The Conqueror (1956)

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    There are 100 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • The Conqueror (1956)



      Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


      Plot Summary
      In ancient times, the Mongolian warlord Temujin must do battle against the rival tribe that killed his father.
      The battles pale in comparison with Temujin's home life, as he attempts to woo the heart
      of the red-haired Tartar prisoner Bortai whom he has captured in a raid.
      He must also deal with various intrigues within his palace.
      Eventually, Bortai falls to his manly charms,
      Temujin defeats his enemies within and without,
      and is crowned Genghis Khan.

      Full Cast
      John Wayne .... Temujin, later Genghis Khan
      Susan Hayward .... Bortai
      Pedro Armendáriz .... Jamuga
      Agnes Moorehead .... Hunlun
      Thomas Gomez .... Wang Khan
      John Hoyt .... Shaman
      William Conrad .... Kasar
      Ted de Corsia .... Kumlek
      Leslie Bradley .... Targutai
      Lee Van Cleef .... Chepei
      Peter Mamakos .... Bogurchi
      Leo Gordon .... Tartar captain
      Richard Loo .... Captain of Wang's guard
      Sylvia Lewis .... Solo dancer
      Fred Aldrich .... Chieftain #2 (uncredited)
      Phil Arnold .... Honest John (uncredited)
      Gregg Barton .... Jalair (uncredited)
      Lane Bradford .... Chieftain #4 (uncredited)
      John Daheim .... Tartar guard sounding alarm (uncredited)
      John George .... Drummer boy (uncredited)
      Jeanne Gerson .... Bortai's slave woman (uncredited)
      Fred Graham .... Subuya, (Mongol warrior) (uncredited)
      Michael Granger .... Chieftain #1 (uncredited)
      David Hoffman .... Potter (uncredited)
      Paul Hoffman .... Chieftain #3 (uncredited)
      Charles Horvath .... (uncredited)
      Pat Lawler .... Wang Khan's wife (uncredited)
      Weaver Levy .... Mongol (uncredited)
      Jarma Lewis .... Girl in bath (uncredited)
      Pat McMahon .... Girl in bath (uncredited)
      Torben Meyer .... Scribe (uncredited)
      Norman S. Powell .... Mongol guard (uncredited)
      Ray Spiker .... Guard (uncredited)
      George E. Stone .... Sibilant Sam (uncredited)
      Ken Terrell .... Sorgan (Mongol warrior) (uncredited)
      Patricia Tiernan .... Wang Khan's wife (uncredited)
      Carl Vernell .... Merkit captain (uncredited)
      Michael Wayne .... Mongol guard (uncredited)
      Patrick Wayne .... (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Oscar Millard (written by)

      Dick Powell .... producer
      Richard Sokolove .... associate producer
      Howard Hughes .... producer (uncredited)

      Original Music
      Victor Young

      Joseph LaShelle
      William E. Snyder (as William Snyder)
      Leo Tover
      Harry J. Wild

      Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
      Edward Killy .... assistant director
      Cliff Lyons .... second unit director

      Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
      John Daheim .... stunts (uncredited)
      Henry A. Escalante .... stunts (uncredited)
      Bernie Gozier .... stunts (uncredited)
      Fred Graham .... stunts (uncredited)
      Charles Horvath .... stunts (uncredited)
      Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
      Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
      Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
      Gil Perkins .... stunts (uncredited)
      Allen Pomeroy .... stunts (uncredited)
      Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
      Barlow Simpson .... stunts (uncredited)
      Norm Taylor .... stunt rigger (uncredited)
      Ken Terrell .... stunts (uncredited)
      Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)
      Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
      Terry Wilson .... stunts (uncredited)

      Sometimes referred to as "An RKO Radioactive Picture," as it was filmed near the site of contemporaneous nuclear testing grounds, the set was contaminated by nuclear fallout. After location shooting, much dirt from the location was transported back to Hollywood in order to match interior shooting done there. Scores of cast and crew members developed forms of cancer over the next two decades, many more than the normal percentage of a random group of this size. Quite a few died from cancer or cancer-related problems, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendáriz (who shot himself to death soon after learning he had terminal cancer), Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt and director Dick Powell. People magazine researched the subsequent health of the cast and crew, which it published in November 1980. By the time of the article's publication, 91 of the 220 members of the film's cast and crew had contracted cancer, and half of these had died from the disease. The figures did not include several hundred local American Indians who served as extras on the set. Nor did it include relatives who had visited cast and crew members on the set, such as the Duke's son Michael Wayne. The People article quoted the reaction of a scientist from the Pentagon's Defense Nuclear Agency to the news: "Please, God, don't let us have killed John Wayne".

