores. The direction as noted above is respectful to the picture's two great American icons. It is not perfect, but THE UNDEFEATED is an exceptionally fun movie to watch.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • I always thought this movie was so so. It was the type of movie that started well but then either never picked up enough momentum or ran out of ideas before the end. As Pilar describes in her book it was like a family movie with all the familar faces from previous movies.

      I got the feeling that it was produced by Batjac on the cheap so it was guaranteed to make money but you got the feeling that it was more like a tv movie.
    • Along with what you said Etan, the acting was not the best with all the "it" personalities from the day. None of them ever turned out to be outstanding actors, like Jan-Micheal Vincent, Roman Gabriel, and Merlin Olsen. Plus the ending was just about the worst for a Duke film. Just a very weak film. I watch it when it comes on but I don't seek it out.
      Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
      -John Wayne
    • Memorable Quotes

      Col. John Henry Thomas: Americans in Mexico are delivering horses to a very unpopular government... Why should we expect trouble?

      Shortgrub: McCartney.
      McCartney: Mr. McCartney. Shortgrub, I said a lot of mean things to the boys, didn't I?
      Shortgrub: Yeah, you did.
      McCartney: Tell them from me, I meant every damn word.

      Col. James Langdon: When I find the time, I'm going to write the social history of bourbon.

      Ann Langdon: You went out there to talk! Why did you kill that man?
      John Henry Thomas: Conversation just kinda dried up.

      Ezra Parker: Hold on! Wait a minute! I didn't do *anything*!
      John Henry Thomas: I know, but you should have!

      [Union Captain allows last escaping wagon to cross river]
      Union Sgt. at river: Sir, I don't...
      Union Capt. at river: I know, sergeant! But if I can't have the whole dog, then I don't want the TAIL!
      Union Sgt. at river: Yes, sir.

      Col. John Henry Thomas: [Thomas and Langdon are talking to the Mexican bandit] Is the flap on your holster snapped or unsnapped, my Confederate friend?
      Col. James Langdon: Snapped, my Yankee friend.
      Col. John Henry Thomas: Then, I guess I'm his pigeon.
      [Draws and fires as the Mexican goes for his gun]

      Col. James Langdon: [on finding his men still in uiform] Captain, it is my impression that General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox some weeks ago; yet everywhere I look I see men in uniform with the battle flag still flying! Take it down!

      Col. John Henry Thomas: [Thomas has just learned that the war ended several days before] Major, we just received word that General Lee surrendered three days ago.
      Maj. Sanders, CSA: Yes, sir. We found out yesterday.
      Col. John Henry Thomas: And yet, you still fought us today?
      Maj. Sanders, CSA: Yes, sir.
      Col. John Henry Thomas: Why?
      Maj. Sanders, CSA: Because this is our land, Colonel; and you're still on it. Thank you for your kindness, Colonel.
      [Sanders walks back to the Confederate positions]

      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • It takes a really spectacular movie to stand up and be counted, the Undefeated is such a movie, it stands up to be counted as one of the worst and most pointless movies ever made.

      It was one of the first John Wayne movies I seen and the first that I really disliked, it is a truely horrible movie. The plot is long and borring with some pathetic action scenes thrown in to wake the viewer up. In one of the most uneventful shootouts in any western a group of soldiers attack a well armed group of ex soldiers yielding only swords.

      The cattle drive lacks just about everything and nothing in this movie really works, its painful to watch and should be avoided at all costs, after Hellfighters its John Waynes worst movie of the 1960's.

    • Hi,
      As this movie, has been discussed in great lengths on the previous thread,
      I thought it might help, if I posted all the earlier comments, on this new Forum,

      post Dec 17 2005, 04:49 PM

      My favorite part of this movie was Hugo Montenegro's score.

