The Deserter aka The Devil’s Backbone

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Army deserter Capt. Viktor Kaleb is offered a pardon and reinstatement in the cavalry if he agrees to lead a special forces group in a raid against an Apache stronghold into Mexico. A savage renegade and the chosen few… they followed him into Hell just for the chance to kill him!

ACTORS :  Bekim Fehmiu, Richard Crenna, Chuck Connors

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1971

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The Deserter aka The Devil’s Backbone  Bitter over his wife’s death due to what he believes was army negligence, Capt. Viktor Kaleb deserts the cavalry and disappears into the southwestern wasteland. But when marauding Apaches set up a stronghold just out of the cavalry’s reach in Mexico, Kaleb is given amnesty in exchange for leading a small band of especially trained soldiers to wipe out the Indian

One of the Best Westerns Ever

The Deserter aka The Devil’s Backbone  I first saw this film on Television in the 80s. Seeing it even now, it still feels like an excellent film, thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable.

It has everything: a great story, solid acting, great action, good humour and just a totally badass feel.

The story revolves around an army officer who loses his wife to dacoit-apaches and then deserts the army to live in the wild. He is then recruited years later by general Miles to help them find and destroy Magnus Tanarngo an Apache warlord who is building a massive apache army to wrest control of the entire US Suoth West.

Great acting by Bekin Feihmu as Captain Kaleb. Captain Victor Kaleb is way more badass than Rambo or the Terminator.

General Miles is played by the great John Huston. Great supporting cast with Richard Crenna (who ironically played COlonel Trautman to Rambo) and Ricardo Montblan. More great performances from Chuck Connors as the dynamite wielding priest Chapman. Tattinger the scout is also great.

Good music as well. The soundtrack has a jazz feel with more primitive sounding percussion. Very unique.

Superb characterization and narrative. Never a dull moment in this film. If you like Westerns or Actin films, this is a must watch.

Great Dirty Dozen style western

Really loved this film when I saw it on BBC1 way back in 1981, when I was the grand old age of 11. One of those films I always wanted to see on TV again, but it has NEVER been repeated on UK TV. However, I managed to pick it up on second hand video from e-bay, and wondered how it would stand up today, over 20 years after I saw it. The verdict? Still great. True, it is dated in parts (Music, editing) but these are really minor complaints on the whole. The lead character is great; really ruthless and a true anti-hero. Some great supporting cast also; with some really unexpected moments. And it takes it’s time getting to where it’s going, which I feel a lot of todays films lack. In ‘The Deserter’, the characters are given time to breath, and it is not until well after the first hour that they inevitably start to die. This all leads up to an explosive last twenty mins, with some memorable scenes. If you love ‘guys on a mission’ movies, or westerns, see this little gem.

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