In the cactus-studded Mexican backcountry of the 1860s, a surly drifter who could easily be mistaken for the Man with No Name becomes protector and lethal helpmate to a red-haired nun wanted by the French for aiding the Juarista revolutionaries. Essentially a two-character showcase for the newly stellar Clint Eastwood
and what was beginning to seem the poststellar Shirley MacLaine
(subbing for Elizabeth Taylor), this sardonic study in testy collaboration, mutual deception and distrust, and slightly creepy sexual attraction is highly rated by a fairly small number of critics--chiefly, one suspects, for the dual-auteur cachet of having been directed by Don Siegel and based on a story by Budd Boetticher. Others deem it an undersauced spaghetti Western and find that the stars grate on the viewer as well as each other. Cinematography by the great Gabriel Figueroa is some consolation, but... if only Boetticher had been allowed to direct. --Richard T. Jameson
Old Mexico, occupied by the French, is a magnet for American mercenaries, looking to make a fast buck in the lawless country. One such gold-digger (Clint Eastwood) shows his fundamentally noble nature by saving a 'nun' (Shirley Maclaine) from being raped. She turns out in fact to be a prostitute, and the odd couple team up, facing continual confrontation with the French forces.
Starring Clint Eastwood as mercenary gunfighter Hogan, Two Mules for Sister Sara
opens with its star saving a naked women from being gang-raped. He's more than a little surprised when the attractive woman, Sister Sara (Shirley McLaine), dons a habit. It seems she's deeply committed to a group of Mexican revolutionaries fighting against the French. Hogan agrees to escort her to the camp, since he's interested in helping them attack the French garrison, if the money is right. As they travel, Hogan becomes a bit suspicious of the nun's fondness for cigar smoking and the odd shot of whiskey. Near Santa Maria, Hogan's attempt to blow up a French ammunition train is foiled by an arrow in the shoulder, but after bandaging him, Sara helps the mercenary set off the planted charge with a rifle. When they reach the camp of Juarista commander Col. Beltran (Manolo Fabregas), Sister Sara displays a detailed knowledge of the layout of the French garrison while revealing her true identity, which comes as a surprise to no one but Hogan. This action-comedy includes some very funny moments between the stars, and the photography by Mexican national treasure Gabriel Figueroa is marvelous.