In Sonora, Mexico in 1880 , Rio (Marlon Brando , the character of Rio originally was based on Billy the Kid), his pal Dad Longworth (Karl Malden) and a third man, Doc (Hank Worden) are robbing a bank. As the bandits escape from the town with a loot . The bandits flee but the Mexican mounted police trail the bunch to the mountains . The mounted police follow and trap the bandits atop a desert hill (Death Valley that bears remarkable resemblance to Almeria desert where were filmed lots of Spaghetti) , with one of their horses shot . Their only option is for one of them to ride their single horse to a little post down the canyon and return with two fresh mounts . But Dad double-crosses him and flees . Rio is detained and locked in Sonora Prison but five years later he breaks out . Then Rio seeks vengeance against his former friend Dad who lives now as a sheriff married to a Mexican woman (Katy Jurado) and an adopted daughter (Pina Pellicer who sadly committed suicide a few years later) .
Riveting Western with psychological tones is stunningly performed , richly photographed and well directed , though overlong . Marlon Brando took over the reigns of filmmaking by first and only time . Very good performances from main duo : Brando as an obstinate revenger and Karl Malden who steals the show as his double-dealing former partner . Superb support interpretations from Ben Johnson , Timothy Carey , and Slim Pickens , Katy Jurado , both of whom a few years later played as an intimate couple in ¨Pat Garret and Billy the Kid¨. Lively and adequate musical score by Hugo Friedhofer . Striking cinematography by Charles Lang , being Paramount's last release in VistaVision and filmed on location in California , the following places : Cypress Point, Pebble Beach,Death Valley National Park, Monterey Peninsula,Pebble Beach, Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, Seventeen Mile Drive, Warner Ranch, Calabasas, California, USA.
Marlon Brando's inexperience behind the camera was obvious on set , he took the direction from Stanley Kubrick, who originally was slated to direct the film. He shot six times the amount of footage normally used for a film at the time , he was indecisive in his only filmmaking effort and ran extremely overlong in getting the film finished , in spite of the problems , the film resulted to be visually striking and with interesting character study . Marlon Brando's first cut of the film was allegedly five hours long. He was reportedly unhappy with the final product, despite its box-office success , Paramount eventually took the film away from him and re-cut it as Marlon Brando's original cut of the movie was over five hours long . Rating : Better than average despite troubles during filming and the result is a terrific outing in this Western genre .
13 out of 14 found this helpful