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on March 13, 2015
Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, Richard Conte and Michael Callan. Need I say more? A former coward is assigned the
duty of escorting war heroes to a destination where they will be cited for their valor. For various reasons many do not wish to receive the highly publicized medals and recognition afforded. The long, arduous journey becomes one of trial and tribulation as the "merry" band journeys toCordura. Accompanying them is a women of "reputation," who is being transported to prision for aiding the enemy. The coward does regain
his courage and sense of pride and duty. However, he may not live to complete his present assignment. Impressive battle sequence at the
beginning of the film. Rousing musical score and great photography. All performances are very well done. Notable performance by character
actor Robert Keith (Brian Keith's father) in the opening scenes, as the battlefield military commander who leads his troops to glory! A must-see film!
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on October 3, 2017
They Came To Cordura was released in 1959. It starred Michael Callan and Tab Hunter. A good western from the 1950's. Fans of Michael Callan and Tab Hunter will like this the most.
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on August 17, 2013
I found the story and it's reviews interesting enough to buy the book to see how well the film followed the original story. However the ending is quite different where not just one rock is thrown at Major Thorn to throw him off balance and then dragged along the track, he is stoned to death.

While much of the dialogue in the book appears in the film, the full sentences are not as they are shown visually. In the book there are some really long complex sentences which interested me. Here's one where Thorn is thinking to himself about Lieutenant Fowler:

"Major Thorn new something about him: three years out of the Point, he had put in two of them at Fort Riley as an aide and the third at Columbus under Colonel Rogers and himself, with A Troop his first command. Column of twos into line of charge, column of fours into line of charge, he drilled his men half an hour after the other troops were dismissed; he took the train to El Paso regularly to play polo, not because he enjoyed the game or was good at it but because for second lieutenants on border duty, it was the game to play; it had been he who protested, with due deference, when the sabers of the regiment had been stored at Dublan, for which he had been called to his face by fellow officers and behind his back by his men, George Armstrong, after Custer, Fowler. A soldier by training, not by nature, Thorn believed, he was strung tight as a bow. Pluck him and he would twang."

As for the long haul across the desert, it's takes up 114 pages out of a total of 175 in the book -- didn't calculate how many minutes of the film -- during which all of the people involved go more or less crazy. Having spent long days in the Mojave Desert of California and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, I can't help but wonder if the actual troops upon which the story is based were so naïve as to struggle through the burning sands of the day where it's now common knowledge that while you don't need to have food, you definitely need to have water or your mind begins to fall apart. This isn't just hikers, but drivers: if you break down, it's best to stay in the shade and not try and walk out until dark or at least when the heat has gone out of the sun.
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on November 21, 2013
Spectacular photography, brilliant Rita Hayworth, one of Cooper's best roles, and Tab Hunter is a stand out.Robert Rossen's direction includes side views of characters while having Cooper or Rita walk in front of the angle creating what Cinemascope is all about, 3D without the awful glasses and awful effects.

Fabulous screenplay and timely..about war, courage, and American know how backfiring..this in 1959!

Great film, don't miss it! Rita shows once again that she could act.
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on August 14, 2000
This film is set in 1916 Mexico during General Pershing's Punitive Expedition to capture Poncho Villa. Gary Cooper plays Maj. Thomas Thorn, an Army officer accused of cowardice, sent to observe and deliver five men (Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, Richard Conte, Michael Callan and Dick York) for consideration to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Rita Hayworth is an American accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The film is rather tedious as it ever so slowly tries to discern the meaning of courage. Its greatest assets are the beautiful color cinematography by Burnett Guffey and an underrated and powerful performance by Van Heflin. I have never seen Heflin better, as he remains a constant thorn in the side of Cooper. Heflin plays one of the crudest and potentially violent characters I have ever seen. He physically looks the part and plays it with incredibly subdued menace. The film was directed by Robert Rossen and co-written by Rossen and Ivan Moffat.
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on August 1, 2014
Good performances and film does not equal great dvd. Columbia/Sony claim that the dvd is in both 1:33 full frame and 2:35 anamorphic widescreen. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, what we are getting is the 1:33 version. This means that we are missing half of the picture; half of the information meant by the director for us to see. Amazon :PLEASE NOTE: Your description and the dvd jacket information on the aspect ratio is incorrect. THERE IS NO WIDESCREEN VERSION. BUYER BEWARE!
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on October 19, 2017
Great movie on VHS at a good price. Delivered timely and in good shape.
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on October 14, 2010
What a disappointment. I love this movie, but while the "Format" said "Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen," it was only full screen. I can't think of a movie hurt more by having the ends cut off. The credits were widescreen -- maybe that's what they meant, but this should be clearly stated. I tried flipping it over and my DVD player gave me question marks.
It's really a wonderful film, terribly underrated in my opinion. Cooper breathes weariness and pain better than any actor ever has. It's not flamboyant acting, it's just in him (actual chronic back pain may have helped). Hayworth and the evil guys are all wonderful. The panorama, when you can see it, is lonely, dusty and moving. A more ironic and yet deeply inspiring film on heroism was never made.
The only thing lacking when you can see the movie correctly (not this DVD) is Sinatra's title song, which wasn't used. Too bad.
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on April 14, 2012
This was one of the better westerns of the late 50's.
Made at the time, when the genre was changing. From the bang-bang shoot'em up model of the 30's-mid 50's. To the more insightful thinking man's drama.
More character study than western.The synopsis of the film deals with an Army officer who is deemed a coward. To shame him he is given the task of finding five soldiers who merit being given the Medal of Honor.
He witness a battle between the U.S Army and the bandits of Pancho Villa from which five men emerge. These men he chooses to be the recipients.
To be honored they must travel to the town of Cordura Texas. Along the way these men begin to show in turn their true natures. Thief, murderer, rapist etc. Hardly the type men to whom such an honor should be given.
Yet the character of Tom Thorn,(played by Gary Cooper in the waning years of both
his career and life.)began to realize that his act of cowardice was no worse than
the acts committed by these five men on their way to receive heroes medals.
In the end the message of the film is every man is different, so every act of bravery or cowardice is different. Therefor it's the motive behind each that we must look at rather than the man who commits them.
And as with other reviewers, I agree that the only real complaint about this film
is that it was hacked and re-edited from its original running time. Which took
so much out of the film's true creative intent.
Perhaps Criterion can get the rights from Columbia Pictures to restore this over looked gem in its entirety.
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on December 28, 2013
Gary Cooper's job is to recommend soldiers for the Congressional Medal of Honor, then lead them out of the combat zone. For a movie about moral ambiguity I found it heavy handed and preachy. It is, however, a far above average Western, with some good action. Cooper is great; the others less so. Two hours well spent, and a good contrast to today's American war movies, which require the Pentagon's public relations stamp of approval.
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