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The Singer Not The Song

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Product details

  • Actors: John Mills, Dirk Bogarde
  • Directors: Roy Baker
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: DD HE
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MOVII2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,434 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


John Mills and Dirk Bogarde star in this powerful and passionate clash of wills between an Irish Priest and a bandit leader in a small Mexican town. The bandit vows to destroy the priest, while the priest in turn believes it is his mission to save the bandit's soul. When violence fails, the priest's nemesis devises an even more diabolical scheme to destroy him with the unwitting help of a beautiful young landowner's daughter.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By chris mac on 24 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
Apparently Brando or Monty Clift were the prefered choices to play the priest, John Mills got the part and he and Bogarde did not get on and the lack of chemistry shows on screen. However this film is worth watching for the sheer bizarre spectacle of Bogardes over the top homoerotic performance, its all a little bit surreal and rather compelling all the same. The great pity of this DVD is that it is not full widescreen but a panned and scanned version. The location photography(Spain doubling as Mexico) is quite stunning but but not fully appreciated in this cropped version, Im not sure why a panned and scanned movie can still be released in this day and age, I mean how many people are buying old square screened TV sets? I would give it five stars if it was widescreen, just a shame its not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Merget on 22 July 2013
Format: DVD
This isn't so much a review as an aside which may amuse someone. But if you are thinking of reading Audrey Erskine Lindop's original novel please don't read this first!

About 45 years ago this film was shown on TV and, since it starred good old John Mills as an Irish priest, the nuns at our school didn't see any harm in letting the sixth form boarders watch it - at least till 10pm, when Locha was just about to walk up the aisle and the telly was, as always, switched off without mercy or argument. I was a day girl, so next morning I supplied the rest of the story.

The hint of homoeroticism, though quite lost on the dear sisters, was perfectly obvious to eighteen year old girls in 1968. We wondered if Mr Bogarde had introduced the theme off his own bat and Mr Mills hadn't been informed - certainly, the actors didn't seem to be acting in the same picture. We were intrigued enough to get the novel out of a local library.

To our surprise the book is about the priest (not the bandit) gradually becoming aware that he is homosexual. He has no empathy at all with women (easily misreading Locha, for instance) and loves only his sister till he is bowled over by the first sight of lawless Anacleto - whereupon his unacknowledged feelings lead to his desperate need to talk with the bandit and try to save his soul. Apart from the fact that there's no sex the book is rather like a precursor of `slash fiction' (which is also, I believe, mainly written by women). It's not a masterpiece of literature. At the end the priest adopts a stray black kitten that seems to be inhabited by the dead Anacleto's personality and lives happily ever after. Things spelt out are so much less fun than things hinted. We were disappointed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "filmfogey" on 27 May 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is possibly the weirdest film ever to emerge from the Rank Organisation inasmuch as it seems oblivious to the full import of its own implications like some exotic bloom steadfastly cultivated in an English nursery. On the one hand it's a brightly-coloured Spanish Western with bandits and gunfights, on the other a darkly rippling tale of unrequited and impossible love, some of it openly declared and some of it not. Catholic priest Father Keogh arrives by bus in a little Mexican town to take over the flock from an older colleague who's being forced out by anti-clerical tearaways led by Anacleto. The local police would like to put him away but lack evidence or witnesses against him and seem content to let him 'reign' provided he doesn't rock the boat too much. Anacleto and the good Father see a challenge in one another, the priest to reclaim the sinner, the bandit to find out what his opponent's really made of. After an attempt on Keogh's life fails the bandit pursues a more insidious tack. He discovers that a local girl, Locha, has fallen in love with the priest and uses this knowledge to trap the other man into an emotional involvement which the priest acknowledges. Keogh agrees to capitulate to Anacleto's power in the town but afterwards breaks his word and denounces him from the pulpit. Taken into custody Anacleto is rescued by his gang and a gun-battle ensues in the main square. As bullets fly the bandit is fatally injured and the priest is shot by one of the gang as he administers the last rites. Both men die together in a strange 'reconciliation', Anacleto pretending to respond to the ritual in order to comfort the priest. Names like Brando and Burton were in the frame at one time apparently but the film was eventually cast from contract-artistes.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD
This film gets my vote as the most weird western ever made. It has gained a cult following due to Dirk Bogarde's camp over the top performance as a homosexual gunfighter dressed up in very tight fitting black leather pants, with the very fetching name of Anacleto. Bogarde must have been delighted at the prospect of donning such daring attire and strutting his stuff. Rank would have liked Marlon Brando or Montgomery Clift for the role but settled on Bogarde. Filmed in Spain the film was a precursor to the 'loony tunes' excesses of the Spaghetti westerns also filmed in Spain. Billed as "A new and powerfully different kind of motion picture story", it is certainly different all right!

John Mills is the priest with an Oirishy/Oxbridgey sort of accent who gets dropped off in a lawless small Mexican town which is terrorised by Bogarde and his gang of thugs. His gang are the most unconvincing bunch of villains you are ever likely to come across. The Milky Bar Kid was a hell of a lot scarier! Bogarde and Mills inevitably clash, with the priest trying to show the errant Anacleto the error of his ways. But Anacleto is having none of it, and conspires to bring the priest down. Matters as always are complicated in the form of a very beautiful young girl who falls for our hard pressed priest. We head to one of the more melodramatic over the top cinematic endings you will ever see.

The film is a contemporary western, so we get to see a few cars trundling about. The idea for the film may have been inspired by the writings of Graham Greene who wrote a travel book about Mexico in the thirties called "The Lawless Roads" which highlighted the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico.
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