26 November 2002 | Dejael
Classic Melodramatic Historical Romantic Drama.
Set in Spanish New Mexico in 1700, this wonderful Technicolor production is full of romance, intrigue, action and adventure. The three principals in the cast, Jack Palance, Barbara Rush and Rex Reason, all shine in this studio vehicle for star Jack Palance, who is terrific in the lead role, with style, sex appeal, and a good Spanish accent. (In real life, Palance is full-blood American-born Russian-Ukrainian, his real name is Vladimir Palanuik. He speaks six languages.) Rex Reason, looking very handsome and distinguished in a real mustache and beard, was especially good in one of his better costume character roles as the Duke of Montera, viceroy of the Spanish territories, sent to accompany Princess Lucia by the Spanish crown; Reason took lessons to learn how to swordfight from Basil Rathbone and had a fine swashbuckling action scene in a fight with Jack Palance's El Tigre. Good but typical melodramatic plot development as the Duke is in love with Lady Lucia but is unable to express his love for her, while El Tigre smolders with passion in every scene. Lovely Martha Hyer is on hand in beautiful period costumes as well. Filmed partly on location in the southwestern deserts, but mostly studio-bound, this was a lavish and colorful Universal costume drama. A fine, rousing adventure and a fiery romance. Sadly, many Universal pictures of the 1950s and 1960s are still unavailable on home video. Universal should be ashamed of themselves for not releasing this great film on video, and DVD as well.