      Filmed between mid-May and August 5, 1954, the movie premiered on February 22, 1956 in Los Angeles, then opened in Manhattan at the Criterion Theatre on March 30, 1956.

      Photographs exist of John Wayne holding a Geiger counter.

      Wayne took his role very seriously, went on a crash diet, and took Dexedrine tablets 4 times a day.

      Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes provided the financial backing for this film and later paid an extra $12 million (estimated) for every existing print of it from a sense of guilt - it was he who paid for the shipping of 60 tons of radioactive dirt to Hollywood for retakes (see above). He kept a jealous hold on the film, not even allowing it to be seen on television, for 17 years until 1974, when Paramount managed to secure the rights to reissue it.

      The screenplay was written before John Wayne became involved in the project. The writer had Marlon Brando in mind for the role. According to Harry Medved and Michael Medved's 1984 book "The Hollywood Hall of Shame", Wayne's casting in this film came about during a conversation with director Dick Powell. Wayne was about the make the last film of a three-picture deal for RKO Radio and Powell had been assigned to direct. They were going over various scripts in Powell's office when the latter was called away for a few minutes. When Powell returned, he found Wayne enthusiastically looking over a script that Powell had intended throwing in the waste basket. It was the screenplay for "The Conqueror". Powell tried to talk him out of it, but Wayne insisted that this was the film he wanted to make. As Powell later summed it up, "Who am I to turn down John Wayne?"

      Average Shot Length = ~8.2 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~7.5 seconds.

      This became the final motion picture project for billionaire Howard Hughes, ending his thirty year involvement with the industry. Jet Pilot (1957), a film he produced in 1949, would finally be released the following year.

      This film is listed among The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.

      One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell.

      John Wayne regretted playing Temujin in The Conqueror (1956) so much that he visibly shuddered whenever anyone mentioned the film's name. He once remarked that the moral of the film was "not to make an ass of yourself trying to play parts you're not suited for.

      * Continuity: When Temujin shoots a flaming arrow to signal his troops to enter Urga, it is night, but when the troops see the arrow, it is daylight.

      * Revealing mistakes: When Temujin throws a spear at a man in a stream, the wire guiding it is visible. The spear's trajectory is also wobbly.

      * Incorrectly regarded as goofs: This is not a historical documentary nor a biopic, but rather a romantic fiction loosely inspired by true people and events. Liberties are taken with costume, custom, weapons technology, and the circumstances in which the depicted individuals really died. Utah "plays the role" of Mongolia (with its unique landmarks visible), and many actors playing Mongolians do not look Mongolian at all, but this is part of the suspension of disbelief that informs this movie's atmosphere.

      * Continuity: SPOILER: After Temujin kills the Shaman and a guard in Wang Khan's bedroom his sword is clean, but when he bangs on the gong outside the bedroom to address his troops, there is blood on the sword.

      * Continuity: SPOILER: After Jamuga escapes from his cell and Kasar is killed, a guard pushes him on top of a sundial. The shadow cast by the sundial is pointing left when Jamuga is pushed against the sundial, then pointing right when Jamuga kills the guard.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Escalante Desert, St. George, Utah, USA
      Hurricane, Utah, USA
      RKO Studios - 780 Gower Street, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
      Snow Canyon State Park - 1002 Snow Canyon Drive, Ivins, Utah, USA
      Snow Canyon, Utah, USA
      St. George, Utah, USA

      Previous Discussion:-
      The Conqueror
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 10 times, last by ethanedwards: updated the image attachment ().

    • The Conqueror is a 1956 CinemaScope epic film produced by Howard Hughes
      and starring John Wayne as the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan.
      Other performers included Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead,
      and Pedro Armendáriz.
      Directed by actor/director Dick Powell, the film was principally shot near St. George, Utah.

