luis de quesada | jamaica, new york United States | 05/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A classic action film with a brilliant cast! Features Gregory Peck as "Manuel Artiguez" an aging spanish revolutionary exile living in the french town of "Po" near the spanish border and the Pirennes Mts. Artiguez is dreaded by the spanish authorities and specially by ruthless and somewhat corrupt commander of Franco's Guardia Civil, Captain Vin~olas, brilliantly portrayed by Anthony Quinn,due to Artiguez ability to cross the border, raise havoc in spanish territory and escape, unharmed back to his safe haven in France, in spite of Vin~olas best efforts to capture him. Equally brilliant supporting cast by Omar Sharif, Mildred Dunnock, Paolo Stoppa and Mario Angeletti. Probably based on a true story,which takes place around 1959 or 20 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) this is an unforgettable action film, a must buy!"
A subtle, excellent drama
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 06/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought in memory of Anthony Quinn's passing, I'd view one of his lesser known performances, and do a review on it. One of my favorite actors, he was always fascinating and versatile, with a great screen presence. His filmography is remarkable, and spans 6 decades. I love "La Strada" ('54), "Lawrence of Arabia" ('62), and one of his last, the sweet and sentimental "A Walk in the Clouds" ('95).This film starts with actual 1936-39 newsreel footage, and proceeds to tell the story of Manuel, a warrior-soul who won't give up, and the anguish and trials he goes through. The intrigue that surrounds him, in trying to capture him, makes for a subdued but suspenseful drama.Gregory Peck is Manuel, and though not 100% convincing as a Spaniard, is nevertheless excellent. Quinn is fabulous as the police captain, rougueish and full of vitality, determined to get his man. My favorite character in this film is the priest, with Omar Sharif giving a performance of amazing and unforgettable depth.Made in 1964, Fred Zinnemann directed this with a lot of sensitivity...it's in black and white, with a lovely score by Maurice Jarre. Though this film never received much critical acclaim, or public recognition, I've seen it several times, and appreciate it more with each viewing."
Should be better known
steve b | Dudley England | 10/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is a sign of Gregory Peck's talent as an actor that although used to playing American Heros in films like to Kill a Mockingbird, he is totally convincing as Artiguez, a Spanish Communist living in France during the time of the Franco regime. Peck's performance is matched by that of Anthony Quinn as Captain Vinolas, the Spanish policeman who sets out to catch him.
Artiguez is a hero to the Spanish exiles in France, having spent the years since the Spanish Civil War crossing into Spain and robbing banks. Dispite this he lives in povety having given all the procedes from his robberies away.
Vinolas is determined to catch Artiquez who has made a fool of him over the years. When Artiquez's mother, who still lives in Spain, falls fataly ill, Vinolas gets the message to Artiguez knowing that he will have to try and see his mother before she dies.
Both Vinolas and Artiquez are shown as real people, Peck plays the Communist bandit as a man tied of the life he has led, although he is still true to his cause. Vinolas is a corrupt Policeman with a crippled wife and a mistress. However in church he promises God that he will give up his mistress, return a horse which he was given as bribe and take his wife to Lourdes if he catches Artiquez.
Shot in black and white it is clear that neither Vinolas or Artiquez is a hero, neither are either of them a villan.
Omar Sharif, in an early role plays the priest who Artiquez's mother sends to him warning him not to try and see her as Vinolas will be waiting.
An film which should be much better known, not only for it's unusal story but for the performances of it's leading actors. Peck being to my mind one the most talented actors ever to grace the screen and anyone who does not love Anthony Quinn must have been born without a soul."
Paved with good intentions...
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 04/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of the few films to deal with the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Behold a Pale Horse is a now completely forgotten but once high-profile well-intentioned failure where you can see the good intentions and valid reasoning behind every misstep. It certainly has pedigree to spare: Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn resuming on screen hostilities after their ruckus on Navarone, a supporting cast including Omar Sharif and Christian Marquand, a screenplay based on a novel by Emeric Pressburger (the wonderfully titled Killing a Mouse On Sunday) and direction by Fred Zinnemann. At its core is an effectively simple idea, with Anthony Quinn's failing local police chief trying to tempt Gregory Peck's legendary Republican bandit across the border into Franco's Spain and right into a trap, with the rebel's dying mother as the bait. But the film wants to be more than a thriller or a simple adventure story and in the process ends up considerably less. The biggest problem is a slow opening half, where Peck is kept deliberately at a distance, seen only through the eyes of a child and filtered through the hatred of Quinn as the film tries to build him into a mythic figure so that when we finally do meet the embittered, grumpy and overly cautious man the void between reputation and reality is that much greater. Unfortunately he's kept at far too much of a distance and the film is just far too low-key and drawn out to really draw us in.
Thankfully the second half is considerably more successful as the moral dilemmas multiply and the story enters Graham Greeneland as the tired, violently atheist hero has to face the betrayal of friends and the help of a priest, although it's not without its absurdities (most notably in a scene in Lourdes where they look for, and find with comical ease, one specific group of priests among thousands). This desperately wants to be a great film, but sadly it rarely manages to be a good one, much as you may appreciate the effort. Those with an eye for trivia might want to note early bit parts from Michel Lonsdale at a reporter in the final scene and an uncredited future producer Claude Berri as well as the involvement of actress Nicole Stephane and writer-director Frederic Rossif in putting together the extremely effective opening montage sequence.
The DVD transfer is a little too dark at times, while the only extra is the theatrical trailer."
Well, it's worth 5 bucks!
D. Nuce | Chihuahua, Mexico | 02/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw the names Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn on the title, I was almost positive this would be a winner, and it is, to a point. The movie has a good plot, good performances, and decent action... So why do I say to a point? This movie would have been better if it had been cut to an hour and a half running length. As it is, it is far too slow. The story could and should have been shortened. Other than that, I have no problems with this movie. Omar Sharif's character is probably my favorite. He is a highly morale man who trusts God to take care of him. He goes to warn Peck even though he knows that by doing so, he will be arrested. Even more amazing is the fact that he goes to try and save Peck's life even though Peck is an atheist and hates priests. Peck is slightly unbelievable as a Spaniard, but after a while you get used to it. The scenery in this film is beautiful. The musical score is pretty good. The ending, which was led up to the whole film, was a let-down. It is fairly clean for 1964. There is some language."