Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Undefeated

Entirely undemanding, rather bloated, and not so much politically suspect as drowning in soft soap, another turgid effort from McLaglen is just about kept afloat by the old-hand professionalism of Wayne and Hudson. The latter is nonetheless ill-at-ease as the stiff-backed southern colonel/patriarch leading his people to Mexico at the end of the civil war, but Wayne is in his comfortable late 60’s mode (having just won the Oscar for True Grit) and takes in his stride the Yankee ex-Colonel driving 3000 steers south to sell to the Mexican government. Some play is made of the conflict between patriotism and private enterprise, and reconciliation between North and South, but in too superficial a manner even to be offensive in its simple-mindedness; old lags Dano, Johnson et al are roped in for a sheen of authenticity, but the direction strives typically for greatness, and a desperate-to-please score and simplistic script contribute to the overall soullessness.

d Andrew V. McLaglen p Robert L. Jacks sc James Lee Barrett ph William H. Clothier ed Robert L. Simpson ad Carl Anderson m Hugo Montenegro cast John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Roman Gabriel, Melissa Newman, Antonio Aguilar, Merian McCargo, Merlin Olsen, Ben Johnson, Dub Taylor, Bruce Cabot, Jan-Michael Vincent, Harry Carey Jr, Royal Dano, Edward Faulkner
(1969, USA, 119m)

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