The Comancheros (1961)

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    20th.CENTURY FOX

    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret,
    but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants
    and thieves known as Comancheros.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Ranger Capt. Jake Cutter
    Stuart Whitman .... Paul Regret
    Ina Balin .... Pilar Graile
    Nehemiah Persoff .... Graile
    Lee Marvin .... Tully Crow
    Michael Ansara .... Amelung
    Patrick Wayne .... Tobe (Texas Ranger) (as Pat Wayne)
    Bruce Cabot .... Maj. Henry (Ranger CO)
    Joan O'Brien .... Melinda Marshall
    Jack Elam .... Horseface (Comanchero)
    Edgar Buchanan .... Circuit Court Judge Thaddeus Jackson Breen
    Henry Daniell .... Gireaux
    Richard Devon .... Esteban
    Phil Arnold .... Nervous barfly (uncredited)
    Anne Barton .... Mrs. Schofield (uncredited)
    Steve Baylor .... Comanchero (uncredited)
    Don Brodie .... Card Dealer (uncredited)
    Alan Carney .... Stillwater bartender (uncredited)
    Iphigenie Castiglioni .... Josefina (uncredited)
    Dennis Cole .... (uncredited)
    Booth Colman .... Hotel clerk (uncredited)
    Gabriel Curtiz .... Marsac (uncredited)
    John Dierkes .... Ranger Bill Larsen (uncredited)
    Ilana Dowding .... Mary Schofield (uncredited)
    William Fawcett .... Poker player (uncredited)
    Joe Gray .... (uncredited)
    George J. Lewis .... Chief Iron Shirt (uncredited)
    Jon Lormer .... Elderly man on riverboat (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... (uncredited)
    Roger Mobley .... Bub Schofield (uncredited)
    Gregg Palmer .... Bouvier (opponent in duel) (uncredited)
    Michael Ross .... Gordo (Graile's bodyguard) (uncredited)
    Leigh Snowden .... Evie (uncredited)
    Bob Steele .... Pa Schofield (uncredited)
    Lusita Triana .... Spanish dancer (uncredited)
    Ralph Volkie .... Riverboat steward (uncredited)
    Aissa Wayne .... Bessie Marshall (uncredited)
    Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams .... Ed McBain (gunrunner) (uncredited)
    Henry Wills ... Ranger (uncredited)
    Sammy Wolfe ... Poker Player (uncredited)
    Kelly Yost ... Indian (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Paul Wellman (novel) (as Paul I. Wellman)
    James Edward Grant screenplay
    Clair Huffaker screenplay

    Elmer Bernstein

    William H. Clothier (director of photography)

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
    Jack R. Berne .... assistant director
    Cliff Lyons .... action sequences director

    Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
    Joe Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
    Tap Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bill Hart .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bill Williams .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)

    During much of the shooting, director Michael Curtiz was seriously ill (he died of cancer shortly after the film's release). On the days when Curtiz was too ill to work, John Wayne took over direction of the film, and when it was completed he told the studio that he did not want credit as co-director and insisted that Curtiz' name alone appear as director.

    The final film directed by Michael Curtiz.

    When John Wayne signs the hotel register as "McBain", one of the names in the register is William H. Clothier, the film's director of photography.

    Besides the name of William H. Clothier, the film's director of photography, another crew member's name that appears in the hotel registry signed by "Ed McBain" is that of Jack R. Berne, an assistant director on the film.

    The last film of veteran cowboy actor Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, who died shortly after its completion.

    John Wayne's character, Ranger Capt. Jake Cutter, is called Big Jake. Wayne later played Jacob McCandles in Big Jake (1971).

    Paul Wellman wrote the novel with Cary Grant in mind as Paul Regret. However, by the time the film was made in 1961 Grant was too old for the part, and would never have taken second billing to John Wayne.

    * Revealing mistakes: After Regret hits Cutter with a shovel, Cutter wakes up when it starts raining. Somehow, the sky is still blue and there are strong shadows. It is only raining about 30 feet from Cutter.

    * Anachronisms: Cutter is shown wearing a Texas Ranger Badge. These badges were not introduced until the 1880s, 37 years after the year the movie story takes place (1843).

    * Crew or equipment visible: In the final gun battle, when the man in the wagon is shot, instead of seeing his body falling from the wagon, we see someone throwing it out.

    * Anachronisms: The guns used in the movie are Colt single action revolvers model 1873, Henry lever action rifle look-alikes model 1860, and Winchester lever action rifles model 1892. The only correct period guns used were the single-shot percussion-cap dueling pistols used in the opening scene.

    * Revealing mistakes: During the last battle of the movie, Cutter is shown in a wagon shooting a lever action rifle left-handed. The film is reversed, because the loading port of the rifle is depicted as being on the left (wrong) side of the rifle.

    * Continuity: When Pa Schofield goes out of the house with the baby in his arms and calls his friends, the baby is completely covered. So we see the Cutter's hand discovering the baby's face in close-up. Next shot the baby is still completely covered.

    * Continuity: Inside the boat, Regret is sleeping on the bed. Suddenly, in the shadow projected on the wall behind the bed, we see the door opens and the image of Cutter appears. The next shot shows Cutter himself and his shadow on the door his left hand.

