The Wonderful Country Having fled to Mexico from the U.S. many years ago for killing his father’s murderer, Martin Brady travels to Texas to broker an arms deal for his Mexican boss, strongman Governor Cipriano Castro. Brady breaks a leg and while recuperating in Texas the gun shipment is stolen. Complicating matters further the wife of local army major Colton has designs on him, and the local Texas Ranger captain makes him a generous offer to come back to the states and join his outfit. After killing a man in self defense, Brady slips back over the border and confronts Castro who is not only unhappy that Brady has lost his gun shipment but is about to join forces with Colton to battle the local raiding Apache Indians.
Wonderful Country, Wonderful Movie
So many times the title of the movie misleads the viewer. Not in this case. The title “Wonderful Country” perfectly describes this movie. The desert photography and imagery of frontier Texas and Old Mexico is almost overwhelming.
With a few exceptions, I have never been a Robert Mitchum fan, but this role brings out those qualities in him that have always attracted the fans. When commenting on his acting ability, he once said, “I only know two ways to act. With or without a horse.” This is a great example of how to act with a horse. As a matter of fact, one of his co-stars in this movie IS his horse.
The story somewhat routine. Mitchum flees across the Rio Grande as a youngster after killing the man who killed his father. There he becomes a pistolero in the employ of a couple of corrupt brothers who control that part of Mexico. On a gun buying trip north across the border, he is thrown by his horse and is unable to return to Mexico. While in Texas he meets and falls for the wife of the military governor played by Julie London, in probably her only significant role. As he recovers, he is involved in another shooting and finally escapes back to Mexico, where he is falls out of favor with his patrons for losing the guns.
It isn’t the story that makes this movie. It’s the photography. It’s the musical score and Mariachi orchestration. It’s the touching performances of all the principal players. It is a BIG movie. The dusty majesty and corruption of Old Mexico along with the personal imagery of everyday life is riviting. In my opinion, this movie rates right up there with other Western giants like: Shane, The Searchers, Stagecoach, and a half dozen others. This is a movie that would be best seen on the big screen. Do it – if you ever get the chance.