Sunday, March 3, 2019

Texas Across the River (1966)

When relatively unknown American actors went to Europe to appear in cheaply made spaghetti westerns (and in some cases became superstars), major European actors took the plane in the opposite direction to appear in lush Hollywood productions. With his appearance in Texas Across the River (1966), French superstar Alain Delon tried to establish his name across the ocean; for the occasion he was cast as a Latin Lover and paired with that other Latin Lover - the one from Hollywood - Dean Martin.

Delon is a Spanish nobleman, Don Andrea Baldazar, El Duce de la Casala, who is about to marry a Southern Belle, Phoebe (Rosemary Forsyth). It turns out that she was promised to another man, a cavalrist from the US army who takes his entire regiment to the wedding to claim his bride. When his rival is accidently killed during an incident, Don Andrea is unjustifiably accused of murder and must therefore flee across the border to Texas (not yet an U.S. state). He is joined by a gunrunner (Dino) who is crossing the same border in order to sell guns to a group of settlers who have created a very unsafe haven in the Texan wilderness ...

Delon had been working very hard to remove the distinctive French inclinations from his speech, so he would be able to play all kind of European nationalities in Hollywood productions, but he still sounds French, not Spanish. It doesn't really matter. The film is a spoof and his character a joke. Dino is top-billed and has a couple of funny repartees (especially in a raunchy scene in and around a pool with Rosemary Forsyth: Rosemary: "I can't come out of the water, I lost my clothes!" Dino: "Close your eyes!"), but it's really Delon's movie: In Texas Don Andrea tames a buffalo in the style of a torero, saves the life of a beautiful squaw, fights with Dino over Phoebe, and clears his name by saving the settlement from being raided by marauding Comanches.

Texas across the River is as entertaining as it is forgettable. The jokes come so fast that you really don't mind that a least half of them are graceless and unfunny. Just sit down and relax, enjoy what's enjoyable and forget the rest. Some will no doubt call it sexist and racist but since all sexes and ethnic groups are targeted the humor feels rather innocuous. All people involved seem to have a good time.


1966 - Director: Michael Gordon - Cast: Dean Martin (Sam Hollis), Alain Delon (Don Andrea), Rosemary Forsyth (Phoebe),  Joey Bishop (Kronk), Tina Aumont  (Lonetta), Peter Graves (Cpt. Stimpson, Michael Ansara (Comanche Chief), Linden Chiles (Comanche Chief's son), Andrew Prine (Lt. Sibley), Stuart Anderson (Yancy Cottle), Richard Farnsworth (Medicine Man)

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