The Deserter (Ride To Glory) 1971, Burt Kennedy


(Squonkamatic) #1

Managed to catch this the other day under the re-release title of RIDE TO GLORY which sadly looked like a TV edit but it was a very grim, unrelenting movie. “Dirty Dozen Out West” is a very apt description. Bekim Fehmiu was OK, but Slim Pickens and Ricardo Montalban as a pair of army scouts came off great, Woody Strode looked about seven feet tall and bad as hell, Albert Salmi had a great meaningless death scene, and it’s always fun to watch Chuck Connors ape it up in another priceless gimmick role. Pretty violent little movie too, I was surprised to see that upon initial release it was rated GP for all ages: The movie starts off with the hero finding his wife hanging nude by her wrists (!!) barely alive after she’d been raped + SKINNED by bloodthirsty Apaches … and then for reasons that I really didn’t comprehend, he proceeds to put a bullet in her brain himself while Ricardo Montalban looks on approvingly. It’s fun for the whole family!!

One thing I did find odd about the film, and this may have been a continuity error due to the TV cuts, was that Bekim Fehmiu didn’t seem to do much avenging of his wife on the print that I saw. He just sort of splits off from the cavalry and goes to live in the hills for the hell of it until recruited for some suicide death mission, and never cracks a smile during the whole freaking movie. Maybe some scenes of him ruthlessly hunting down the guilty were removed: The runtime is credited at 100 minutes and the version I saw ran about 94, so there was definitely something missing, and it was weird to hear them trying to blank out the cuss words.

And then the gist of the plot was that this ragtag group of “volunteers” rides off into Mexico to more or less slaughter an Apache tribe that wouldn’t submit to the cavalry’s law. There wasn’t one light hearted comic relief moment in the whole movie though it is nearly impossible to listen to John Houston drawling his way through a dialog scene without cracking a smile. Huge cast, big budget movie, seeming to want to pick up where CUSTER OF THE WEST left off and give a big middle finger to the liberal revisionism of SOLDIER BLUE. You know a movie has sort of a cold, mean spiritedness to it when they kill off Slim Pickens just to make a point about how war is hell.

I’m not even sure that I actually enjoyed it so much as it was like a cathartic endurance test; you are along for the ride and death is a part of the package deal. I was exhausted when it was over and definitely desensitized by the violence. Definitely a western for the War on Terror years, somebody is missing the bus by not re-releasing this.


(Romaine Fielding) #2

[quote=“Squonkamatic, post:1, topic:1129”]Managed to catch this the other day under the re-release title of RIDE TO GLORY which sadly looked like a TV edit but it was a very grim, unrelenting movie. “Dirty Dozen Out West” is a very apt description. Bekim Fehmiu was OK, but Slim Pickens and Ricardo Montalban as a pair of army scouts came off great, Woody Strode looked about seven feet tall and bad as hell, Albert Salmi had a great meaningless death scene, and it’s always fun to watch Chuck Connors ape it up in another priceless gimmick role. Pretty violent little movie too, I was surprised to see that upon initial release it was rated GP for all ages: The movie starts off with the hero finding his wife hanging nude by her wrists (!!) barely alive after she’d been raped + SKINNED by bloodthirsty Apaches … and then for reasons that I really didn’t comprehend, he proceeds to put a bullet in her brain himself while Ricardo Montalban looks on approvingly. It’s fun for the whole family!!

One thing I did find odd about the film, and this may have been a continuity error due to the TV cuts, was that Bekim Fehmiu didn’t seem to do much avenging of his wife on the print that I saw. He just sort of splits off from the cavalry and goes to live in the hills for the hell of it until recruited for some suicide death mission, and never cracks a smile during the whole freaking movie. Maybe some scenes of him ruthlessly hunting down the guilty were removed: The runtime is credited at 100 minutes and the version I saw ran about 94, so there was definitely something missing, and it was weird to hear them trying to blank out the cuss words.

And then the gist of the plot was that this ragtag group of “volunteers” rides off into Mexico to more or less slaughter an Apache tribe that wouldn’t submit to the cavalry’s law. There wasn’t one light hearted comic relief moment in the whole movie though it is nearly impossible to listen to John Houston drawling his way through a dialog scene without cracking a smile. Huge cast, big budget movie, seeming to want to pick up where CUSTER OF THE WEST left off and give a big middle finger to the liberal revisionism of SOLDIER BLUE. You know a movie has sort of a cold, mean spiritedness to it when they kill off Slim Pickens just to make a point about how war is hell.

I’m not even sure that I actually enjoyed it so much as it was like a cathartic endurance test; you are along for the ride and death is a part of the package deal. I was exhausted when it was over and definitely desensitized by the violence. Definitely a western for the War on Terror years, somebody is missing the bus by not re-releasing this.[/quote]

Wow, I am stunned that this was rated acceptable for all ages. As you say, it’s a mean movie. You summed it up nicely.
I watched this sometime within the last year but I can’t remember when exactly.
It does have a great cast but I thought the script/story was just awful. About as far fetched as a serious western can get. It was amusing to see young Brandon De Wilde (little Joey from Shane) all growed up.
Bekim Femiu makes Anthony Steffen seem like the life of the party.
I have an Australian DVD of this. Can’t recall the run time.


(korano) #3

I had high expectations for this one but I didn’t like it.


(Bluntwolf) #4

I didn’t have any expectations and was surprised pleasantly. Good cast, high level of violence…

Well, the movie is by no means a masterpiece but I was entertained (almost=a few scenes go on for too long) throughout.

I watched a German VHS version of quite good quality (Die Höllenhunde=The Hellhounds).

Mimmo Palmara looks pretty silly as Chief Mangus Durango with bad make-up but doesn’t have much screen time anyway.

Quote:

Colonel Brown:“Do you want to inspect the Fort, General?”

General Miles:“Are you not well? You better show me where I can get a drink!”


(Bad Lieutenant) #5

Yeah, pretty good stuff.


(trezjr) #6

Everyone seems to have hit it pretty well on!!!

“Dirty Dozen Out West”–without the humor; okay, there is some (and not always where they wanted it!!!), but in true style the body count starts before the opening credits role.

Where this movie fails (as it typical in most) is in the writing. My God give these actors credit–if they are out in a 100-degree desert with a giant wind fan blowing sand into all their orifices I am not going to fault them!!! Poor Patrick Wayne doesn’t have a decent line/scene in the entire production!!! They must have all taken the money and ran.

A little more humor and a growing camaraderie among the characters might have riased the ranking on this film immensely, but, in truth, it was designed as a vehicle or Bekin Fehmiu (who was hot in Europe at the time) in an attempt to make him an international star.

It is a MUST for one viewing at least.

CD soundtrack by Piero Piccioni is out there is you want to look for it (I like it.). A rather poor VHS conversion to DVD is available from East/West DVD and can usually be picked up for a BUCK on eBay!!! Can’t beat that.

Just about every cast member’s career did recover nicely after this flick, except for poor Brandon deWilde’s.

This was Brandon deWilde’s (THIS is the correct spelling of his name) next-to-last film role. He plays out a rather poignant death scene succumbing in Bekim’s arms (a rare show of emotion from Bekim in this film) with Montalban reciting an Indian prayer over the body.

In real life deWilde himself died a violent death shortly thereafter in July of 1972.


(Stanton) #7

Real life is overrated