The Professionals


Action / Adventure / Western


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January 26, 2016 at 03:51 PM



Burt Lancaster as Dolworth
Lee Marvin as Fardan
Jack Palance as Raza
720p 1080p
849.18 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 8 / 16
1.77 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 7 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jpdoherty 8 / 10

Lancaster - The Whirlingist Dervish Of Them All!

Columbia Picture's epic adventure THE PROFESSIONAS (1966) is a classic western and ranks among my top ten favourites. But for some strange reason this exciting colourful romp is often omitted from "great westerns" discussions. Perhaps it's the setting - or the fact of it not having the quintessential unknown cow-town that is marshaled by an idealistic but embattled lawman who along with his crotchety old deputy is in constant conflict with the powerful local rancher and his cowhands. And climaxing with the rancher sending for the fast gun to take on the Marshall. Of course with many variations these things are usually the ingredients of the classic western. But not so with THE PROFESSIONALS. Here we have an almost complete Mexican setting and four men - each with their individual skills - contracted to rescue a big rancher's wife being held by bandits south of the border. Based on the novel by Frank O'Rourke this completely engaging, beautifully constructed action packed adventure was written for the screen and expertly directed by Richard Brooks. The Oscar nominated Panavision cinematography came from the great Conrad Hall.

With an offer of $10,000 each, mighty rancher(Ralph Bellamy) hires four specialists - lead by Lee Marvin - to rescue his kidnapped much younger wife Maria (Claudia Cardinale) from the clutches of bandit leader Jesus Raza (Jack Palance). "Jesus - what a name.... for the bloodiest cutthroat in Mexico" declares Bellamy. Burt Lancaster is the explosives expert. Robert Ryan is the Wrangler and Woody Strode an expert with Long Bow. On the journey Lancaster is asked his plan with the explosives. With a wry smile he explains "Well I'll tell ye brother.....if we ever do get back to this canyon, I'll light this fuse...... we'll have ten seconds to get the hell out....and then dynamite, not faith, will move this mountain into that pass.... peace brother". When they eventually do manage to infiltrate the bandit's lair they set the charges and blow the place up but to their shock they find that Maria and Raza are lovers after all ("Brother we've been had") and doesn't want to be rescued. Forcibly taking her with them anyway they make a dash for the border with Raza's men in hot pursuit. After an exciting train chase and a terrific canyon gunfight they finally make it back to the rancher's meeting point with Maria and a wounded Raza. The picture ends with Marvin preventing Bellamy from killing Raza ("You haven't earned the right to kill him" Lancaster declares) and then sending Maria and Raza back to Mexico together on a buckboard.

Performances are terrific! Although Lancaster has top billing, Marvin has the leading role. He is the main protagonist around whom all the action centres and he turns in a splendid stern faced portrayal of the conscientious director of the operation. But disappointing is Robert Ryan who gives a rather subdued performance in a surprisingly underwritten role. Lancaster, on the other hand, is a total delight to watch and steals every scene he's in. This marked a very welcome return to form for the actor and brings to mind his much loved swashbuckling roles in "The Flame & The Arrow" (1950) and "The Crimson Pirate" (1952). Excellent too is Jack Palance in the unusual role of Raza the Mexican bandit leader and also the stunning Claudia Cardinale in her first American movie. Adding great atmosphere to the whole thing is the infectious music by Maurice Jarre. The french composer's score abounds with wonderful indigenous Mexican folk tunes giving the picture an engaging south of the border feel.

THE PROFESSIONALS is a top notch western adventure. A sublime and well polished example of the genre that has lost none of its sheen in almost forty five years.

Memorable exchange from THE PROFESSIONALS ;

Marvin to Lancaster, who is clad only in long-johns "You'll have to give up this practice of always losing your's undignified". And Lancaster's response " Yeah... it's drafty too".

Reviewed by A_Roode 8 / 10

One of the most beautifully shot and under-watched Western classics.

There are so many remarkable things about 'The Professionals.' Conrad Hall was the Director of Photography and was nominated for an Oscar -- he didn't win but he should have. The 1967 Oscar ceremony threw as many awards as it could to 'A Man For All Seasons.' I love watching big, beautiful, widescreen westerns and this is one of the best shot. Hall's use of camera filters, his incredible dust storm and his location scouting were all impeccable. I don't pretend to understand the mechanics of camera photography. I do know, however, when something looks gorgeous. 'The Professionals' is a stunningly beautiful film and it is a shame that it doesn't get a greater audience today.

