Friday, April 29, 2022

Vera Cruz

Some Words from My Sponsor (François Truffaut)

Robert Aldrich's violent 1954 film (the hand-made titles signify washes of blood) was the second western shot by (Harold) Hecht-Lancaster Productions, made possible by the success of their first collaboration earlier in the same year, Apache.

I'll use this space only to suggest you seek out Truffaut's 1975 collection The Films in My Life [Les films de ma vie] for the critic's precise 22-point breakdown in 1955 of Roland Kibbee's and James R. Webb's adaptation of Borden Chase's story. I'll quote a paragraph that follows this plot synopsis:

"Vera Cruz is built on the repetition of themes: two encirclements by the Juaristas; two thefts of the same loot; Cooper saves Lancaster's life and Lancaster Cooper's. I have left out the role of Nina, which is perfect: a) she is caught by a bandit's lasso; b) Cooper frees her by catching the fool with his lasso; c) Nina thanks Cooper with a kiss on the mouth d) during which she steals his wallet; e) as he starts to leave, she offers him an apple; f) he starts to reach for his wallet to pay for it, and g) she tells him "Don't bother; it's free"; h) later, they meet and Cooper scolds her for stealing his wallet. "Have you looked carefully for it?" He finds it in his pocket. It's Nina who brings Cooper to the Juaristas. In the next-to-last scene we see them walking toward each other. We don't see them in the last scene."

Truffaut concludes: "Some of [my colleagues], understanding nothing at all of [Vera Cruz], denounced it as pompous and childish. It was Victor Hugo who asked, "Who are all these children, not one of whom knows how to laugh?""


Other writing about Robert Aldrich at Cinemasparagus:


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