      Roman Gabriel couldn't act a lick but damn he was a handsome man. I think the same could be said about Rock who had an abysmal Southern accent.

      post Dec 17 2005, 05:01 PM
      This is not one of my favorites. It's disheartening to see how the South was treated after the Civil War was over, and then to think how discouraging it would be to only have Mexico as a place to move to . . . . Personally, I would have headed for Carmel, California - a lot more trees and greenery, plus the Pacific Ocean - or maybe Hollywood . . . B) .

      Seriously, why were those folks headed for Mexico?? The United States went all the way to the Pacific coast. I guess they just wanted to be out of the United States.

      Rock Hudson isn't one of my favorite actors, and I would agree with May's assessment of his southern accent.

      Some people feel that some of John Wayne's movies were simply a paycheck to him, and in this case I would agree.

      But to each his own . . . .

      Chester :newyear:

      post Dec 17 2005, 06:41 PM
      Did you know, that 3000 horses were used in the filming of
      this was the largest number of horses, used in a film at that time!

      During the filming, Duke fell off his horse, and dislocated his shoulder!.
      He called this, his "jinx" film.


      post Dec 17 2005, 07:46 PM
      Hi Keith and Chester,
      I've read your comments with great interest. I watched The Undefeated again a few days ago, mainly because of announcment that it will be movie of the week. I have mixed impression about this film. Of course it is beautiful shot, the location and all that horses are very pleasant to see. Duke is very good and I like Rock Hudson at this part.
      It is interesting, is Blue Boy played by real indian?
      The last battle of the war shown in more cruel way then in previous Dukes films.
      I think it is interesting historic background of the film. Is this story real, about moving southerns to Mexico. And it is really hard to see all that problems that was after the war. Was it really so bad, that they had to sell their estates almost for nothing and some gusty people were able to command?
      So I can say that I enjoy watching this film but it is not one of my favorites.

      post Dec 21 2005, 07:14 PM
      Hi Senta

      If you lose a war it is hard. In the case of the south, it was Lincoln's intention that the South should suffer no hardship and be welcomed back into the fold like the prodigal son, but he was assinnated before that could be put into place, and others were not so charitable.

      Sherman's march to the sea had devasted the south so any of the great mansions along the way were probaly smouldering ruins. The currnecy was all but worthless, the economy depended on cotton and with the slaves liberated the work force had disappeared and Lincoln's successors were determined to make it pay.

      Directly after the war saw the rise of the carpetbaggers men travelling with carpetbags stuffed with money who exploited the weaknesses left from the war.

      So with this going against them it is no wonder that some decided to get out of the country, and of course there were those that could not swear alligance to the Union under any circumstances (ie Ethan Edwards in the Searchers).

      For realistic civil wars scenes, the court yard scene in Gone With the Wind looks realistic, and Houston's The Red Badge of Courage depicts some of the battle scenes with the wounded trailing back to the rear, but that film was cut so much that it cannot bear too much comment.

      For scenes showing the hatred after the war Rod Steigers Run of the Arrow might be worth a look, and for the events after Lincoln's Assassination you might find Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island of interest.

      As for the treatment of the defeated people. In the seventeenth century after the Monmouth Rebellion judges such as Judge Jeffries known as the Hanging Judge travelled through the west of England with his Bloody Assizes hanging innocent and guilty alike and transporting the rest into slavery to the West Indies. Erroll Flynn's Captain Blood tells this story and has been reviwed a couple of times in this thread. With this in mind you can understand what happened to the South.