    * Anachronisms: Major Henry mentions that Ed McBain spent 5 years at the Yuma Territorial Prison. In 1843 Arizona was part of Mexico, so there was no Yuma Territorial Prison then. The Mexican-American war, where the US took the SW from Mexico, wasn't won until 1848.

    * Continuity: Paul Regret knocks Jake Cutter unconscious with a shovel, throws it on the ground, and escapes. When Jake wakes up later the shovel is laying the opposite way, the handle and business end have exchanged places.

    * Continuity: When Regret hits Jake with the shovel, the shovel flexes. It is obviously made out of rubber.

    * Revealing mistakes: Obvious use of a dummy in the final escape when Esteban is shot and "falls" out of the wagon.

    * Continuity: As Jake and Regret are delivering their wagon-load of guns, they see see Indians on the hilltops. Jake removes a staff with feathers from his side of the wagon, and hands it to Regret, saying 'We'll see if this passport works.' The next two quick camera cuts show the staff first back on the wagon, then again in Regret's hands.

    * Errors in geography: Regret and Pilar meet on a Mississippi-style river boat, but the ocean is in the background when they talk on deck. The riverboat lands in Galveston, but no such riverboat navigated the Trinity or San Jacinto Rivers that empty into Galveston Bay. Regret and Cutter ride from Galveston into the desert. The nearest desert to Galveston is at least 400 miles, and nothing in Texas looks like the desert in the film.

    * Revealing mistakes: In the final battle scene Amelung falls from the wagon with his hands tied behind his back. As he falls he places his hands in front to catch himself then quickly places them behind him again as others rush to assist him.

    * Continuity: In the bar scene: Tully Crow (Lee Marvin) asks the bartender for a bottle of "the good stuff." The bartender holds up a bottle of whiskey with his right hand. Crow, not believing that it really is "the good stuff," gets mad and shoots the bottle and breaks it. The camera view then changes to a stuffed deer head on the wall, which Crow also shoots. Then the camera goes back to the bartender, but he is standing there with the same bottle of whiskey in his right hand - bottle is intact and unbroken.

    * Continuity: In the Marshall's farm-yard: when Jake Cutter (John Wayne) introduces Paul Regret to Bessie Marshall, the sunlight on Regret's face - as well as on the horse behind him - instantly changes to overcast between shots.

    * Continuity: During Jake's and Regret's visit to the Schofield farmstead: the angle of sunlight and lengths of shadows cast by men and horses change markedly between shots. For example, one minute Jake Cutter is talking to Major Henry in what appears to be nearly midday sunlight. The camera angle changes, and we see Jake watching Major Henry lead off the mounted team of Rangers, but now they are all casting fairly long shadows. Then the action goes back to Paul Regret, but now the sunlight indicates somewhere close to mid-day. This random shifting of sunlight and shadow lengths repeats throughout the Schofield scene.

    * Anachronisms: When McBain is interrogated Major Henry states that McBain's guns had been stolen from Fort Sill and that McBain had served five years in Yuma Territorial Prison. As the film is supposedly set before 1848, neither is possible. Yuma Territorial Prison was opened in 1876, while Fort Sill was first established in 1869. Both occurred after Texas lost its independence and became a state.

    * Revealing mistakes: When Capt. Cutter handcuffs Paul Regret in his bed on the boat after as he wakes him up, one end of the handcuffs is simply resting around the narrowing end of the bedpost with nothing holding it there. To make matters worse, at the end of the scene when Capt. Cutter gives Paul Regret his suit to Don, he takes out his key to undo the cuffs as though they just can't be pulled right off the top of the bedpost.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Dead Horse Point State Park - State Highway 313, Moab, Utah, USA
    Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah, USA
    Kings Bottom, Utah, USA
    La Sal Mountains, La Sal, Utah, USA
    Professor Valley, Moab, Utah, USA
    Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, Arizona, USA
    (credits sequence)

    Watch the Trailer:-


    Previous discussion:-
    The Comancheros

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 7 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • The Comancheros is a 1961 Western Deluxe CinemaScope color film
    directed by Michael Curtiz and John Wayne
    based on a 1952 novel of the same name by Paul Wellman.
    The film starred John Wayne and Stuart Whitman

    One of my favourites, and I really enjoy this film.
    It's great entertainment full of fun, and lots of action.
    Duke more convincing in his authorative type role,
    made a great Texas Ranger.
    This was the start of him having no love interest,and establishing a pattern
    for later films.
    He was now 54, his hair had grown thin, and he was having trouble controlling his weight.
    Duke's screen image, was now shifting to that, of a mature hero, one of enduring strength,
    who observed younger mens, love affair, with understanding and a touch of humour.
    The chemistry between, Duke and Stuart Whitman was obvious,
    apart from The Longest Day, it's a pity they didn't make a another feature, together.
    Lee Marvin, was cast brilliantly as 'Crow', and it's a shame
    he was only on the screen, for about 10 minutes.
    Jack Elam, added his usual, character part.
    It is also interesting in the Stunts section,
    to see the Canutt family, so involved.

