During the 1920s, French Foreign Legion Major William Foster's unit is protecting an archaeological dig, but the discovery of an Arab sacred burial site prompts the angry Arab tribes to attack Foster's small garrison.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes an endurance horse race: 700 miles to run in a few days. 9 adventurers are competing, among them a woman, Miss Jones, a Mexican, an Englishman, a young cowboy, an old one and two friends, Sam Clayton and Luke Matthews. All those individualists will learn to respect each other. Written by
Power lines and a modern sodium vapor street light are visible at the train station. See more »
I heard your newspaper is running an honest race.
You heard right, Mr. Gebhardt.
Who the hell handicapped this owlhead as the favorite?
The smart money!
That's what we come to get.
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Overwhelming and spectacular horse race marvelously shot on gorgeous locations
Sensational Western excellently acted , marvelously photographed and well screen-written with fine eye by Richard Brooks . It deals with some aging riders as Hackman , Coburn and Ben Johnson who get chance redeem themselves along with a young gunslinger , a Brit lord , a Mexican and an ex-whore . The film was based on a real , endurance race at the turn of the century ; it was inspired by the 1908 , 700-mile cross-country horse race from Evanston , Wyoming to Denver , Colorado. It was sponsored by the Denver Post , which offered $2,500 prize money to the winner . At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes a grueling horse race : 700 miles to run in a few days . A bunch of ex-rough riders and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert . The motley group of disparate adventurers are competing , among them a woman , ex-prostitute (Candice Bergen) , Miss Jones, a Mexican , an Englishman (Ian Bannen) , a young gunslinger (Jan-Michael Vincent) , an old one (Ben Johnson) and two friends , Sam Clayton (Gene Hackman , though Charles Bronson turned down the leading role) and Luke Matthews (James Coburn) . All those individualists learn to respect for each other and develop a grudging and growing friendship .
An overlong and dangerous horse race is the subject of this stunning and grand adventure , an epic in every sense of word . Impressive and breathtaking ending with the finalists terminating the grueling race . Exciting , funny and well acted , especially by Gene Hackman and James Coburn as two tough , two-fisted riders . Special mention to Ben Johnson as a veteran rider in his last feat . Colorfully photographed in Technicolor and Panavison by Harry Stradling Jr in Valley of Fire State Park and its Coyote Pass and Deah Valley (Nevada), Chama, New Mexico , Lake Mead, Taos , Nevada, White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, New Mexico . Exceptional and thrilling soundtrack by Alex North (Cleopatra, Spartacus) , now a classic score .
Directed and screen-played with magnificent style by Richard Brooks . He was a fine writer/director so consistently mixed the good and average which it became impossible to know that to expect from him next . Firstly he worked regularly as a Hollywood screenwriter . After that , his initial experience of directing was one of his own screenplays called ¨Crisis¨. The Richard Brooks films that have the greatest impact are realized during the 50s and 60s as ¨Cat on a hot tin roof¨, ¨Something of value¨ , ¨Elmer Gantry¨, ¨Sweet bird of youth¨, ¨In cold blood¨ , ¨Lord Jim¨. Brooks was a writer and director of Chekhovian depth , who mastered the use of understatement, anticlimax and implied emotion . His films enjoyed lasting appeal and tended to be more serious than the usual mainstream productions . Richards formerly directed another good Western titled ¨The professionals ¨ also with various tough stars as Burt Lancaster , Lee Marvin , Jack Palance and Robert Ryan , including the same musician , Alex North , and similar outdoors . The ¨Bite the bullet¨ is an authentic must see , not to be missed for buffs of the genre . A magnificent movie , hardly noticed for its theatrical release ; however , being nowadays very well considered . Rating : Above average because of its awesome acting , dialog , score are world class.
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