Thursday, Oct 2020
Director: Andrew McLaglen
Screenwriters: James Lee Barrett from a Lewis B. Patten novel
Length: 110 minutes
Released: 1969

the undefeated filmThe Undefeated is a big movie. There is a big cast, a big score, and big herds of horses. There are big Western stars and big football stars. Sadly, the super-sizing doesn't make a super movie. The film falters for some reason. Could it be the chemistry between John Wayne and Rock Hudson? They are cast as opposing Colonels from the North and South during the Civil War. Yet Colonel Langdon (Rock Hudson) and Colonel John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) do not click. Maybe it is Hudson's attempt at a southern accent that throws the Duke off....

Foremost among The Undefeated's supporting cast is Ben Johnson. As he usually does, Johnson lifts the film. Harry Cary Jr. and Paul Fix also lend a hand. Several pop cowboys make an appearance in The Undefeated. Roman Gabriel, the 1969 NFL MVP quarterback (LA Rams) is cast as the full blood Indian, Blue Boy (fortunately, Gabriel's acting career includes The Undefeated and only one other movie, Skidoo (1968)). Merlin Olsen also takes time off from the gridiron to appear in The Undefeated.

The Duke is once again in charge of the film. He gives the movie a patriotic flair as he celebrates the country and its men in uniform (be it blue or gray). And the omnipresent score by Hugo Montenegro is grand and well done.

The story is loosely based on Confederate General, Joseph Orville Shelby's post civil war march to Mexico. During the war, General Shelby organized Missouri's Iron Brigade. A troop that included Jesse and Frank James. After the war, he moved his band south to fight in support of emperor Maximilian. Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson) is the Shelby figure. The fictitious, Colonel John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) is concurrently driving 3000 horses to Mexico to sell to the emperor. The characters and their histories join along the trail and their stories are commingled.

The Undefeated is an enjoyable movie and a Good Viewer.

Cast:

  • John Wayne....Colonel John Henry Thomas
  • Rock Hudson.... Colonel James Langdon
  • Antonio Aguilar .... General Rojas
  • Roman Gabriel.... Blue Boy
  • Marian McCargo.... Ann Langdon
  • Lee Meriwether.... Margaret Langdon
  • Merlin Olsen.... Little George
  • Melissa Newman... Charlotte Langdon
  • Bruce Cabot.... Sgt. Jeff Newby
  • Jan-Michael Vincent... Lt. Bubba Wilkes
  • Ben Johnson ...Short Grub
  • Edward Faulkner.... Capt. Anderson
  • Harry Carey Jr..... Webster
  • Paul Fix....General Joe Masters
  • Royal Dano.... Major Sanders
  • Richard Mulligan... Dan Morse
  • Carlos Rivas ....Diaz
  • John Agar.... Christian
  • Guy Raymond.... Giles
  • Don Collier.... Goodyear
  • Big John Hamilton.... Mudlow
  • Dub Taylor.... McCartney
  • Henry Beckman.... Thad Benedict
  • Víctor Junco.... Major Tapia
  • Robert Donner .... Judd Mailer
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