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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best western movies for all ages - MUST see
When I first saw this movie...many years ago on TV I loved it. I was so excited with the story, the scenery, the gunfights...I loved that smiling, black-dressed cowboy (Burt Lancaster) even though I didn't know who he was. The story goes as follows:
Gary Cooper (playing a decent, honest, gentleman cowboy) and Burt Lancaster (a selfish-antihero cowboy) portray...
Published on 24 May 2002

versus
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good film but...
Vera Cruz is a very good western but this is an awful DVD transfer. The film has been transferred at the wrong ratio (losing a good 20% of the image) and the image itself is dull and hazy, with colours blurring outside their lines. A film of this quality (just as a film I'd give it four stars) deserves a much better DVD release. I'd say only buy this if you are desperate...
Published on 12 Aug 2009 by Lawrence Sutcliffe


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best western movies for all ages - MUST see, 24 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Vera Cruz [DVD] (DVD)
When I first saw this movie...many years ago on TV I loved it. I was so excited with the story, the scenery, the gunfights...I loved that smiling, black-dressed cowboy (Burt Lancaster) even though I didn't know who he was. The story goes as follows:
Gary Cooper (playing a decent, honest, gentleman cowboy) and Burt Lancaster (a selfish-antihero cowboy) portray western adventurers, who after the American Civil War, are looking to hire out their guns to any cause that is willing to pay a price. The two characters are met by accident and ment to become friends and competitors at the same time. At first, the two agree to hire out to the Emperor Maximillan on an escort job, that involves taking a beautiful Countess (Denise Darcel) of the court to Vera Cruz. But something else is going on with this escort and Juaristas revolutionaries, loyal troops to the emperor, and a gang of cowboys are very interested in...GOLD.
Lots of exciting gunfighting, multible double crosses and betrayals, love stories, gold, all together with a magnificent One-on-One gunfight at the very end qualify this film as one of the best western movies ever made.
Burt Lancanser...even as a "bad guy" steals the show. A must-see for all ages.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIRE AND ICE, 5 Feb 2003
By 
Daniel S. "Daniel" (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vera Cruz [DVD] (DVD)
Robert Aldrich's VERA CRUZ is a movie I watch every two or three years from my childhood on. Dubbed in french, in pan & scan or even in black & white on my first TV set, no matter in what condition I've seen it, the film stayed as a favorite of mine. Now MGM presents it on DVD with a trailer and different dubbings and subtitles as bonus features. Meager. Furthermore, sound and images are in my opinion no more than average.
Coproduced by Burt Lancaster, VERA CRUZ gives to the actor the opportunity to present an extraordinary performance. Joe Erin is an outlaw with no morals, ready to cheat his friends. He is very fast with his gun and the two man-to-man duels of the movie are scenes worthy to stay in the annals of western movies.
Superb are also the scenes involving Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper, specially the evening at the emperor's residence or the first encounter between both men. I still can hear Lancaster say " Guess ! " with his overwhite teeth to a Gary Cooper asking him which horse belongs to him.
All in all, VERA CRUZ is a must for any movie lover even if the DVD presentation is far from being perfect.
A DVD for your library.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good film but..., 12 Aug 2009
By 
Lawrence Sutcliffe (Inverness, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vera Cruz [DVD] (DVD)
Vera Cruz is a very good western but this is an awful DVD transfer. The film has been transferred at the wrong ratio (losing a good 20% of the image) and the image itself is dull and hazy, with colours blurring outside their lines. A film of this quality (just as a film I'd give it four stars) deserves a much better DVD release. I'd say only buy this if you are desperate to watch the film.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awful Blu-Ray Transfer, 8 July 2012
By 
B. Ying (Hong Kong, SAR) - See all my reviews
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This is one of the poorest qualtity blu-ray transfer, if not the worst I have seen.
It is not even up to the normal standard DVDs, with most of the film in fuzzy and poor
quality state, be it day time, night time or day for night.
Only occasional close-ups of the two leading men have more acceptable
image clarity.
The movie itself is now seems dated, dreary at times and cannot be qualified as a classic
western.
It is a form of cheating the consumers and dishonesty of packing sub-standard quality
DVDs and market as Blu-Ray discs.
There ought to be some form of qualty standard and control enforcement by the industry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I suppose when one deals with men of action, one just expect action., 8 Mar 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vera Cruz [DVD] (DVD)
"As the American Civil War ended, another war was just beginning. The Mexican people were struggling to rid themselves of their foreign Emperor--Maximilian. Into this fight rode a handful of Americans--ex soldiers, adventurers, criminals--all bent on gain. They drifted South in small groups-- AND SOME CAME ALONE"

Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster head the cast as two polar opposite American adventurers who get involved with Maximilian's royal house and Juarez' revolutionaries in 1860s Mexico. Cooper plays Benjamin Trane, basically a good man, tho one tainted by much cynicism, and Lancaster plays Joe Erin, gunman and an untrustworthy crook. Vera Cruz was the first release in SuperScope (beautifully shot by Ernest Laszlo on location in Mexico) and with director Robert Aldrich at the helm, the film brilliantly captures the violence and danger that was brought about during Mexico's revolutionary period. Adapted by Roland Kibbee and James R. Webb from a Borden Chase story, Vera Cruz very much feels like (is) a precursor to Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns of the 60s.

