Major Dundee (1965)

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    There are 89 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by Hondo Apache.

    • Major Dundee (1965)



      Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas

      Information from IMDb

      Plot Summary
      During the last winter of the Civil War, cavalry officer Amos Dundee
      leads a contentious troop of Army regulars,
      Confederate prisoners and scouts on an expedition into Mexico
      to destroy a band of Apaches who have been raiding U.S. bases in Texas.
      Written by scgary66

      Full Cast
      Charlton Heston ... Major Amos Charles Dundee
      Richard Harris ... Captain Benjamin Tyreen
      Jim Hutton ... Lieutenant Graham
      James Coburn ... Samuel Potts
      Michael Anderson Jr. ... Trooper Tim Ryan
      Senta Berger ... Teresa Santiago
      Mario Adorf ... Sergeant Gomez
      Brock Peters ... Aesop
      Warren Oates ... O.W. Hadley
      Ben Johnson ... Sergeant Chillum
      R.G. Armstrong ... Reverend Dahlstrom
      L.Q. Jones ... Arthur Hadley
      Slim Pickens ... Wiley
      Karl Swenson ... Captain Waller
      Michael Pate ... Sierra Charriba
      John Davis Chandler ... Jimmy Lee Benteen
      Dub Taylor ... Priam
      Albert Carrier ... Captain Jacques Tremaine
      José Carlos Ruiz ... Riago (as Jose Carlos Ruiz)
      Aurora Clavel ... Melinche (as Aurora Clavell)
      Begoña Palacios ... Linda (as Begonia Palacios)
      Enrique Lucero ... Doctor Aguilar
      Francisco Reiguera ... Old Apache (as Francisco Reyguera)
      Whitey Hughes ... Confederate Trooper (uncredited)
      Cliff Lyons ... (uncredited)
      Jody McCrea ... Lt. Brannin (uncredited)
      Marvin Miller ... Opening Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
      Dennis Patrick ... (uncredited)
      Rockne Tarkington ... Jefferson (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Harry Julian Fink (story & screenplay)
      Oscar Saul (screenplay) and
      Sam Peckinpah (screenplay)

      Original Music
      Daniele Amfitheatrof
      Christopher Caliendo (2005 restored version)

      Sam Leavitt

      During the filming of this movie, Sam Peckinpah was so obnoxious and abusive towards his actors that Charlton Heston physically threatened the director with a sabre. Heston later remarked that this was the only time he had ever threatened anybody on a movie set.

      The studio wanted to fire Sam Peckinpah but Charlton Heston convinced them not to, when he threatened to return his $400,000 fee and pull out of the project.

      Lee Marvin was Sam Peckinpah's initial choice for the role of Samuel Potts, but Marvin wanted too much money. Marvin's agent suggested 'James Coburn' for the part, and Coburn ultimately got the role.

      Woody Strode was considered for the part that went to Brock Peters. Strode was part Native American and he wrote in his memoirs that he didn't get the part because he was told by Sam Peckinpah that he looked too much "like a half-breed" to play the part.

      Shooting on the movie was wrapped up early by studio executives, in the interest of controlling costs, before some important scenes were filmed. Charlton Heston offered to return his entire salary for the movie if the studio would agree to film the opening scene - the massacre of soldiers and civilians by the apaches - and some re-shoots. The studio kept his paycheck and never allowed any more footage to be shot anyway.

      After the success of Sam Peckinpah's later The Wild Bunch, Columbia told him that they would allow him to re-shoot parts of this film that had been cut from the release version. Peckinpah, naturally, declined the offer.

      Sam Peckinpah had been pitching a movie about Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, because he thought it was fascinating how Custer became a glorious, immortal American hero after being defeated in battle and killed. Nothing ever came of it, but Peckinpah thought the story of "Major Dundee" to be similar enough, and took this job instead.

      The script was originally written with John Ford in mind to direct, but Ford was busy working on Cheyenne Autumn and in any case was uninterested.