      The Conqueror was a critical flop (often ranked as one of the worst films of the 1950s
      and one of the worst ever) despite the stature of the cast.
      Wayne, who was at the height of his career, had lobbied for the role
      after seeing the script and was widely believed to have been grossly miscast
      (he was "honored" by The Golden Turkey Awards).

      Reportedly, Howard Hughes felt guilty about his decisions regarding the film's production,
      particularly over the decision to film at a hazardous site.
      He bought every print of the film for $12 million and kept it from view until 1974
      when it was first broadcast on TV.
      The Conqueror, along with Ice Station Zebra,[
      is said to be one of the films Hughes watched endlessly during his last years.

      Well what can you say about this film??
      This will certainly, give us something to discuss!!
      The worst full, feature film, Duke ever made, his WORST!!

      Along with The Greatest Story Ever Told
      Duke giving his acting critics, a field day!!!
      However, I will say one thing in it's favour,
      it's one of the best comedies, I've ever seen!!!
      How could Duke have got involved in this??
      Why oh why, didn't they just talk, in American accents??
      it would have been so much easier, and a lot more convincing!!

      Instead, Dick Powell went for that awful stilted, dialogue.
      The supporting cast fared no better, with Susan Hayward,
      acting, like some sort of demented Barbie doll!!

      The whole thing was an embarrassment,
      and audiences laughed at Duke's stilted dialogue,ludicrous make up,
      of slit eyes, and mustache.
      It proved to be a $5 million fiasco, and besides being Duke's worst film,
      it probably contributed to his death.

      Rating 1/10, for the comedy value.

      Look out for Duke sons,
      Michael Wayne as a Mongol guard (uncredited)
      Patrick Wayne .... (uncredited)

      User Review
      Vigorous, unusual, funny and spectacular!
      2 November 2003 | by ironside (Mexico) –

      In the 1950s, people liked Cinemascope and Technicolor movies...

      Epic movies with gigantic battles, huge and fantastic sets and costumes, were massive projects and hugely popular...
      One of them is 'The Conqueror' played by legendary actors...
      The film deals with Mongols, Merkits, and Tartars struggling for survival in a harsh and arid land.. Plunder and rapine were their way of life and no man trusted his brother...
      The Mongols, led by Temujin (John Wayne) and his blood brother Jamuga (Pedro Armendariz), attack a Merkit caravan, capturing the untamed princess Bortai (Susan Hayward), daughter of Kumlek (Ted De Corsia), ruler of the Tartars and slayer of Temujin's father...
      Temujin's mother, Hunlun (Agnes Moorehead), fears Kumlek's wrath, and she begs Temujin to set Bortai free, but he refuses... Despite his vow to avenge his father's death, Temujin was fascinated by the girl's beauty and fire..
      The Merkits attack in an attempt to rescue the hot-blooded Bortai but are defeated... Bortai escapes but is soon recaptured by Temujin, who declares he will make her his wife... But later, she lets him know how much she despises him: 'Before that day dawns, Mongol, the vultures will have feasted on your heart!'
      Temujin waits... The Mongols then go on to Urga—a Chinesea town ruled by the powerful Wang Khan (Thomas Gomez).The mighty ruler welcomes his guests and entertains them at a banquet... Bortai attends and is seated next to him... She suddenly decides to dance for the Khan and, taking two swords, starts her exotic dance... At the end, having discarded one of the swords, she aims the other one at Temujin...
      As Genghis Khan, the 12th Century Mongol warrior whose coming changed the face of the world, John Wayne won't disappoint his ardent followers...
      The highlight of the film is the sensational veil and swords dance Susan Hayward performs... Hayward looked radiant in her wrath...
      Agnes Moorehead nearly manages to steal the show as her imitation of a talking prune is absolutely extraordinary...
      Two of Wayne's sons had bit parts as warriors.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Originally posted by ethanedwards@Jan 25 2006, 03:50 AM
      [Surrounded by his enemies]
      Temujin: Come and take me, mongrels - if you dare. While I have fingers to grasp a sword, and eyes to see your cowardly faces, your treacherous heads will not be safe on your shoulders. For I am Temujin, the Conqueror. No prison can hold me, no army defeat me.