With its blend of comedy and outright action, the film is essentially a buddy buddy Western with a cynical amoral kicker. It's a blend that may not be to everyones tastes, but with Lancaster (grinning for all he is worth) and Cooper (laconic supreme) in the leads the film rises above its oddity status. The professionalism on show, both from the obvious big stature of its stars and Aldrich's astute choreography of the action sequences, ensures this is a polished piece. There's much machismo of course, one only has to see that Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Elam are in the support gallery of thugs to know this fact, but it should be noted that the picture is interested in showing a fair reflection of the Mexican conflict. The Mexican government of the time were outraged at the film, but on reflection now it's evident the film doesn't take sides. That to my mind has to be applauded.

Some problems exist, notably some of the dialogue is a touch too corn based now. While as the main female character, Denise Darcel is out of her depth. One could think that she is maybe swamped by all the testosterone around her, but when you notice that Sara Montiel is coping fine in a secondary role, it shows Darcel to be limited. Vera Cruz held its own on release, neither busting the box office nor sinking without a trace. It would take over ten years before the true value of the film would start to be noticed. With that, it now shows to be very influential within the genre. Explosive, important and darn good fun, that's a mixture you just can't ignore. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'THERE ARE NO FRIENDS ON THIS 'TRAIL', 22 May 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Vera Cruz [Blu-ray] [1954] (Blu-ray)
The film is set in 1866 after the end of the 'American' Civil War.
Two mercenaries link-up together both seeking adventure and fortune in
'Mexico' where a revolution is under way.
'Benjamin Train' (Gary Cooper) and 'Joe Erin' (Burt Lancaster) are willing
to sell their guns to the highest bidder.
'Train' along with 'Erin' and his men are hired by 'Countess Duvarre' to escort
her along with a fortune in gold to the Emperor's forces.
The rebels are watching the convoy and aim to get their hands on the gold
for their cause.
However 'Joe Erin' has his own views on who should own the cargo, of course
he's not alone with those thoughts.
It's a mighty long road to 'Vera Cruz' --there is danger around every corner.
Plenty of action along the way.
'Burt Lancaster' is magnificent in his role of 'Joe Erin'
Great old-school western with all the excitement that 50's and 60's westerns
brought to the silver-screen.
The film has many familiar faces on-board such as 'Ernest Borgnine' and
'Charles Bronson'
Acceptable picture quality for a 1954 movie.
Feature - Theatrical Trailer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to a New Breed of Western Hero., 31 Dec 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Vera Cruz [DVD] (DVD)
A Mexican General says to the Gary Cooper character Benjamin Trane in "Vera Cruz", "Money, is that worth risking your life for". He replies "It comes closer than anything I know". The General says "A mans got to have more than that. He needs something to believe in". Pointing to his rifle Trane replies "I got that too". These lines are emblematic of the loose morals, greed and deep cynicism that director Robert Aldrich imbues his films with. These are not sentiments that I would subscribe to, but it makes for a highly engaging movie with some very funny and original lines. It also did much to change the earlier type of chivalrous romantic western hero. Welcome to the new breed of anti hero which reached its antithesis in Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns.

Aldrich once famously said "I don't think violence in film breeds violence in life. Violence in life breeds violence in films". As you may imagine from this quote there is a fair amount of violence in Aldrich films. I think particularly of the floods of panto blood in his rather weak "Emperor of the North" and his dark but brilliant western "Ulzana's Raid". "Vera Cruz" is one of his gentler films, made before the popularisation of gory blood letting effects. It relies on sheer exuberance and the chemistry between a fine ensemble cast. If you want an actor who personifies exuberance, who better to employ than Burt Lancaster, he of the Cheshire cat smile, that Ewan McGregor seems to have copied to disturbing effect. If you want the taciturn archetypal western hero, then who better than Gary Cooper! For strong support is there anyone to beat the muscular Ernest Borgnine. Who was the best Latino actor around at the time, why Cesar Romero of course! If you want the very best western character actor in the business, then you pick the chameleon eyed Jack Elam. Throw in Charles Bronson for good measure and you have the perfect cast.

