The Undefeated (1969)

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    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

    Edited 9 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • 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

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    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 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:


    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!

    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".

  • 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

  • Quote

    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]

  • The movie is unforgiveably dull and very laboured. Duke doesnt look as striking as usual, the storyline rambles and the action is weak and unexciting.

    This was the first John Wayne movie I ever disliked.



  • I will agree that it is a bit slow at times however I like the film and so do my kids it has some very great parts. I am glad John Wayne made it imagine if he didnt. I always say anything with John Wayne has to have something good about it. :cowboy:


  • I have to agree with Robbie on this film. I just cannot get into the film that much, it has its moments but it just seems to always be missing something. When I am cruising the channels I stop and watch it for a bit but just simply grow tired of it after awhile and move on.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • This is one of those films that has both advocates and detractors. I find it a little tedious in places, but with John Wayne as the focus, it is still entertaining. Certainly not in the top tier, but much better than some of JW's 50's bombs.
    Cheers - Jay :D

    Cheers - Jay:beer:
    "Not hardly!!!"

  • Apparently, James Arness was offered the role played by Rock Hudson but for whatever reason passed on it. It would have been interesting to see what the film would have been like with Wayne and Arness together.


  • Apparently, James Arness was offered the role played by Rock Hudson but for whatever reason passed on it. It would have been interesting to see what the film would have been like with Wayne and Arness together.


    I still think that with both of them it would have still been tough to do much with. I think the script was lacking too much and the film had way to many holes in it to make it believeable. In my opinion anyways.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • Well, I finally...finally...FINALLY saw the pickup truck at the end of this film yesterday. I had to look over the scene a few times, as the truck is only visable for maybe half a second. But it does pull into the scene right before the camera shifts away from Duke. Ahhhh...been watching this film for years, and could never see the truck that everyone talked about.

    As for the film itself, it is basically an OK John Wayne movie. Nothing much happens during the film, but it's always fun just to watch Duke in a western. Being one of his later-day roles, I'd rate the film above Chisum, but not as good as Big Jake.