Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Deadly Companions (1961)

Just passable, meandering film, about a former Yankee soldier (Brian Keith) who accidentally kills a saloon girl's (Maureen O'Hara) son and then helps the lady—against her will—escort the boy's body back home through Apache territory to be buried next to his father. Brian Keith is superb as the guilt ridden Good Samaritan but the beautiful Ms. O'Hara makes every scene she's in pop—though it's quite gratuitous silly for her to take a bath in a creek with the enemy milling around. (Though, I'm sure, most viewers won't complain.)

Best line comes from the tortured Keith character who says:

"You don't know me well enough to hate me that much. Hating's a subject I know a little something about. You better be careful it don't bite you back. I know somebody spent five years looking for a man he hated. Hate and wanting revenge was all that kept him alive. He spent all them years tracking that other man down. When he caught up with him was the worst day in his life. He'd get his revenge, all right. Then he'd lose the one thing he'd had to live for."
Early Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Ride the High Country) though you would hardly know because he had very little control over the finished product.

7 comments:

Elgin Bleecker said...

Brian Keith was a darn good actor. Did you ever see him in Peckinpah’s TV show, THE WESTERNER? It reran on cable a while ago. I wrote a post about it earlier this year:
http://elginbleecker.blogspot.com/2016/05/television-early-sam-peckinpah.html

David Cranmer said...

Elgin, It appears Keith secured The Deadly Companions directing job for Peckinpah because both had just finished working on The Westernerer and were amiable. No, I haven't watch the show but intend to sooner than later. Enjoy Bloody Sam's work even when he's not scripting ways to eliminate his entire cast.

Charles Gramlich said...

I believe I saw this, or part of it. The plot sounds very familiar. I did like Brian Keith as an actor

David Cranmer said...

Brian Keith could play both the lead and character roles with equal perfection. Excellent actor. Need to check out The Westerner next that Elgin mentioned.

oscar case said...

Brian Keith was a journeyman actor to me. Didn't care for some of his roles, but the Westerns, I did. I'd travel another mile to watch Maureen O'Hara bathe in a creek or any other bath.

Elgin Bleecker said...

David – That is interesting that Brian Keith got Peckinpah on the project. I thought O’Hara would be calling the shots, since her brother was producing the picture. But then Keith was emerging as a big star, and he and O’Hara did THE PARENT TRAP for Disney that same year, 1961.

David Cranmer said...

Oscar, She's quite the beauty and backed by mad acting skills.

Elgin, And it would seem from my (limited) research that O'Hara came to dislike Peckinpah which is par for the course for a number of actors on his films.