Vera Cruz (1954)

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    Photo with the courtesy of Gorch

    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico
    to fight in their revolution for money
    The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane
    meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin
    and his men, and together they are hired by the
    Emperor Maximillian
    and the Marquis Henri de Labordere to escort the
    Countess Marie Duvarre to the harbor of Vera Cruz.
    Ben and Erin find that the stagecoach
    is transporting US$ 3,000,000.00 in gold hidden below the seat
    and they scheme to steal it. Along their journey, betrayals and incidents
    happen changing their initial intentions.
    Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Full Cast
    Gary Cooper ... Benjamin Trane
    Burt Lancaster ... Joe Erin
    Denise Darcel ... Countess Marie Duvarre
    Cesar Romero ... Marquis Henri de Labordere
    Sara Montiel ... Nina (as Sarita Montiel)
    George Macready ... Emperor Maximillian
    Jack Elam ... Tex
    Ernest Borgnine ... Donnegan
    James McCallion ... Little-Bit
    Morris Ankrum ... Gen. Ramírez
    James Seay ... Abilene
    Henry Brandon ... Capt. Danette
    Archie Savage ... Ballard
    Charles Bronson ... Pittsburgh (as Charles Buchinsky)
    Charles Horvath ... Reno
    Jack Lambert ... Charlie
    Juan García ... Pedro
    Ketty Clavijo ... Night Club Dancer (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Roland Kibbee (screenplay) and
    James R. Webb (screenplay)
    Borden Chase (story)

    James Hill .... producer
    Harold Hecht .... co-producer (uncredited)
    Burt Lancaster .... co-producer (uncredited)

    Original Music
    Hugo Friedhofer

    Ernest Laszlo (photography by)

    Charles Bronson and Ernest Borgnine decided to go for cigarettes during filming. This meant saddling up in costume, side arms and all, and riding to the nearest town. On the way, the pair was waylaid by a truck full of armed Federales who mistook them for bandits and held them at gunpoint.

    The first film to be made in the SuperScope process.

    One of the first major Hollywood films to be made on location in Mexico. Film-making legislation in Mexico meant that a local director had to be involved in the production in some capacity, though he wasn't actually used.

    First film released in the "Superscope" wide screen process. Shot at a conventional 1.37:1 aspect ratio, the film was cropped to 2:1 in post production and then given a Cinemascope compatible (2x) squeeze and blown up to normal frame height. Superscope was designed to acheive anamorphic prints from standard flat 35mm negatives. The MGM dvd approximates the 2:1 release print aspect ratio. Superscope was the fore-runner to "Super 35".

    One of Robert Aldrich's personal favourites of his films, he particularly enjoyed the fact that it had a hero and an anti-hero.

    Produced by Burt Lancaster's own production company for $1.7 million, it went on to become a sizeable hit, grossing over $11 million.

    Burt Lancaster was quite happy to cede top billing to Gary Cooper, knowing that the older actor had more box office pull than he did.

    For a film made in the mid 1950's, this film has quite fast cutting rate. In 90 minutes of action, the film contains about 1130 edits and other transitions. This equates to an average shot length of just under 5 seconds.

    Eli Wallach has said that the Mexican government was so upset about the negative portrayal of Mexicans in the film that they insisted that the making of The Magnificent Seven be monitored by censors.

    This film is sometimes called the "first spaghetti western," due to its reputed influence on the Italian directors such as Sergio Leone who popularized the genre.

    Burt Lancaster recalled that Gary Cooper would object to anything in the script that implied his character was anything other than good, and demand it be changed.

    Clark Gable warned Gary Cooper not to work with Burt Lancaster, saying, "That young guy will blow you off the screen." Ironically, Gable himself later worked with Lancaster in Run Silent Run Deep.

    Gary Cooper was taking so much medication that he was impotent for the duration of filming. He also hated working with Sara Montiel, whom he claimed smelled bad and never washed her hair.

    The Mexican authorities were appalled at the way their citizens were depicted in the film so any subsequent Hollywood productions had to conform to some strict rules. This explains why in The Magnificent Seven, the locals are all wearing pristine white clothes.

    Gary Cooper was badly hurt when he was struck by fragments from a bridge that had been blown up and the special-effects team had used too much explosives.

    Although portrayed by 54-year-old George Macready, the real Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico was only 34 when he died.

    Anachronisms: Joe's saddle gun, a "new, Winchester repeating rifle", is an 1872 model; since the film is set "just after the American Civil War", to be correct, the gun should be a Henry "Yellowboy", circa 1864. (The earlier weapon had no wooden forearm stock and a brass receiver; the rifle Joe carries has a steel receiver and the wooden stock.)

    Revealing mistakes: When the wagon train is ambushed by the Juarezistas in a town, they make a break for it, fanning out and riding over an expansive field. The wagon tracks from previous takes are all visible in the grass.

    Continuity: When Emperor Maximillian is checking out the Winchester, his chest sash has a large golden Mexican eagle which repeatedly disappears and reappears between shots.

