22 April 2017

TWO RODE TOGETHER. (1961) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




TWO RODE TOGETHER. (1961) DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD. BASED ON THE NOVEL 'COMANCHE CAPTIVES' BY WILL COOK. STARRING JAMES STEWART, RICHARD WIDMARK, SHIRLEY JONES AND LINDA CRISTAL.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'… and when he's finished with you, he'll sell you to one of the other bucks for a good knife or a bad rifle...'

I've always thought that this film is one of the greatest Western movies ever made. Certainly it stars two of the finest (and sexiest!) actors of the genre, James Stewart and Richard Widmark.

Oddly enough, the film wasn't a commercial success in its day and, by all accounts, Jimmy Stewart and the director John Ford weren't exactly bosom buddies either on or off the set, but I've personally always considered this to be one of my favourite Westerns.

Actually, some of my other favourite Westerns also star these two lads. The blonde and quirkily handsome Richard Widmark was the star of the excellent wagon train movie, WAGON TRAIN, the story of some pioneers trying to get from point A to point B in the Old West without being massacred by Native American Indians. Richard Widmark steps up and attempts to lead the pioneers who haven't already lost their scalps to safety.

He shared some beautiful scenes in this with his female co-star Felicia Farr, who in turn had shared some devastatingly sexy moments with Glenn Ford in positively my all-time favourite Western movie, 3.10 TO YUMA. If you haven't yet seen this film and you dig the Western genre, you really should try to find it and watch it.

In the movies about the Old West, it's obvious that life was cheap and you had to take your pleasures where you could find 'em. Therefore, instantaneous attractions between men and women were not uncommon and could become really intense really quickly. You had to roll with the punches or you lost your chance, if you follow my delightfully mixed metaphors.

That's how it happens with Felicia Farr and Richard Widmark in THE LAST WAGON, between Ms. Farr and Glenn Ford in 3.10 TO YUMA and between Richard Widmark and the gorgeous blonde Shirley Jones in TWO RODE TOGETHER. 

There's a love-at-first-sight thing going on between Widmark's character Lieutenant Jim Gary and Jones's Marty Purcell. So much so, in fact, that by the end of the movie they... Well, I guess that that's for me to know and for you guys to find out, haha.

James Stewart,  star of films like Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO, ROPE and REAR WINDOW, 
has not gone without his share of attractive females while acting in the Western genre. In another of my favourite Westerns, BANDOLERO, he and his on-screen brother Dean Martin both vie for the attentions of Raquel Welch's stunning widow character, while robbing banks and fighting off los banditos. Excuse my Spanish, it's non-existent. Ay ay ay...!

Anyway, we could rabbit on about other Westerns all day or we could talk about TWO RODE TOGETHER. It's such a good film. James Stewart, my all-time favourite actor ever, plays Guthrie McCabe, the Marshal of a small Western town in the 1880s.

He has a pretty cushy number going on there, all things considered. Nothing much happens in the way of law-breaking beside the occasional drunk-and-disorderly, and he's got a deputy to deal with that kind of thing.

There's not much to do, therefore, besides sit on the porch of his girlfriend's saloon and be fed and watered by her. He's not exactly thrilled, then, when his friend in the Army, Lieutenant Jim Gary (played by Widmark), turns up and tells Guthrie he's got to go with him to see Jim's superior, Army Major Fraser. What's this all about, anyway?

It turns out that Guthrie and Jim have got to ride out to the nearby Comanche tribe to buy back some of the white captives they've kidnapped over the years. Some of the distraught
white families who've lost family members that way have waited long, agonizing years for any news of their loved ones. 

The beautiful and feisty Marcy Purcell lost her little brother to the Comanches several years ago and all she has to remind her of him is the tune from a music box he once loved.

She and Jim Gary fall instantly in love so Jim is quite happy with his mission. After all, it got him a girlfriend, didn't it? Guthrie McCabe, however, thinks that the whole mission is a waste of time, even though he's being handsomely paid for it by the Army.

If the captives are even still alive, he reasons, and it's a very big 'if,' they'll have been so completely assimilated into the Comanche tribe by now that their own families wouldn't even recognise 'em anymore.

I always find myself a little taken aback by the rough way in which McCabe so brutally informs the shocked Marty of what to expect if she ever comes face-to-face with her brother again.

'He'd rape you quick as look at you and when he's done with you, he'd sell you to one of the other bucks for a good knife or a bad rifle.'

That's always been one of the stand-out scenes for me. He actually said 'rape,' a word you didn't hear that often in a Jimmy Stewart movie. Except, of course, for ANATOMY OF A MURDER, the film that's all about a rape and a rapist, haha. 

His own Dad got really miffed at him for making this film about such a distasteful subject, apparently, the film in which his son James Stewart clearly holds up a pair of womens' knickers and calls 'em 'panties' for everyone to hear...!

You can just imagine how the girl Marty feels on hearing all of this horrible stuff about her little brother, though, can't you? Certainly, Lieutenant Jim Gary wants to punch McCabe's lights out for speaking so cruelly to the girl. Cruel or not, however, there's more than a smidgeon of truth in what McCabe says but I'll say no more on the matter, heh-heh-heh.

The other stand-out scenes, for me, are as follows: the two lads riffing off of each other on the river-bed, gabbing about money, Sheilas and the Comanches, and the still beautiful and dignified Elena de la Madriaga telling a roomful of nosy, judgemental old bitches about the 'joys' of living as a Comanche wife. She shuts those prattling mouths with a few well-chosen words straight from the heart.

This excellent Western, which is every bit as good in my opinion as the director's other film, THE SEARCHERS, starring John Wayne (personally, I prefer TWO RODE TOGETHER), is out now on special release from THE MASTERS OF CINEMA SERIES and EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT. 

It's on Blu-Ray now for the first time in the UK in a special Dual Format Edition and it even comes complete with some spiffing extra features, that's how worth buying and watching it is.

If you're a fan of the Western genre at all, then I promise you that you'll love TWO RODE TOGETHER. The combination of James Stewart and Richard Widmark works really well and there's some stunning cinematography to boot. Cowboy boot, haha.

Yep, cowboy boots and ten-gallon hats and rifles and horses and saloons and more fisticuffs than you can shake a stick at. It has everything that a good Western should have, and then some. So long for now, pardners. As we say here in Ireland, may the wind be always at your back and the road rise to greet you. Or, to simplify, go n'eiri an bothar leat, a chairde...! 

  AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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