      Kumlek: [to Temujin] Joint by joint from the toe and fingertip upward shall you be cut to pieces, and each carrion piece, hour by hour and day by day, shall be cast to the dogs before your very eyes until they too shall be plucked out as morsels for the vultures.


      I don't know if I have ever watched this movie all the way through . . . if I have, I don't remember, but maybe I'll have to do so . . . :o

      In any case, I am guessing the two quotes above may actually have come in the same exchange, though if that is the case, IMDb didn't see fit to post them together.

      Just curious to know - how many folks around here have seen this movie?


      Mrs. C :angel1:
    • Hi All

      This is not all that bad. :ph34r: The part were the ride the horses up and down hills is not funny.

      Just imagine it is not John Wayne quoting these lines and you can really take it seriously!!!

      I actually paid £70.00 to buy the full feature on thsi on super 8. Mind you I had a hard job shifting in when I wanted to sell.

      No if you want really the worst movie it must be Jet Pilot unless you are really into plane exhausts or Janet Leigh Flight suit in a big way.

      At least Howard Hughes did Duke a favoutr in burying them for 20 odd years

      According to Pilar she put the heavy death rate from cancer down to a lot of them being heavy smokers. She was on location for the length of the movie and is still alive & well.

    • Hi

      The story put out about the Conqueror was that it was a western set in Mongolia, and that John Wayne got the script out of a wastepaper basket where the writer had thrown it.

      If you study the story of Temujin the script stick pretty well to history with the exception that the story is compacted into a shorter time scale, and also that when many of the things that occur in the film happened to the real Ghengis Khan he was only thirteen years old.

      It certainly didn't deserve to come high up in the worst fifty movies ever made.


      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Hi

      and I almost forgot

      Susan hayward fancied the John Wayne and during the kissing scenes went all out to show him that she was all women.

      On one occasion Hayward got drunk and kicking her shoes off offered to fight Pilar with the winner getting John Wayne. Pilar turned the offer down.

      Hayward was not one of John Wayne's favourite actresses.


      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Of course, everyone knows the story of this one. The original plan from the brain trust at RKO was to borrow Marlon Brando from 20th Century Fox and have him star in this one. When Fox refused to cooperate, Howard Hughes apparently remembered that John Wayne still had one more picture left on the RKO contract he signed back in 1939. And so, one of the most dubious casting decisions in Hollywood history was made. It deserved its spot in the "50 Worst Films of All Time" list. This one is for Wayne completeists and die-hard bad film junkies only.

      This is the one film John Wayne made that is truly terrible. All the others (even the lesser ones) at least have something to recommend them. But the thing that sets The Conqueror apart from all the rest is how extremely pedestrian everything is. Let's start with the script, which is the overriding problem throughout the whole film. It's written in a sort of mock-Shakespearian lingo and is filled with dialogue that anyone on earth would have a hard time saying with a straight face.

      Next we have the casting. John Wayne and Susan Hayward, both at their career peak, were cast in this one. Neither one looks the least bit Asian (Hayward doesn’t even try to). You get the feeling throughout that both of them know this thing is a joke, and they are both just trying to make it through. Wayne drawls his way through the role of Genghis Khan, while Hayward is alternately dumb/boring as Bortai, his red-headed wife. Even the lower billed actors look uncomfortable in gaudy costumes that look like they were borrowed from a high school play.

      Of course, we can't forget the music. Victor Young (The Quiet Man) wrote some of the greatest scores in Hollywood history, but this one certainly ranks as one of his worst. Here he seems to be repeating the same few bars of the melodramatic theme over and over again throughout the film with little to no variation.

      Next we come to the cinematography. This was the one thing that could have made the film worthwhile. It didn't. While the on-location battle scenes were well-suited to the CinemaScope photography, too much of the film took place inside tents and palaces (i.e. on soundstages), giving it a cluster phobic look at times. Most of the action takes place in the middle of the frame, the director doesn’t even come close to tapping the full potential of the widescreen technology he was working with. Other Wayne films from around the same time (The High and the Mighty, The Sea Chase, Blood Alley) made much better use of CinemaScope photography.