    Audio/visual unsynchronized: Joe Erin says "Always did like kids. How about you, General?" to General Ramírez, who replies "Certainly" without opening his mouth.

    Errors in geography: The very first scene was clearly shot in the town of Tepoztlan (State of Morelos), as apparently was a significant portion of the movie. Why the group would then choose to go north through Teotihuacan (past the Pyramids) in order to reach Veracruz (which is located on the East Cost) is beyond me, as it wouldn't make any sense at all. That's the equivalent of going from Des Moines to Minneapolis in order to reach Chicago.

    Continuity: When the caravan stops overnight and Cooper guards the stagecoach with the gold in it, as Lancaster approaches the stagecoach we can see Cooper looking inside and then he closes the door and starts to turn toward Lancaster. However, the scene immediately cuts to Cooper still looking inside the stagecoach and turns around in surprise to find Lancaster right behind him.

    Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The name of the Mexican city was originally two words, but now it is officially one word: Veracruz. However, at the time of the movie (in the late 1860s) both Vera Cruz and Veracruz were in common use.

    Revealing mistakes: The French lancers are using what appear to be disguised Model 1904 U.S. Army MaClellan saddles.

    Anachronisms: During the rifle marksmanship display at Maximillians ball, they use Pittsburghs rifle, a winchester 1894 which did not exist in 1866. Also the Americans carry colt SAA pistols not available until 1873.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Chapultepec, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
    Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
    Estudios Churubusco Azteca, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
    Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Vera Cruz starred Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster,
    and featured Denise Darcel, Sara Montiel, and Cesar Romero.
    It was directed by Robert Aldrich from a story by Borden Chase.
    The film's amoral characters, Mexican setting, and cynical attitude towards violence
    (including a scene where Lancaster's character threatens to murder child hostages)
    was considered shocking at the time, and influenced future Westerns such as
    The Magnificent Seven, The Wild Bunch, and the films of Sergio Leone.


    Considered to be the first spaghetti western,
    Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster were cast brilliantly together.
    Look out also for Jack Elam and a young Charles Bronson.

    User Review


    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • This is one of the great westerns in the sub genre of American adventurers/gunfighters in Mexico. "Magnificent Seven", "Wild Bunch", "The Professionals", "Rio Conchos" and lesser entries such as Two Mules for Sister Sara", "Undefeated" and "Major Dundee" soon followed.
    But this, along with "Treasure of Sierra Madre" was one of the first that hit all the right notes. It had breath-taking scenery (even if they did take the long way around to show the pyramids); high adventure; a wonderful cast; exciting action scenes; and perhaps most importantly, a terrific sense of humor. The music score is unmemorable and the female supporting stars are less than capable but the real story here is the relationship between Joe Erin and Ben Trane anyway. I plan on viewing it again after being reminded of it.
    Thanks Keith.

  • The story of Borgnine and Bronson going for smokes in full costume and getting stopped by Federales reminds me of a story I heard the late Jim Backus tell on Johnny Carsons Tonight show years ago. Backus was one of the cast members of the movie Androcles And The Lion made back around 1950. Also in the cast were Victor Mature and Alan Young. During a lunch break, Mature and Backus decided to go to some little cafe to eat off the set and in full Roman soldier costumes, armor included. When they walked to and sat down to order, everybody in there just stared at them unbelievingly. Finally, Mature broke the ice, when he said, "what's the matter, don't you serve members of the armed forces"?

  • As I've said repeatedly, I love Westerns and Lancaster and Coop were two of my favorite actors. However, I just didn't care much for this movie.

    De gustibus non est disputandum

  • i really enjoyed this movie.great cast,great location.i think burt lancaster acted gary cooper off the screen,especially with that smile

  • a classic! always liked Gary Cooper.

    Thank you for posting them Keith.

    Also, I always liked Gary Cooper too. That title card is my favorite of the batch ;-)) I love it-would make a great poster or something for a t-shirt.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • Love Burt's teeth and they are in almost every image.
    Kid, there are 8 11-14 lobby cards according to my pressbook. You're missing a posed shot of the two stars together with their onscreen girlfriends. You should be able to pick it up as a single on-line.

    We deal in lead, friend.

  • Love Burt's teeth and they are in almost every image.
    Kid, there are 8 11-14 lobby cards according to my pressbook. You're missing a posed shot of the two stars together with their onscreen girlfriends. You should be able to pick it up as a single on-line.

    We deal in lead, friend.

    Thank you B, and I too love it when you see him bare his teeth. My favorite LC is the title card. I htink this set is missing Nr 7? Also, with all gratitude to you and credit, YOU, were the one who rekindled my interest in collecting them. Prior to getting the ones I got in 09 and 10, the last time I actively collected them, was at least 10 or more years earlier-and even then I only got an image here and there. I found some great dealers in Calif who sell at great prices im my opinion, and ill be buying from them till they quit selling ;-))

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..