      Hope this helps.


      post Dec 22 2005, 11:40 AM
      Hi Arthur,
      Thank you for information, it is great as always. Only I think Captain Blood is Sabatiny's not Errol Flynn's (even if I like him).

      post Dec 22 2005, 05:02 PM
      I just watched The Undefeated. I found the movie very enjoyable. I really liked the bits with Ben Johnson and Dobie Carry. However,
      Rock Hudson Southern accent was worse then fake accents I've heard at school plays. :stunned:

      Jay J. Foraker 
      post Dec 22 2005, 06:03 PM

      QUOTE(Senta @ Dec 17 2005, 02:46 PM)
      Is Blue Boy played by real indian?
      Hi Vera - I don't know Roman Gabriel's ancestry, though he looks like some Indian blood could be involved. He was quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams NFL football team contemporary with the making of "The Undefeated." Merlin Olsen was also a member of that team (he's the big Confederate soldier goaded into fighting the champion of JW's group which led to the big brawl).
      Cheers - Jay :D

      The Ringo Kid 
      post Dec 22 2005, 10:09 PM
      Hi Arthur, Keith,
      Arthur, your quite correct on the post Civil War info you posted. One thing that should be added to your great post is that it should be known that General William Tecumseh Sherman really was disgusted at having to destroy all those fine Southern Mansions. Sherman really hated that part of his job as he had a great love for the South. After the war, Sherman donated some of his own money to help the recovery of the South. Before I knew better, I spent most of my younger life hating Sherman for all he stood for and though of him as almost a lowly devil.

      Keith, your almost correct about the U.S. Cavalry uniforms but that the exact style from the Civil War, was used during the Indian Wars (post 1865 to about 1873 and in some cases--and only parts of Civil War uniforms--were used till I think 1883? Reason why I mention this is that I just researched a Union Cavalry Sergeant's uniform for our local Museum and it is a shell jacket complete with the gold-yellow Sergeants chevrons as well as his kepi. The true Indian Wars uniforms were used from 1873 to 1893 but parts of those were used even past the Spanish-American War and after the Panama Canal was dug and completed.

      The thing for that period of time is that the U.S. Army was undergoing alot of fast changes in all kinds of things especially in uniforms and such. One thing you might find interesting to see are pictures of U.S. Army parade helmets from the Indian Wars. These greatly resemble your Police "Bobby" helmets of today or of not too long in the past. :D

      Sorry for my rant but, this gave me a chance to shine for a change.

      post Dec 23 2005, 12:30 AM
      Damn that Sherman dude!! Burned my town down.

      I was born in the Atlanta area and still live here, and believe me there is still a ton of goodies to be found in the earth around here!

      The Ringo Kid
      post Dec 23 2005, 09:12 PM
      QUOTE(Kevin @ Dec 22 2005, 08:30 PM)
      Damn that Sherman dude!! Burned my town down.

      I was born in the Atlanta area and still live here, and believe me there is still a ton of goodies to be found in the earth around here!
      I'm evil sometimes....aint I? :D
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Here's a couple of more quotes from the movie:

      When Thomas and his men see Cpl Little George(Merlin Olsen) for the first time.
      I think it's Short Grub who says, "that's the biggest man I ever saw" and Thomas replies, "that's the biggest anything I ever saw".

      At the end of the movie as they're all marching out of Mexico into Texas, Short Grub says, " I sure do miss Mr. McCartney", another man says, "yeah but, I don't miss his cooking" and Short Grub replies, "no, I don't miss his cooking, either".
    • Originally posted by Robbie@Feb 2 2006, 05:07 PM
      It takes a really spectacular movie to stand up and be counted, the Undefeated is such a movie,

      . . . it stands up to be counted as one of the worst and most pointless movies ever made.

      Whoa, Robbie, we got scared there for a minute as we started to read your post :fear2:!

      As we continued to read, we realized you were in your right mind :rolleyes: .

      We agree with the majority on this one, it was not a notable part of Duke's filmography :mellow: , but we do own it, just because John Wayne is in it.

      Just in case someone doesn't have it and would like to own a copy, Deep Discount DVD and Amazon carry it, and Deep Discount offers two movie posters as well.

      Chester :newyear:
    • Hey everyone, sorry haven't posted in awhile, but came up with a good stumper that I figured you fine folks might know. So I was watching The Undefeated on AMC last night, and in the credits John Agar is listed, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember seeing him amidst all those familiar faces. This has bothered me before so I popped in the dvd to see if I could find him, and sure enough I did.