      Last we have the direction by Dick Powell. This was just the second film Powell directed (the first was Split Second, a 1953 noir film also for RKO that starred Stephen McNally and Jan Sterling), and it showed. In all fairness, he was saddled with a impossible script and a meddling boss (Hughes). Powell would later go on to direct some good war movies over at Fox with Robert Mitchum (The Enemy Below, The Hunters). I guess Powell learned his lesson with this one and stuck to twentieth-century wars after this, leaving the ancient history alone!

      Of course there were other problems during shooting (Sue's erratic and irrational affection for Duke) and the cancer cases that occurred later were an unintentional tragedy of this film. Hughes personally bought back the rights to this film (along with Jet Pilot) when he sold RKO in the late 50's. Legend has it that in his last days, he watched this film over and over while in bed. Maybe his strange behavior before his death was the result of seeing a little too much of the The Conqueror. Viewers, Beware!!!!!


      "I am not intoxicated - yet." McLintock!

    • Hi,
      I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
      looking for previous discussion, relating to the movies.
      I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
      so that they are now under one forum:-

      The Conqueror, I was disgusted

      post Jan 27 2004, 11:22 PM

      I have had a copy of this movie for several years now but I never got around to watching it based on what others had to say about it. I have jsut finished watching it and it really is as bad as a lot of people suggest but there was one scene within the movie that I cant believe the Duke did, this is the scene where he slaps Susan Haywards across the face I was completely taken aback, I never though the Duke would have done that, I have lost a little bit interest in him since seeing this scene. Why on earth did he do this, I realise he is an actor but this is not the John Wayne that I admire as an actor and person, his treatment of Susan Hayward as a whole was shamful splattering out such crap as 'This woman is for my own personal pleasure' it is just so painful to watch. I wouldnt have believed somebody if they had told me John Wayne done this and I am so disappointed to discover this scene, why did Duke not speak out against doing this scene, I just can't understand it.

      post Jan 27 2004, 11:55 PM

      Hi Robbie; I agree that this was probably one of the movies "DUKE" should have passed on but he didn't and now we have it to ponder. He was portraying an Asian Barbarian so I think you had to follow some of the rough treatment that was dished out to woman at that time.And I also think that to be "Politicly Correct" in 1956 wasn't much of an option. I judge the film by how many times it has been on tv. I saw on a late nite movie about 20 years ago and that was just before sattelite tv. I have never seen it since. He has also spanked at least two women that I can remember(McLintock+Donavon's Reef) and I'm sure this would recieve alot of negative reviews now but!!! I take in context with the time it was made. I love the"DUKE",even his stinkers.Who knows,Maybe he was needing some cash flow at the time and "THE CONQUEROR" was all there was....SaddleTramp....

      post Jan 28 2004, 03:10 AM

      I believe that JW didn't want to do that film but, he was under contract and was almost forced to do it. Arthur or itdo will probably be able to shed some light on this film better then I can.

      Hondo Duke Lane
      post Jan 28 2004, 04:13 AM

      Something else to consider. Duke wanted to get away from westerns, and war movies. He wanted to be more diverse, and he found that he should have stayed with the western gerne.

      He had some problems with Susan Hayward off stage.

      I forgot about the slapping scene, but apparently it didn't bother me as much as it did you, Robbie. I only seen the movie once, maybe twice (probably once). It didn't impress me, either.

      As a matter of fact, I rank this movie as my least favorite John Wayne movie.

      Robbie, don't let this change your opinion of Duke, he's an actor, and played a character. Sometimes, they do things for effect that might offend people. That's what they do for the film industry, because they are actors. I didn't like seeing Tom Hanks play a homosexual in Philadelphia, but he did it because it was his job. By the way, I don't own Philadelphia or The Conqueror on DVD.

