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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
A sheriff (James Stewart) and an Army Major (Richard Widmark) are sent by the U.S. Army to retrieve the surviving white captives held by a Comanche chief (Henry Brandon) for the past nine years. But it's not an easy task as some of the survivors, perhaps sensing the hostilities of the white community, refuse to return. Directed by John Ford, the specter of his classic THE SEARCHERS hovers over the film. Granted, it had been only five years since THE SEARCHERS had been released but the film had not yet (at least in this country) been acknowledged as one of great American films. If THE SEARCHERS had not existed then perhaps this effort would have fared better but honestly, it's just not as good. Stewart's character is a pale imitation of Wayne's Ethan Edwards but the film does paint a darker picture of white captives being accepted back into the fold. While there's a happy ending for THE SEARCHER's Debbie, the fate of the white boy (David Kent) here is much grimmer. Still, an essential film for the Fordians. Based on the novel COMANCHE CAPTIVES by Will Cook. With Shirley Jones, Linda Cristal (THE ALAMO), John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Andy Devine, Paul Birch, Mae Clarke and the usual Ford stock company: Andy Devine, Woody Strode, Anna Lee, Olive Carey, John Qualen, Ken Curtis and Harry Carey Jr.

The region 2 British release from Sony is a nice anamorphic wide screen (1.85) transfer.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 1, 2010
"Two Rode Together" is the 133rd film directed by John Ford, including his silent films (61). It was near the end of his career, and he only made 7 films after this, most of which are forgettable (e.g., "Seven Women", "Young Cassidy", "Donovan's Reef"). Over a 54 year career he won 4 Oscars ("The Quiet Man", "How Green was My Valley", "The Grapes of Wrath", "The Informer") and was nominated for "Stagecoach" (he lost to Victor Fleming for "GWTW"). He had 3 DGA nominations and 1 win ("The Quiet Man") and 4 wins by the New York Film Critics.

Interestingly enough he never won a major award for a western, even though he once described himself simply as "I make westerns".

By the time "Two" came along, Ford had made his major contributions to the western genre. Most people agree his major works were "Stagecoach" (1939), the cavalry trilogy ("Fort Apache" in 1948, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" in 1949, and "Rio Grande" in 1950), and (my personal favorite) "The Searchers" (1956). He did several less distinguished westerns including "My Darling Clementine" (1946), "Wagon Master" (1950), "The Horse Soldiers" (1959), and "Sergeant Rutledge" (1960).

"Two" can be distinguished by several factors. First, it doesn't have John Wayne. It's also Ford's first film with James Stewart as well as with Richard Widmark (he'd make more films with both of them in the future). Moreover, it was shot in Bracketville Texas, while many Ford westerns were shot in Utah's Monument Valley ("Stagecoach", "Fort Apache", "The Searchers" and 6 more).

Ford did without "the Duke", but he did have a few of his stock company regulars, like Ken Curtis (played Charley McCorry in "The Searchers"), Harry Carey Jr. who had been with him forever, Olive Carry (Harry's mom, who played Mrs. Jorgensen in "The Searchers"), John Qualen (played Lars Jorgensen in "The Searchers"), Willis Bouchey (the newspaper man in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"), Andy Devine (driver in "Stagecoach" and frightened marshall in "Liberty Valance") and Woody Strode ("Sergeant Rutledge" in 1960). But he was missing Ben Johnson, Hank Worden (played ol' Mose in "The Searchers"), Ward Bond (he died in 1960), and Victor McLaglen (he died in 1959).

Frank Nugent did the screenplay based on a novel by Will Cook called "Comanche Captives". Nugent worked with Ford on several films, and together they won the Oscar for "The Quiet Man" (1952). Nugent won the WGA award as well, and also won it for "Mister Roberts" (1955), and was nominated 2 other times for Ford films ("She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "Fort Apache"). But Nugent simply takes some Ford staples and rehashes them here. If you like Ford films you've seen almost every scene before. The opening scene with Stewart on the porch is right from Henry Fonda in ""Clementine". The rivalry between Ken Curtis and Harry Carry Jr. is taken right from "The Searchers" between Ken Curtis and Jeffrey Hunter, the theme of two men looking for Indian hostages is also from "The Searchers" as is the performance from Shirley Jones who is channeling Vera Miles. What is most annoying, if that's the appropriate word, is that Ford re-uses Henry Brandon who did such a great job as Scar in "The Searchers" to perform the watered down version in "Two Rode Together."

There are some fundamental flaws which make "Two Rode Together" a relatively poor film. In most Ford films, the family (and by extension the community) form the core of the protagonist's strength and often the focus of the film. Think - "How Green Was My Valley", "The Grapes of Wrath", "The Searchers", "The Quiet Man", "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon". In this film the family is dysfunctional. Among the cavalry there is dissent, shown in the confrontations between John McIntire and Richard Widmark, but even more so in the dance scene when Widmark attacks his fellow officers. In the homesteaders we have liars (Willis Bouchey), crazy people (Anna Lee), fools (Ken Curtis and Harry Carry Jr.), and a lynch mob (Ford Rainey). Back in Stewart's home town he has a deputy and a girl friend who betray him and a town that votes him out of office. From a family/community POV, this is Ford's most distressing film.