      In the scene where JW resigns, with Paul Fix, there is a shot of John Henry Thomas' men on the horses in the rain. The Duke says "These are all that's left, and two of them won't make Christmas." Well to me, that last fella who coughs sure looks like John Agar, albeit with a beard.

      So here's my pregunta. Was Agar's part cut in the editing room? Maybe there is a scene of him dying/getting killed because at no point in the rest of the movie do I see him with the other Thomas riders, Johnson, Harry Carey JR, Collier, Gatlin. I'm thinking maybe the Duke offered an old friend a part in his later years. So sorry if I rambled, but any ideas? What happened to John Agar, "Christian" in the imdb listing, in The Undefeated?
    • Agar was one who wouldn't make Xmas.

      He went and rounded up the horses but couldn't make the trip. I can't remember if he pulled out on his own or J.H. paid him off. But he went home to die with family.

      I saw this on a big screen when it first came out. The scene was around and got cut out. Reappeared when it hit Tv but has disappeared again.

      SASS 39065 Life
      BOLD 114
    • Originally posted by DukePilgrim@Jan 20 2006, 05:29 PM
      I always thought this movie was so so. It was the type of movie that started well but then either never picked up enough momentum  or ran out of ideas before the end. As Pilar describes in her book it was like a family movie with all the familar faces from previous movies.

      I got the feeling that it was produced by Batjac on the cheap so it was guaranteed to make money but you got the feeling that it was more like a tv movie.

      The Undefeated (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1969) reminds me of quite a few of Wayne's later films in the sense that it features an intriguing premise but gradually winds up running in mud. I enjoy the idea of the Blue and Gray having to reconcile after the Civil War in order to pursue a joint venture, hence proving that America as a whole is "undefeated." Indeed, I appreciate the film's inspiring title, its rousing musical score by Hugo Montenegro, the narrative set-up, and the enticing star pairing of the earthy, indomitable Wayne and the suave, genteel Rock Hudson. However, the film never makes anything out of this "starter's kit" of engaging elements. The writing is banal and cliched, the direction is hackneyed and slack, and the acting outside of the stars and a few of the veteran character actors is flat. These kinds of films need a little depth to be resonant and some tension to be compelling, and The Undefeated, like several other late Wayne movies, is lacking in those areas. From a technical or cinematic perspective, it's also pretty quotidian.

      In short, it seems as if everyone involved in the production knew that they just needed to showcase Wayne's charismatic persona in order for the movie to be a hit, so that's where the focus resided. Whereas John Ford and Howard Hawks in their respective primes were concerned with making artistically rigorous films, a movie like The Undefeated is a mere commercial product in which aesthetic concerns appear irrelevant. It's no coincidence that most of Wayne's best late movies (True Grit, The Cowboys, The Shootist) were helmed by notable directors, men like Henry Hathaway, Mark Rydell, and Don Siegel. It was that added directorial vigor that elevated the material beyond meandering entertainment.
    • It appears that I may be in the minority here because I didn't dislike this movie. Sure it wasn't the greatest thing that I ever saw, but I don't think it deserves all the harsh criticism that it's getting. I feel that it is no better or worse than any typical John Wayne film.

      I thought that the opening scene depicting the final battle of the war was very striking. It had a lot more realism and was kind of gruesome in it's way. Nothing compared to what you see in films nowadays, but still atypical in a John Wayne flick. Perhaps it had something to do with Green Berets which I also thought was a little more visually violent than most of the movies John did.

      Maybe the story had a bad ending as some have suggested. But what was wrong with it. Should he have not given in and helped the Southerners? Because that wouldn't have been a positive message. They could have stormed into the town and fought with the captors. They would have won, of course, but that isn't really realistic either. So what did they do? They took the horses in, lost all of the money that they thought they were going to make and together they rode off for the sunset, just thankful to be alive. Sounds fine to me.
      [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]