      Cheers, Hondo B)

      post Jan 28 2004, 05:42 AM

      f the few fans who enjoyed The Conqueror. I put off watching it as Robbie did, had it for a long time before giving it a viewing, because I was bored at the time. I went into it expecting to hate it, and was surprised to find myself enjoying it. It was wierd seeing him in that Fu Man Chu and hearing him talk as he did, but I feel he pulled it off. To say he didn't is to limit him as an actor. I also liked his detective films (Brannigan and McQ), as it was a chance to see him in a different acting light. As for him slapping Hayward, I guess it didn't register with me either. It was a part of the character. We must be carefull in putting our heroes too high up on that pedistal. The fall can be a far one. That part may have bothered you, Robbie, but you are too big a fan to let it deminish Duke in your eyes. I admire both John Waynes. His life on screen and his life off it as well. He's not perfect, but he's ours! Dukefan1

      post Jan 28 2004, 07:07 AM

      QUOTE(dukefan1 @ Jan 27 2004, 09:42 PM)
      We must be carefull in putting our heroes too high up on that pedestal. The fall can be a far one. That part may have bothered you, Robbie, but you are too big a fan to let it diminish Duke in your eyes. I admire both John Waynes. His life on screen and his life off it as well. He's not perfect, but he's ours!


      I couldn't have said it any better myself!

      Way to go (although The Conqueror is at the bottom of my list, too)!

      Chester :newyear:

      post Jan 28 2004, 09:26 AM

      The Conqueor and John Wayne's relations with susan Hayward seem to have been the subject of much controversy.

      First the film
      I think that as a workoholic when it came to making pictures John Wayne if he were alive today, would still be climbing into the saddle.
      But I also believe that if he ever contemplated quitting the screen it would have been in the period between 1954 and 1959.

      Finishing the Hondo and the High and the Mighty in 1954 he stood firmly as Box Office Number 1. He then embarked on a series of nine pictures which with the exception of The Searchers, which I will also admit to everyone's horror was not one of my favourite Duke films, but my opinion notwithstanding stood out like a beacon, of films that were not well received by the critics and severely knocked not only John Wayne's reputation but also dented the actors confidence.

      The Sea Chase was a reasonable picture but nothing special, Blood Alley featuring a man who talks to himself throughout the picture and has a fantasy friend called baby could be classed as a strange film for Duke to do. Jet Pilot can't be classed in the sequence as it had been made in 1947 and Howard Hughes had spent years tinkering with it. But many claim that the film is slightly worse than The Conqueror or at least on a level par.

      I Married A Woman a simple cameo role, and The Barbarian and the Geisha an infamous picture hated by both star and subsequently director.

      As I have said in a previous post he wasn't forced to make The Conqueror. The picture wasn't written for him but he accepted it without hesitation. It is said that the film was written as a western set in Mongolia and it wasn't until he read the script on the night before shooting began that he realised what he had let himself in for.

      With regard to Susan Hayward. It is established by every author on John Wayne that during the film she had a serious crush on him and even threatened to fight his wife with winner take all. Hayward had at best a fiery temperment which made it difficult to work with her. She was also not adverse to handing it out when necessary.

      To slightly stray from the point When Errol Flynn was making Elizabeth and Essex with Betty Davis the picture called for Davis to slap Errol Flynn. At the time Flynn was suffering from an ear complaint that if hit too hard could have killed him. The scene called for a number of takes and Davis didn't hold back to the point where Flynn called enough a said if she hits me like that again I'll slug her, or words to that effect.

      But to get back to the point. In a fist fight it is possible to fake it and make it realistic, John Wayne and Yakima Canutt proved this throughout the thirties and made a routine for everyone to follow.

      But a slap is different even today with even more realism required the slap is done with full force or it dosen't look right. The film called for Temujin to humiliate Hayward as a Barbarian would by force , not as Petruchio did to Kathrine in Kiss Me Kate by guile and cunning.

      But when it comes down to it in the end it is acting. I was brought up where the man gets shot falls to the floor and although his dead you don't see any blood. after a rousing fist fight where the hero gives the villain a good pasting there's no bruising on either man. We have already said that this ended with the Cowboys but it is only acting and your still the man you were at night going home from the set, as you were in the morning coming to work.



