This movie is not a typical Wayne. It is less "cowboy" but still has plenty of action.
I am always distracted in this one, because they filmed this in an area where nuclear testing had been done. It has often been thought that because of this film Wayne and all the main cast members died of cancer years later.
So for me, I am always thinking about that as I see the landscape shots, or Wayne rolling around in Radio-active dust. Kinda sad....
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The Duke in the Gobi!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 01/30/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to the critics in general and the reviewers here in
particular, The Conqueror is actually a pretty good film, if you're
a John Wayne fan, or just enjoy Hollywood spectaculars as they
were made back in the '50s. Wayne was not as miscast as one
might think. He certainly had the strength of character and screen
presence to play Temujin/Genghis Khan and he looked good in the
oriental mustache and the Mongol warrior garb. The dialog here is
no dumber than in any other Hollywood historical saga of that
time (or of this time, either, for that matter. Remember Russell
Crowe in Gladiator: "At my signal, unleash Hell!"?) Movie lore has it that The Conqueror was filmed on location in
Utah either on or near an atomic test site, and that many of the cast
and crew later died from radiation-induced cancers. It may be
true, or it may be just mythology. There were no nuclear test sites
in Utah, but the shooting location could have been near the
Nevada test site. Director Powell and cast members Wayne,
Hayward, Moorehead, and John Hoyt did die from cancer, but of
different types and years apart. Many others died from other
causes. Pedro Armendariz committed suicide. Thomas Gomez
died from an auto accident. Lee Van Cleef died of a heart attack.
And some lived to a ripe old age. Leo Gordon, for instance,
passed away just last year, at the age of78, after a brief illness.
Gordon was a scriptwriter as well as an actor, and wrote two
classic Roger Corman movies: The Terror, and The Wasp
Woman.The Conqueror also had the distinction of having a Playboy
Playmate, Pat Lawler (Miss August 1955) in a bit part. Ms.
Lawler appeared in the sci-fi comedy Invasion of the Saucer Men
in 1957, and that seems to be the extent of her film career..To sum up: The Conqueror is not as bad as reported. It's not
nearly as bad as, say, Big Jim McLain, The Fighting
Kentuckian, or Jet Pilot. And it's not nearly as good as, say, The
Quiet Man, Sands of lwo Jima, or True Grit. It's in the middle.
like, say, Hatari, Circus World, or The Shootist. This DVD edition offers just the movie, a scene index, and
subtitles. The image quality is good, but the sound varies a
bit--some of the dialog seems rather distant and tinny. But at this
price it's a bargain, so don't miss out!"
Made for MST3k...
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 09/26/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a tragedy in more ways than one. The Duke, God bless
him, is totally out of place in the role of Kahn. From all reports, he
really threw himself into the role because he thought he could pull it
off and wanted to do a good job. Unfortunately, all of the Duke's
mighty powers were not enough to make this picture gel.Not only is
the picture laughable, but it was shot on part of an atomic testing
range. Some of the radioactive soil was transported back to Hollywood
for the soundstage shots, which didn't help matters. Many of the cast
and crew succumbed to cancer in later years, including the Duke
himself.Many of my fellow reviewers have noted the laughable lines,
but there is one that has so far gone unmentioned, which has always
stuck with me:"[After her] all other women are like the second
pressing of the grape!"...or something to that effect.It's
hard to believe this is on DVD when there are so many other, more
worthy films that could be transferred to the medium.
The Duke as an Emperor
George R Dekle | Lake City, FL United States | 06/30/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One must admit that Wayne is slightly miscast as the implacable Genghis Khan, but the story is not that bad. The plot is much better than the Genghis Khan movie starring Omar Sharif. This superiority probably owes to the fact that the Sharif story doesn't even attempt historical accuracy while "The Conqueror" seems to be loosely based on the Harold Lamb book "Genghis Khan: Emperor of All Men.""
Review - The Conqueror
Bill K | upstate New York | 01/24/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie suffers from a lot of criticism, because it seems to have been cast for the star power of the actors than to try to make it's appearance accurate to the story it's based on. On it's own it's not a bad story, although it's hard to take John Wayne as either a bad guy or an asian. But this was the 1950's, I'm not sure that there were enough asian-descended actors available to cast it with an accurate look, and I'm sure even if there was the production company would have been afraid it wouldn't have done well cast that way. In the end, it's still here making them some money or you wouldn't be able to buy a DVD of it.
Pretty much you'll either hate it or be okay with it, so if in doubt try and rent it somewhere before buying. Don't look for accuracy, just for the entertainment value.
Curiously, this is a mistake Hollywood has yet to learn from, even movies as recent as the bomb Dukes Of Hazzard film suffer from the same terrible miscasting based on star power instead of trying to make a film that remains accurate to the original story.
I'd love to see the audio track from this used to make an anime-styled version and see how people take it. Would it work better with the same actors voices, but drawn to appear more accurately?
Bill K | 01/25/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Possibly the worst movie ever made? John Wayne must have been desperate for something when he took this part! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE John Wayne, but really, this movie is the pits. He wasn't cut out to be a Mongol. It's interesting to watch just to see how bad a movie can get! It's so extremely dumb!"