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Friday, September 14, 2012

Captain From Castile (1947)

In 1518 Spain, a young nobleman (Tyrone Power) and his family are victims of the brutal Inquisition. After his 12 year old sister (Dolly Arriag) is tortured to death, with the help of a friend (Lee J. Cobb), the family escapes. But Power and Cobb, along with a peasant girl (Jean Peters), sail to the New World on Hernan Cortez's (Cesar Romero) expedition to Mexico. Based on the best selling novel by Samuel Shellabarger, this is a genuine sprawling film Epic. Even pushing the 2 1/2 hour mark, the film utilizes only the massive novel's first half and ends before Cortez meets the Aztec leader, Montezuma. But boy is this an impressive looking film. Stunningly filmed on location in Mexico with a cast of thousands (reputedly almost 20,000), all in gorgeous three strip Technicolor by Arthur Arling and Charles Clarke (criminally not nominated for Oscars) that you wish the film had been shot in 70 millimeter! Visually, the film's last four minutes with minimal dialogue, only Alfred Newman's stirring score, is reminiscent of Gance's NAPOLEON finale. The acting honors go to Cesar Romero as Cortes, not portrayed very sympathetically, in the best part he ever had. Directed by Henry King. With John Sutton, Barbara Lawrence, Thomas Gomez, Jay Silverheels, Alan Mowbray, Roy Roberts and Marc Lawrence.

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