      Here is a link, to other previous discussion, relating to this movie:-

      The Conqueror
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Hi,
      I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
      looking for previous discussion, relating to this movie.
      I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
      so that they are now under one forum:-

      The Conqueror
      post Apr 8 2004, 09:41 PM

      Just watched The Conqueror on AMC, and I thought it was a better movie than I was led to believe.
      No, it wouldn't make my top ten list but it was still entertaining, and most would have to admit that it is a better movie than most of the stuff coming out today. I always enjoyed Pedro Armendariz in Fort Apache and The Three Godfathers and it was a treat to see him in one more movie with Duke.

      Hondo Duke Lane 
      post Apr 9 2004, 02:21 AM

      I will not argue with you that this movie is better than most of today's movies. I think the issue is that we (the message board in general) like other John Wayne movies better than The Conqueror. I will admit that I haven't seen this movie in quiet some time, and I am due to watch it again. I do have it on VHS, and probably seen that movie once, at the most twice.
      This movie was not a movie we are accustom to seeing Duke in and I prefer to see him in a war or western. But I will be fair and see this again, and give you my opinion of the movie soon.
      Thanks for you view; you've open my eyes.

      Cheers, Hondo B)

      post Apr 9 2004, 02:39 AM

      I tried to watch it today and couldn't hardly do it. It's not good, at least to me. Too out of character for almost everyone in it.

      post Apr 9 2004, 11:16 AM

      Hi Arner
      Try to imagine instead of Mongolia, Monument Valley and instead of a 12th Century mongol put in a 19th century cavalryman or cowboy.
      That was what the Conqueror was written as a 12th century western.
      I think that that is what John Wayne thought he was playing. It was not until the eve of starting the film when he read the stilted english and sentences like
      "You are bewtofool in your wrath" that he realised what he had let himself in for and by then it was too late to get out.
      Incidentally Howard Hughes thought it was wonderful.
      It is not that bad a picture but it came at a time when he was struggling with Jet Pilot, Legend of the Lost and Blood Alley and if you examine each of these films individually although the wern't massive they are not bad but put together as a whole in a run it made for one of his leanest spell in films.


      Hondo Duke Lane
      post Apr 10 2004, 04:00 AM

      First of all Happy Easter to you!

      Are you kidding about Duke doing this just before the release of The Conqueror? Never heard that before.

      Cheers, Hondo B) 

      General Sterling Price 
      post Apr 11 2004, 02:19 AM

      I have yet to see the Conqueror, although I am sure I will someday. Its hard to believe that Wayne had some real ho-hum films about the time of The Conquerer, except that his Greatest of all, The Searchers, was right in the middle of them. Go figure.


      Hondo Duke Lane 
      post Apr 13 2004, 03:03 AM

      Duke seem to be going in a different direction with his acting. When he did The Searchers, I believe that Duke wanted expand his acting, and did different types of movies playing characters that was not a part of what Duke played. He soon found out that he made some flops, and went back to where he did play his best roles. I can only imagine that Duke wanted to expand himself so he could find out what kind of actor he was.
      Bogart couldn't play western cowboys. Cagney couldn't play romance. Actors played roles that best suit them, so Duke could only play the parts that made him into a legend. I'm glad he found out before it was too late.

      Cheers, Hondo B)

      post Apr 13 2004, 07:30 AM

      Hi Hondo,
      Yes I think you are probably right.
      With regard to the Conqueror if you read John Wayne American page 411 it tells the story.
      Allan Eayles in his the films of John Wayne gives a slightly different viewpoint arguing that Wayne was not an idiot and could therfore handle the lines with ease.
      But if you study The Conqueror even with the dialogue toned down, as it was, the lines would be hard going for anyone other than a classical actor.
      However as the book states that although the critics hated it comparing
      Wayne's performance as a cross between a square shooting sheriff and a Mongolian idiot (hence the remarks from Allan Eayles)
      the film was enormously popular at the box office and made $12 m which I think in 1956 would be quite a large sum of money.

