Thursday, October 18, 2018

50th Anniversary of “Guns for San Sebastian”

Today marks the 50th Anniversary in Rome, Italy of the release of “Guns for San Sebastian”, directed by  Henri Verneuil and starring Anthony Quinn, Charles Bronson and Anjanette Comer and takes place in 1743 Mexico. Pursued by government troops, the bandit Léon Alastray seeks sanctuary in a Franciscan church. When Father Joseph refuses to hand over Alastray to the authorities, he is banished to San Sebastian, a small village situated in Indian territory. Alastray has no choice but to accompany his benefactor, dressed in the habiliments of a monk. The two men are surprised to find the village practically deserted, most of its inhabitants having been killed or driven away by hostile Indians. After Father Joseph is shot dead by an Comanchero, Alastray takes his place and helps the remaining villagers to defend themselves against Indian attacks while also fending off Teclo and his Comancheros who are actually behind the attacks.

This is a story driven western but one that moves along well and features some good acting by main players Quinn, Comer, Jaffe and Bronson. Quinn hiding out in the Mexican village wants only to be left alone and detests the Mexican villagers. When he’s thought to be a priest and one who can unite the farmers against the rule of the Yaquis lead by Golden Lance who are really just doing the bidding of Teclo. When Quinn is tortured and left to die he decides to help the peons not only for their sake but for his own revenge.

The score is one of Morricone’s hidden gems and the Mexican scenery is gorgeous in spots. Some don’t classify this as a western because it comes to early in settlement of Mexico. If you didn’t know what year it was supposed to be taking place it could be 1880 as far as I’m concerned.

La bataille de San Sebastian - French title
Les canons de San Sebastian - French title
Los cañones de San Sebastian - Mexican title
I cannoni di San Sebastian - Italian title
Slaget ved San Sebastian - Danish title
San Sebastian tykit - Finnish title
Due Hölle von San Sebastian - German title
San Sebastian - German title
Ta kanonia tou San Sebastian - Greek title
Harc San Sebastianért - Hungarian title
Strzelby dla San Sebastian - Polish title
Os Canhões de San Sebastian - Portuguese title
Kanone vid San Sebastian - Swedish title
San Sebastian’in toplari - Turkish title
San Sebastian - U.K. title
Raging Warrior - U.S.A. title
The Guns of San Sebastian - U.S.A. title
Guns for San Sebastian - U.S.A. title

A 1967 French, Mexican, Italian co-production [Cipra Films (Paris), Ernesto Enriquez (Mexico City), Filmes Cinematografica (Rome)
Producer: Jacques Bar
Director: Henri Verneuil (Achod Malakian)
Story: "A Wall for San Sebastian" by William Barby Faherty
Screenplay: Serge Ganz (Serge Gance), Miguel Morayta (Miguel Martinez), Ennio De Concini
English Dialogue: James R. Webb
Cinematography: Armand Thirard [Metrocolor, Franscope]
Music: Ennio Morricone
Running time: 115 minutes

Story: A legendary Mexican bandit poses as a priest in the desolate village of San Sebastian to escape prosecution by the Mexican army. He uses his connections to get guns and help the local peasants fight the Yaqui Indians and their halfbreed advisor.

Léon Alastray - Anthony Quinn (Antonio Quinn)
Kinita - Anjanette Comer
Teclo - Charles Bronson (Charles Buchinsky)
Father Joseph - Sam Jaffe (Shalom Jaffe)
Felicia - Silvia Pinal (Silvia Hidalgo)
Felipe Cayetano - Jorge Martínez de Hoyos
Golden Lance - Jaime Fernández
Agueda - Rosa Furman
Vicar General - Leon Askin (Leon Aschkenasy)
Antonito - José Chávez (José Trowe)
Colonel Calleja - Ivan Desny (Ivan Desnitskij)
Governor - Fernand Gravey (Fernand Mertens)
Father Lucas - Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. (Pedro Bohr, Jr.)
Pedro - Jorge Russek
Magdalena - Aurora Clavel
Diego - Julio Aldama (Julio Turrubiates)
Luis - Ferusquilla (José Espinosa)
Kino - Pancho Córdova (Francisco Córdova)
Renaldo - Enrique Lucero
Miguel - Chano Urueta (Santiago Rodriguez)
Captain Lopez - Noe Murayama
Timoteo - Guillermo Hernández
Bishop - Francisco Reiguera (Francisco Pérez)
Pablo - Carlos Berriochea
Pascual - Armando Acosta
Villagers - Guy Fox, Rico López, Emilio Fernández (Emilio Romo), Paul Smith, Jean Paul Moulinot

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