      Average Shot Length (ASL) = 4.7 seconds

      The role of Capt. Tyreen was intended for Anthony Quinn, who pulled out.

      Sam Peckinpah originally wanted Lucien Ballard, with whom he had had a good working relationship on Ride the High Country, as the director of photography, but producer Jerry Bresler refused the request, making him work with Sam Leavitt, whose credits included Diamond Head, a previous Bresler production, and Cape Fear. Although Leavitt did get along fairly well with Peckinpah, this was the first sign of tension between the director and the producer.

      Despite his quarrel with Sam Peckinpah, producer Jerry Bresler fought very hard with Columbia to keep the 136-minute cut (the "Extended Edition" now on DVD) despite its poor reception at its preview, but was rebuffed by the studio.

      L.Q. Jones narrates the trailer for the re-release of the extended version.
      Share this
      Many of the actors who came to be known as the "Sam Peckinpah Stock Company" appeared in this film and four years later in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch: Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, L.Q. Jones, Dub Taylor, Aurora Clavel, Enrique Lucero.

      Tyreen's quote, on finding Dundee in Durango, 'Awake for Morning in the bowl of night has cast the stone that puts the stars to flight ...' , is from the 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam', translated by Edward Fitzgerald

      According to both Paul Seydor's book PECKINPAH: THE WESTERN FILMS, A RECONSIDERATION, and David Weddle's book IF THEY MOVE, KILL 'EM, MAJOR DUNDEE was originally budgeted at $4.5 million and scheduled for seventy-five days of principal photography, which was appropriate for a road-show release. But only two days before Sam Peckinpah, his cast and crew were to star filming in Mexico, a change in the top brass at Columbia occurred, and the new regime cut the budget down by $1.5 million, and the schedule down by fifteen days, making it a standard western release. As could be expected, Peckinpah considered this an act of extreme betrayal.

      Continuity: In the final battle, Captain Tremaine is struck by Tyreen and falls from his horse into the river, but in the very next shot he is back in the saddle.

      Factual errors: Prior to the final battle, Captain Tyreen is shown inserting cartridges into what should be a muzzle loading pistol.

      Factual errors: The type of howitzer used by Lieutenant Graham in the M1841 12 pounder Mountain Howitzer, a small but effective piece used primarily as horse artillery. In the final battle, Graham orders that the piece be elevated to 28 degrees; the highest level that can be reached for this piece is ten degrees.

      Factual errors: In the final battle, the French lancers signal their charge with an American bugle call.

      Anachronisms: At the end of the battle attempting to cross a river, one of the black soldiers is shown easily carrying the howitzer in his arms. The man would have to be very strong, as the barrel of a 12-lb. Mountain Howitzer would have weighed over 220 pounds.

      Continuity: When Ryan and Linda are talking to Tyreen and Dundee in the village, she has a bright red shawl wrapped completely round her, But in the shot as she and Ryan walk away, the shawl has dropped off her shoulders and is held around her upper arms.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico
      Churubusco Studios, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico (studio) (interiors)
      Cuaútla, Morelos, Mexico (exteriors)
      Durango, Mexico
      El Saltito, Durango, Mexico
      Estudios Churubusco Azteca, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico (studio) (interiors)
      Guerrero, Mexico
      La Marquesa, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico (ranch: Rostes)
      Marquesas, Mexico
      Mescala, Mexico
      Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
      Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
      Morelos, Mexico
      Nuevo León, Mexico
      Rio Balsas, Guerrero, Mexico (finale: battle)
      Tehuixtla, Morelos, Mexico (exteriors)
      Tequesquitengo, Morelos, Mexico (exteriors)
      Tlayacapan, Morelos, Mexico
      Vista Mermosa, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico (exterior)

      Best Wishes
      London- England

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

    • Re: (New Review) Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      Major Dundee written by Harry Julian Fink and directed by Sam Peckinpah,
      starred Charlton Heston and Richard Harris as officers from opposing sides
      in the American Civil War who band together to hunt down a band of Apaches.

