Vera Cruz (1954) 1080p

Movie Poster
Vera Cruz (1954) 1080p bluray - Movie Poster
Adventure | Western
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
94 min
IMDB Rating:
7.1 / 10 
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Directors: Robert Aldrich [Director] ,

Movie Description:
After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico to fight in their revolution for money. The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin and his men, and together they are hired by the Emperor Maximillian and the Marquis Henri de Labordere to escort the Countess Marie Duvarre to the harbor of Vera Cruz. Ben and Erin find that the stagecoach is transporting three million U.S. dollars in gold hidden below the seat, and they scheme to steal it. Along their journey, betrayals and incidents happen changing their initial intentions.


  • Vera Cruz (1954) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 1
  • Vera Cruz (1954) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 2
  • Vera Cruz (1954) 1080p bluray - Movie Scene 1

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For a Few Dollars More...

This is the film I'd been waiting for and I wasn't disappointed at all. It's true that Burt Lancaster was the "star" (after all, it was his production) and Gary Cooper was pretty much there for show, but there were some wonderful supporting roles as well and the film had an undeniable verve. At this time in his career Robert Aldrich was making history, particularly with his influence on the "spaghetti westerns" that followed this one and "Kiss Me Deadly" which stopped Mike Hammer, Mickey Spillane and the whole crew dead in their tracks. "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" started a trend as well and is still by far the bunch of that lot. It's easy to see why this is considered a cult film.

Very cruzy

I first saw this film in 1955; it was the sort of movie I lived for back then. Compared with movies such as "Three Coins in the Fountain" and "Good Morning Miss Dove', which I also saw around the same time, "Vera Cruz" was an island of refuge in a sea of ennui for an eight-year old boy.

Now that my movie horizons have broadened a little, most of those old war movies and westerns seem very one dimensional if not totally unwatchable these days.

But there are exceptions, and "Vera Cruz" is one of them. After a recent viewing I can appreciate it's panache and even touches of brilliance.

The story follows a group of American adventurers in Mexico during the Juarista revolution against the French imposed rule of Emperor Maximillian. Ben Trane (Gary Cooper) teams up with Joe Erin (Burt Lancaster), and it seems they are prepared to help whichever side pays the most money.

They initially join forces with the French, but later change to the Juaristas. They have the opportunity of getting away with three million dollars in gold, but Ben Trane becomes emotionally attached to the Juarista cause, while Joe Erin only has an emotional attachment to himself and the money - a showdown is inevitable.

It would be hard to accuse the characters in this film of being one-dimensional because they are so over-the-top. They also bring a lightness of touch without which the whole thing would be pretty heavy going. With a witty script, and the perfect cast, director Robert Aldrich hit all the right notes with this film.

All the actors playing the French turned the ham knob up high. Ceasar Romero is charming, urbane and duplicitous. Henry Brandon's close-cropped captain is superbly arrogant, and has some great lines with Joe Erin. When he sees Joe greedily tearing into a whole chicken at a banquet, he comments, "Your acquaintance with etiquette amazes me monsieur, I had no idea you knew which hand to use". Of course their association was bound to end badly.

As a scheming countess, Denise Darcel femme fatales all over the place, and George Macready as Maximillian delivers yet another variation on his unique brand of cultivated evil - this time with a gnome-like beard.

But it's Burt Lancaster who steals the show. With that coiled spring grace and those clipped sentences, he exudes a sense of danger despite overdoing the famous grin in just about every scene.

Against all those fireworks, Gary Cooper wisely underplays. He gets the girl at the end -played by beautiful Spanish actress Sarita Montiel - despite looking old enough to be her father plus some.

The Jaurista cause is seen in a positive light, and the whole film was shot in Mexico, often with Aztec ruins as a spectacular backdrop. If any group is cast in a bad light it is the American adventurers who are uncouth and bad-natured almost to a man.

The action sequences are superbly staged although there is little evidence that the human body contains eight pints of blood - despite the carnage, the whole affair is quite bloodless.

"Vera Cruz" is a movie without any agenda other than to entertain, and it does that with style. Like most movies of the era, the filmmakers didn't let historical accuracy or cultural sensitivities get in the way of telling a good story.

Simply Superb!! Precursor to modern thriller/westerns

The trivia page for this film on IMDb captures three essential elements of this movie that makes it a true precursor to virtually countless modern thrillers and spaghetti westerns: 1) The SuperScope process predates the Techniscope process of the Leone Westerns by nearly a decade. 2) The quick cuts and full frame closeups adds incredible momentum to the action and suspense and predates Dr. No and the Connery Bond films by more than half-decade. I mean I cannot think of later Hollywood pics until the Europeans made the Bond films and the Leone westerns that actually used fast cutting and terrific banter between the hero and anti-hero to such great success (For a great example of an older movie, I would offer Carol Reed's The Third Man). 3) And as mentioned the pacing and the character build up and the final showdown predated the showdowns in the Eastwood/Leone westerns. For comparison watch Hang 'em High for the Hollywood western of that era that starred Eastwood following his three outings in Italy. Stylistically Hang 'em High is a snoozefest even though it had a compelling revenge motif and a brutal hanging to enliven the pace.

So what we have here is a wonderful western with Lancaster playing the charming but utterly sociopathic antagonist--quoting one Ace Hanna-- for life's hard lessons and Cooper playing an equally resolute good guy with a sense of humour and world weariness and smarts to see through Ace Hanna aphorisms into Lancaster's heart of darkness. The dialogue is razor sharp witty and the supporting cast of thespians playing their part perfectly. And at 94 minutes it is one heck of breathless ride. I love this movie!
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