Another element that is missing is the dynamic rivalry between the male leads. Think John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter in "The Searchers", John Wayne and William Holden in "The Horse Soldiers", John Wayne and Henry Fonda in "Fort Apache", John Wayne and Victor McLaglen in "The Quiet Man", etc. James Stewart and Richard Widmark are more like buddies: the tension is minimal.

Also missing is the redemptive actions of the hero. John Wayne in "The Searchers" gives up his quest to kill Natalie Wood and returns her to her family; James Stewart confesses to the newspapermen that he isn't the man who shot Liberty Valance. In "Two", Jimmy Stewart merely reacts to the decisions of other people - Mr. Wringle cancels the deal for the boy and the town votes him out as sheriff. There is no affirming action on the part of the hero, and his decision to get on the stagecoach is hardly heroic.

Also missing is the comedic relief. Andy Devine was perfectly capable of producing this, but his part is so poorly written that even his great comedic skills can't save it. In past films, Ford often used comedy to great effect - think Victor McLaglen in "Yellow Ribbon", Hank Worden as ol' Mose in "The Searchers", Barry Fitzgerald in "The Quiet Man", etc. Ford learned this from the success of the comic sidekicks like Smiley Burnette (Gene Autry), Gabby Hayes (Roy Rogers), and Andy Devine's long playing role as "Jingles" in the Guy Madison "Wild Bill Hickock" series.

Ford fans will want to see this film for its historic value, and also to see an example of a relatively poor western made by Ford. Most other fans will probably want to give it a miss. Fans of James Stewart as a cowboy should see "Liberty Valance" (1962) or "Shenandoah (1965). Richard Widmark put in some good performances in westerns like "The Alamo" (1960), "Death of a Gunfighter (1969), and "The Last Wagon" (1952).

Ford called the film "crap" and claimed he did it for the money ($225,000 + 25% of the net). Take his word for it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 14, 2008
John Ford called "Two Rode Together" (1961) "the worst piece of crap I've done in 20 years." He was right. The legendary filmmaker shows little enthusiasm for this dreary rehash of "The Searchers." James Stewart and Richard Widmark are good additions to the Ford stock company, but they cannot bolster Frank S. Nugent's flat script and the director's fatigue. Happily, Ford rebounded with his final masterpiece, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2013
This is an excellent Western, with some humor and some seriousness. I'm sorry I wasn't able to acquire it as Region 1.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TWO RODE TOGETHER(1961)---James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones, John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Linda Cristal, Andy Devine, Woody Strode
Directed by John Ford, this film owes more than a little to THE SEARCHERS, although it is not nearly as grim and is certainly not the same calibre of film. It's actually quite full of humor and the interplay between cavalry officer Widmark and town marshall Stewart is the best thing about the movie. A group of homesteaders who were attacked by Comanches 17 years earlier demand that the army attempt to get back several of their number who were carried off by the indians. Against the advice of army major McIntire, who points out that after so much time, their relatives are either dead or thoroughly "Indianized", the settlers insist that the army do it anyway. Quite against his will, Widmark's old friend, Stewart, is pressed into service in the attempt because he has had dealings with Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and speaks passable Comanche. Stewart and Widmark both agree with McIntire that going after the kidnapped individuals is futile, but are coerced into going anyway. Widmark and Stewart find the Comanches and are able to secure the release of two "prisoners"---a Mexican woman(Linda Cristal), who was kidnapped and married to indian warrior Strode, and a "white" teen-aged male who does not want to be "rescued". The "core" of the film centers on the aftermath of the "rescue". Along the way, Widmark falls in love with homesteader Shirley Jones and Stewart falls for the Cristal character. This is a worthy addition to Ford's "western canon"---it is an entertaining, amusing film, with some serious overtones---well-paced and beautifully filmed---worth the time of any fan of westerns.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2007
TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961): A band of settlers put pressure on the US Army to repatriate their children caught by the Comanche Indians seven years earlier. In turn cavalry fort commander Major Frazer (James McIntire) puts pressure on a reluctant Marshal Guthrie McCabe (James Stewart) and Lieutenant Jim Gary (Richard Widmark) to saddle up and go in search of the white captives held by the feared Comanche Chief Quanah Parker (Henry Brandon). The two negotiate the return Running Wolf (David Kent) and Elana de la Madriaga (Linda Cristal) with mixed results.

Brandon also played the Comanche Chief Scar in THE SEARCHERS (1956) also carried over from that film are Ford favourites mother and son Olive Carey and Harry Carey Jn, Ken Curtis and John Qualen. Also in common with the earlier film was the scriptwriter Frank Nugent. John Ford is said to have made the film as a casual favour to Columbia's boss Harry Cohen. Of the two leads James Stewart plays a (unusually for him) cynical and ruthless character whilst Richard Widmark (who can play good guy or bad with equal aplomb) has the sympathetic sidekick role. Shirley Jones provides the main love interest. Although there are one or two nice touches of the Master at work in my opinion Ford was well-wide of the mark with this one; thankfully he is back on top form next time also with Jimmy Stewart and John Qualen but with the added bonus of John Wayne in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962).

A 2005 DVD Columbia film released through SONY Pictures Home Entertainment Optional sub-titles and scene selection, no Theatrical Trailer or other extras, but does it matter?
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