      This film has recently been mentioned in other threads,
      so hence this review
      A few of Duke's 'Pals' amongst the star studded cast,
      notably Ben Johnson, Jim Hutton,
      Slim Pickens, Karl Swenson, Dub Taylor, Cliff Lyons ..

      User Review

      18 August 1999 | by Eric-62-2 (Morristown, NJ)
      The first half of "Major Dundee" is gripping and fascinating. The problem is that the second half doesn't deliver on the build-up. The whole point is supposed to be the pursuit of the Apache, yet the film spends more time getting sidetracked from all this, in particular the scenes of Dundee's injury and descent into drunkenness (and did we really need Senta Berger, since her role is really pointless, despite the visual scenery she adds?) and when the Apache is found, it happens too abruptly. Fascinating supporting characters disappear or are downplayed too much in the second half, and the ending is too abrupt as well. Since the expedition ends up returning after the surrender of Lee and the end of the War, I was surprised there was no scene of Dundee returning to the Fort and offering a final reflection on Tyreen. The film literally cried out for it.

      Charlton Heston felt that Dundee should have been more about the issues of the Civil War and had they stuck to this approach all through the film we might have had a great film instead of a merely good one.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

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

    • Re: (New Review) Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      The reviewer quoted above pretty much sums it up. This film was rolling along until the Senta Berger character shows up. I understand that the studio demanded a love interest that she had overseas box office drawing power, but Sam should have declined the interference. She's fine in the part but the character belongs in a different movie.
      The movie is still enjoyable and interesting and Heston plays a conflicted and pig headed role instead of some noble, faultless icon.
      The extended cut DVD with the new soundtrack is the only way to watch this one. It contains about 15 more minutes and replaces the terrible original score (the French army scenes sounded like "Three Blind Mice").
      The film is still incomplete though, with several scenes that were filmed but since lost.
      Fans still debate whether the opening massacre was ever filmed. If Larry or anyone else has photos to post they could settle the issue.

      We deal in lead, friend.
    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      A somewhat underrated movie with a good cast, headed by Charlton Heston and Richard Harris, whose chemistry is perfect in the movie. Now that we have the extended cut, I feel it should get some more respect than it currently enjoys among fans and critics.

      It still amazes me that Heston gave away his salary to help the movie out. What a man.
    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      Ben and the stuntman were probably afraid to look at Begonia (Liz) Palacios. She married director Sam Peckinpah who could cut them out of the movie.

      Someone showed this photo to Lupita Peckipah, daughter of Begonia Palacios and Sam Peckinpah, and she confirmed the lady in the photo is NOT Begonia Palacios. In fact, she has no idea who it is. So the mystery reasserts itself. :)
    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      Perhaps the lady's name is (or was) Liz Palacios, but even so she is not related to Begonia's family,which actually was named "Palacio" without the "s." (Begonia added the "s" to her name -- this information also from her daughter Lupita.)
    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      Twilight Times' blu ray of Major Dundee will be released on 4/9/13. It has been confirmed that it will be a two disc set, but the contents are still unknown. My own suspicion is that both versions of the film will be provided.

      This is limited to a pressing of only 3,000, so if you want one, better pre- order it when it becomes available.

      We deal in lead, friend.
    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Major Dundee (1965)

      Gorch wrote:

      Twilight Times' blu ray of Major Dundee will be released on 4/9/13. It has been confirmed that it will be a two disc set, but the contents are still unknown. My own suspicion is that both versions of the film will be provided.

      This is limited to a pressing of only 3,000, so if you want one, better pre- order it when it becomes available.

      We deal in lead, friend.

      Where did you see this Bill. I've got most of the twilight time releases and go on the sea website often and couldn't see mention of it? Same goes for the blu ray box set with pillars and Saskatchewan in it?
      Post links if you can.
      I hope you're not kidding, it's not April 1st for quite a while!:wink_smile:
      "Pour yourself some backbone and shut up!"