    Over all a pleasant, undemanding, watchable bit of fun,

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Dull, uneventful, poor acting, bad script and poor story lines are words and phrases that should not be associated with this terrific movie.

    The first thing that stands out about this movie is the sharp, witty and intelligent dialogue that enriches each scene.

    Elmer Bernsteins excellent musical score enhances the movie and gives the movie an edge over many other westerns.

    John Wayne is superb in this film playing one of his most tradional characters and illustrating effectively what what he stood for and embodied.

    Stuart Whitman is on fine form next to the Duke and Lee Marvin makes a good cameo appearance as Tully Crow.

    In addition to all this the storyline is slick and wel directed with plenty of great dialogue, bad guys and shootouts.

    Along with El dorado I think this is John Waynes most traditional movie and it features the best shootout of any Duke movie right at the end.

    Make sure you watch this movie, you wont be disappointed.



  • It has been awhile since we've watched this movie. I do remember that it seemed that the farther they got into the comancheros hideout, the less likely it seemed they'd be coming out, although the Duke is pretty good at saving the day.

    At Deep Discount DVD, the movie is available individually and as part of a boxed set; they also have a movie poster.

    In addition to having the movie in both DVD and VHS, Amazon also has a soundtrack CD, a collector's knife set and the book by Paul Wellman.

    Chester :newyear:

  • Hi,
    I have been researching all the threads, back to the startt 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 Comancheros, and the John Wayne Tree


    Hondo Duke Lane
    post Feb 14 2004, 05:07 AM

    This is the first film that Duke did after his production of The Alamo. Duke almost went broke making that movie, and needed a lift after disappionting release of it. The Comancheros did the trick and help Duke out of a financial diaster in 1961. The Alamo brought him a little money back, but it caused him a lot of heartache.

    Cheers, Hondo B)

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Quote

    Originally posted by cookiequilts@Sep 23 2006, 04:02 PM
    In the comancheros, when Lee Marvin was shot, what was Waynes response to, "are you sure you killed him?"


    I think his reply was: "There wasn't time not to." Or something like that. Good line by the way and, welcome to this nice forum.

    One of my favorite John Wayne quotes is from the movie: El Dorado-where he plays the character: Cole Thornton. This is when he and Colorado (James Caan) first get into town (at night) and go over to the Sheriff's office where they are first challenged by and then recognized by: Bull--who is played by Arthur Hunnicut. They go inside the jail and Cole is told wher the drunken sheriff is (Robert Mitchum) and Cole goes into the cell, grabs a bucket of water-tossing it all onto the sheriff.

    The sheriff spits, coughs and sputters saying: "What the hell are you doing here?" to which John Wayne says: "I'm looking at a tin star with a drunk pinned to it." I just love that line.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • thanks, thats what my husband thought he said...I thought it was, "I wasnt trying not to!" there any place I could find out for sure?

  • Quote

    Originally posted by cookiequilts@Sep 23 2006, 05:12 PM
    thanks, thats what my husband thought he said...I thought it was, "I wasnt trying not to!" there any place I could find out for sure?


    Howdy Cookiequilts, and let me give you a big HOWDY and WELCOME to the best John Wayne site in the world. I wish I could tell you where to go and find the dialog, but all I can suggest is to watch the film. We have so many knowledgeable folks here, that I am sure someone will be of better help than me.
    Colorado Bob

    "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them" It may be time worn, but it's the best life-creed I know.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Colorado Bob@Sep 23 2006, 09:12 PM
    Howdy Cookiequilts, and let me give you a big HOWDY and WELCOME to the best John Wayne site in the world. I wish I could tell you where to go and find the dialog, but all I can suggest is to watch the film. We have so many knowledgeable folks here, that I am sure someone will be of better help than me.
    Colorado Bob


    thanks...we did but disagreed on what he said...I guess we will just have to watch it again and again...not a problem!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Robbie@Sep 24 2006, 12:52 PM
    The line is defently 'There wasnt time not to'.



    thanks! I will tell my husband that he was right and make an appointment to have my hearing checked! thanks again!

  • Hi cookiequilts,

    and WELCOME to the JWMB.

    Thanks for your post, and you maybe interested,
    there are dedicated threads for Duke's Movies,

    Here is the link for


    there are more memorable qoutes, in that thread.

    Best Wishes,

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • this site is awesome! thanks Keith!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by The Ringo Kid@Sep 23 2006, 01:50 PM
    This is when he and Colorado (James Caan)


    Not to be picky but James Caan played Mississippi...

    Ricky Nelson played Colorado in Rio Bravo...

    You can roll a turd in powdered sugar but that doesn’t make it a doughnut.

  • Pretty soon, you're gonna catch on that I'm not your friend!

    One of the great lines from an enjoyable western, it makes it into my JW ton ten movies, good turns by Whitman & marvin, decent story-telling and a star turn by Duke

  • Chester I think your poster is better, with regards to Arthur's picture I don't feel the image looks anything like John Wayne.

    John C regarding that line within "The Comancheros," the exact statement was "And pretty soon you're gonna catch on I aint your friend!".

    Sorry I'm a real nitpicker.