The Conqueror (1956)

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The Conqueror (1956) Poster

Mongol chief Temujin battles against Tartar armies and for the love of the Tartar princess Bortai. Temujin becomes the emperor Genghis Khan.


3.6/10
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31 December 1998 | Scott-8
Worst Miscasting Ever
John Wayne is the consummate cowboy, only Clint Eastwood comes close to approaching the title. So it's really jarring to the sensibilities to see Wayne standing there in a Mongol costume and a cheesy "fu manchu" moustache spouting barbarian lines in his trademark western drawl. It's like seeing Alec Guinness start acting like Pee-Wee Herman; some serious misalignment of the heavens has happened and maybe that guy on the corner saying "the end of the world is nigh" was right.

That aside, "The Conqueror" plays like an epic Cecil B. DeMille movie, with epic lines, epic scenery, and epic music. Say what you want about modern cinema, recent movies as a whole tend to be better researched, with characters, clothing, and sets that are historically accurate. This movie makes it clear they had no concept what Genghis Khan and his time was like. People, Wayne included, simply say grandiose lines without any inflection, as if they had no idea how to act the part.

Through it all, I kept expecting Susan Hayward to claim she was an alien or had fallen through a time machine. I doubt very many 12th century Mogolian women had red permed hair and wore low cut dresses. "The Conqueror" is either one of the worst movies you ever saw or one of the funniest.

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