The story concerns a group of mercenaries who seek employment with the Emperor Maximilian in Mexico, in the turbulent era following the American Civil War. Many disaffected Southern soldiers sought employment in other countries in the years after the Civil war, and Cooper plays one such character who lost his fortune during that period, whilst Lancaster plays the out and out likeable rogue Joe Erin, a character type at which he was very adept indeed. These two, together with other disreputable Americans are employed to escort a Countess to the harbour of Vera Cruz. There is of course a great deal of money involved. Betrayals and happenings along the way make the journey an eventful one. There is action aplenty as we head to the finale.

The two stars Lancaster and Cooper are both perfectly cast, although Lancaster gets some of the choicest lines. On one occasion he says of Cooper "Ben Trane, I don't trust him. He likes people, and you can never count on a man like that". The Countess says to him at one stage "One millions enough for me". He replies "It ain't for me I'm a pig". Priceless! Lancaster was to later reprise a very similar role in "The Professionals". The film is Hollywood at its brashest and biggest best. The action comes thick and fast on an epic scale. There is a very memorable shooting contest in Maximilian's palace grounds that sticks in the mind. Whilst the film could not in all honesty be called a classic of the genre, it does exactly what it says on the box, and provides great entertainment. Sadly this is not a great transfer. The film is well deserving of a high quality disc with extras, but until that time this will have to suffice.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What you would expect with Lancaster and Cooper on top ..., 8 July 2014
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This review is from: Vera Cruz [DVD] (DVD)
What you would expect with Lancaster and Cooper on top form, Robert Aldrich directing with energy, and a supporting cast to drool over - Ernest Borgnine, George Macready, Charles Bronson, Cesar Romero (and, if memory serves, Jack Elam as well).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lancaster and Cooper at their best, 7 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Vera Cruz [Blu-ray] [1954] (Blu-ray)
Excellent action film from 1954. Stunning photography and all star cast including Charles Bronson ,Jack Elam and Ernest Borgnine and Denise Darcel as the love interest.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 -- good to look at, but oddly stiff acting, 6 Mar 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vera Cruz [Blu-ray] [1954] (Blu-ray)
This is the first movie that I remember seeing an ad for in a newspaper (in Scotland, in 1954). I never did see the movie, until now. I've been watching a number of Westerns from the late 1940s to mid-1950s, and they all have their odd moments. This one, set in Mexico among soldiers-of-fortune just after the Civil War, at least admits that the South lost the war, and Gary Cooper is Ben Trane, a confederate colonel who has lost everything, who has come to Mexico, which is in the throes of an uprising, to make money as a hired gun. There he finds Joe Erin (Burt Lancaster), another hired gun, who leads a band of fellow soldiers of fortune (including Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson). They will sell themselves to the highest bidder, and that seems to be the French puppet, the Emperor Maximilian, who can offer them more than the rebels who support Juarez. They agree to escort a French countess to the port of Vera Cruz for $50,000, but discover on the way that the countess's trip is a front for the transport of $3 million in gold to hire more soldiers for the government. Then it turns out that the countess and her official escort (Cesar Romero), as well as Trane and Erin, all try to get the gold for themselves. They form temporary alliances among one another, without ever trusting each other -- and meanwhile the rebels find out about the gold too and try to ambush the entourage. Suffice it to say here that they make it to Vera Cruz and things get settled amid a lot of violence.

The movie was shot on location in Mexico, and it looks marvelous -- nice settings, both urban and rural, that make a nice change from "the range" and Hollywood backlot storefronts, and I never thought of Westerns in terms of a costuming budget, but this one has great costumes. And there are parts of the action where the movie achieves the feel of a big epic, with striking cavalry scenes and in general a density of social specification that is most unusual in a "western."The acting, though, is curiously stiff. Cooper and Lancaster are fine actors, but they seem uncomfortable here, with Cooper tending to underplay and Lancaster in full overplay mode -- too much flashing of the teeth! Denise Darcel as the Countess seems stiff too. Cesar Romero is perhaps the most natural of the actors. It could be the writing, but there are questions too about the characters -- does the director have a clear grasp of them? Do the actors? There's an uneasy poise, not in itself uninteresting, between a buddy-element and a rival-element, but it ends too suddenly for us to get a clear enough view of the relationship. So -- it's nonetheless fun, and good to look at too, but it doesn't quite live up its promise.

Historical Note: Burt Lancaster is Joe Erin. The name suggests an Irish origin, and it's interesting that some Irish emigrants, (and Irish, incidentally, fought on both sides in the American civil war) found their way to Mexico later to help with the effort to overthrow Maximilian. I learned about this from a Chieftain's album, "San Patricio," which presents music from the blending of the Irish and Mexican traditions. I recommend it to your attention.
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Vera Cruz [Blu-ray] [1954]
Vera Cruz [Blu-ray] [1954] by Robert Aldrich (Blu-ray - 2013)
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