      kilo 6
      post Jul 29 2005, 04:34 PM

      Hello All, I feel that the distraction, the dialogue introduces, is reduced by watching this film several times over the span of a few years.
      As Arthur Arnell indicated, the book JW American details the events leading to JW doing this part.
      It is mentioned that Duke asked for the role after reading a script summary.
      It says that JW did not read the full script until the night before shooting began.
      Once he read the entire script JW phoned Oscar Millard and told him " You gotta do somethin' about these *^#*^#*^# lines. I can't read em".
      Oscar Millard wrote the screenplay thinking Marlon Brando would deliver the lines. Millard protested that it was to late.
      "I'd have to rewrite the entire script for you. Why didn't you speak up sooner?
      " Dick Powell the producer/Director was approached by Millard before this happened.
      When Millard expressed concern about Duke doing lines he created for Brando Powell lied and said that JW had agreed to working with a voice coach.
      There is more detail in the book ( pages 410 & 411) but that seems to explain why the movie suffers in the dialogue.
      With a different, less flowery script I think it would appeal more to some if not all viewers.
      At the risk of displaying a bias I would say there are some great scenes with horses. Kilo
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Hmmm

      What would I think if this weren't a JW film? Think of it as a Charlton Heston movie like Ben Hur and then maybe it's not so bad. I watched it, pretending that I wasn't seeing the duke and I didn't mind it.
      Okay, I cringed at most of the dialogue and my wife laughed hysterically when I told her about the 'you are beautiful in your wrath" line, but I thought the locations were beautiful and the plot wasn't terrible. Some of the fighting scenes were decent. Obviously no one would probably recommend this one to someone as their first JW movie. But as a huge fan I can see the merits and over look the problems.
      [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]
    • Ehm...well yes,I've seen it now.Don't really know what to think of this yet.I didn't like Susan Hayward,I didn't like Duke's moustache and his hair.The scenery was nice though.Yeah I liked that..Other than that,I don't know.I do think that Duke did his best but with what the script was like and working with the actress that Hayward was.There was no chemistry whatsoever between them.I got the dvd in my collection now but not sure if it will come out again and if it will don't know when that will be.A long time from now I'm afraid when I have forgotten that I've ever seen it :blink:
    • Duke's Movie Locations- St. George

      ST. GEORGE.

      snow_canyon.jpgsnow_canyon_state_park.jpgsnow_canyon.2 jpg.jpg

      Information from
      Worldwide Movie Locations

      'Dirty Harry' ‚ not the Clint Eastwood movie,
      but the nickname given to a nuclear test explosion
      at Yucca Flats in Nevada which dumped fallout around the area
      including St George in Utah.

      St George
      is way down in the southwest corner of Utah
      near the Arizona border on I-15.
      And it was in Snow Canyon State Park,
      11 miles to the northwest of St George,
      that The Conqueror was filmed the following year.
      To make matters worse, lorryloads of the local red earth
      were shipped back to RKO in Hollywood for studio filming.

      Snow Canyon State Park
      is a small park
      located just northwest of St. George Utah.
      The park is only 5,738 acres,
      but offers several amazing hikes and wonderful scenery to its visitors.
      The little known canyon has very distinctive beauty.
      Red and white sandstone with a scattering of black lava rock
      provide a color contrast that is seldom seen outside of the park.
      Visitors to Snow Canyon during the spring season
      will be treated to an extra splash of color
      as the native cactus and wildflowers come into full bloom.

      Snow Canyon is filled with petrified sand dunes,
      towering cliffs, dormant volcanic cones, lava tubes/caverns,
      sandstone arches and rainwater ponds.
      There are several hiking/biking trails available within the park
      that offers visitors a chance to see one or all of these incredible attractions.
      Hikers should also keep watch for the desert wildlife found in the area.
      Some of the more interesting creatures include Gila monsters, desert tortoises, scorpions, Mojave sidewinder snake and Utah banded geckos.
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Re: The Conqueror (1956)

      Shame on you all.... John Wayne never did a bad movie. They were just bad scripts. I've watched this movie a couple time. And truthfully, it's not one of his best but I still liked the film. Any film about Kahn and that time period interests me. As far as availability. It's also available at:

      Barnes and Noble

      These are all gift sets but there are a few individual ones available on eBay.

      I don't blame the Duke for this one, just his choice in scripts. I remember there were a couple times where I've read he wanted to do something different than just westerns and war movies, he just choose poorly. Unfortunately, it got him in the end. The location killed a lot of good actors/actresses. I don't buy the smoking theory, everyone smoked back then. It may have contributed but the location was the primary reason. You don't get those kinds of percentages just from smoking.

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