The second remarkable thing is the quality of the cast. The top seven actors and actresses billed were top grade lead or supporting actors at one point in their careers: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale and Ralph Bellamy. It would be interesting to try and add up the number of Oscar nominated pictures and performances that the above group compiled throughout their careers. Even if these seven weren't enough, they get wonderful support from the gorgeous Maria Gomez and reliably ubiquitous Jorge Martinez De Hoyos. Jorge Martinez De Hoyos is a classic Mexican "Hey! It's That Guy!" supporting actor and I always welcome seeing him in a picture. He makes much out of a minor part as the goat keeper who wants to 'help.' The lead performances are terrific and well written. This may well be my favorite Woody Strode performance. He (as seemed to happen for him) doesn't get a lot to say, but the value of his character to the group of four professionals is unquestioned and undeniable. When Marvin wants an assault to look like an attack by the Federales, Lancaster may be the guy with the dynamite, but it is Strode firing explosive arrows that makes it happen. Some of his best work where he is a featured player. And I love that when the question of race is brought up by Bellamy, Marvin snorts with contempt that he would have trouble working with a consummate professional of any colour. Strode doesn't lead, but this was a very positive part and showed white and black relying on each other to get a mutual job done. Of the other leads I would add that Lancaster has the best part (much of the humour, action and girls), Marvin is amazing, and Claudia Cardinale is so stunning a beauty it hurts to look at her.

A tougher part was for Robert Ryan. He was maybe too good of an actor for a part that wasn't well written. Ryan is game but I thought his part as the horse handler wasted him. In his later years Robert Ryan was quite sick and he was sick during this production. I don't think he was the problem though. His character is sick for much of the film but as a person, one gets the impression that Ryan was still quite robust. His character doesn't seem to fit in as well or have anything to do. He is adrift. Maybe part of it comes from playing a character who values animal life over human. I say again though that in this movie he is good, but not right for the part.

'The Professionals' is an adventure film and Western filmed in the style of 'The Magnificent Seven' and a model itself for 'The Wild Bunch' which followed. It straddles the worlds of old Western and new Western. It has a moral ambiguity and over-arching plot which makes me think of the film as a kind of Western/Film-noir. When you look at the cast though, Lancaster, Marvin, Bellamy, Palance and of course Ryan were all noir stalwarts of varying degree. Maybe some of that quality is what attracted them to the script.

This is a great Western that doesn't quite reach the top tier where films like 'The Wild Bunch' sit, but it is high on the second level for me. The ending may not strike some as satisfying and I've seen it argued that this was an attempt with other Westerns to illustrate American interventionist foreign policy of the time. Those conclusions can be discussed by others because I think of the assault on the Hacienda, the time-buying duel in the canyon, Burt's use of explosives in the pass and a terrific opening credits instead. This is a great Western that has been unduly forgotten. I really wish it has won the Oscar for cinematography -- Oscars can make films more marketable and enduring. If you're a fan of Westerns, you're no fan until you've watched 'The Professionals.'

Reviewed by Tom Martin 8 / 10

Exciting Western film with an excellent script, veteran cast and plenty of action.

Although there's plenty of action in this Western, I believe that the action plays second fiddle to the script. Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Wood Strode and Robert Ryan are first rate as the four professionals engaged on a mission which is not all it seems. They are hired by rich mining man J. W. Grant (played by Ralph Bellamy) to bring back his kidnapped wife (played by Claudia Cardinale). She has been captured by Jesus Raza (played by Jack Palance). "Jesus. . .what a name for the bloodiest butcher in Mexico", says one of the characters.

The dialogue between the characters is crisp and often funny. In one situation where Lancaster has been hung upside down in his underwear by Raza's men, Marvin asks him why he keeps losing his pants. Occasionally the dialogue turns serious. Robert Ryan is shivering in the cold desert night and asks who can live in such a "hellhole". Marvin replies that you have to be as tough as steel. "Like you and Dalworth," Ryan replies. "No, men like Raza."

The professionals have a mission, but they respect their adversary. Perhaps they even like him. When they retrieve the wife, Marvin prevents Lancaster from killing Raza. Later, when Lancaster pins Raza down in a narrow canyon they visit about old times.

The movie was filmed in Death Valley and in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The colorful rocks and barren desert scenery are used to good effect in the film.

Although the plot is simple, the professionals' mission is not what it seems. They feel they've been set up at the very beginning when Woody Strode, a master tracker, finds the tracks of 10 horses who have been circling. They have obviously been waiting for them. This is only the beginning of the twists and turns in this movie. The film's imaginative plot is delightfully refreshing.

The professionals have a code. Sure, they can be bought. For $10,000 these men will risk the desert, bullets and other dangers. However, they won't go to any lengths to complete their mission. The code first manifests itself when Marvin prevents Lancaster from killing Raza. Later, Lancaster finds out "how a woman can be worth a hundred thousand dollars."

This film doesn't really have a serious weakness. The mix between action, humor and outstanding scenic backdrops makes this a much better than average Western. "The Professionals" is extremely fun to watch and the movie finishes with one of the best comic lines I've ever heard in movies. You won't forget it.

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