SAVAGE PAMPAS (director/writer: Hugo Fregonese; screenwriters: John Melson/Homero Manzi/from the novel by Ulises Petit de Murat; cinematographer: Manuel Berenguer; editor: Juan Serra; music: Waldo de los Rios; cast: Robert Taylor (Captain Martin), Ron Randell (Padron), Marc Lawrence (Sargent Barril), Ty Hardin (Miguel Carreras), Rosenda Monteros (Rucu), Del Pozo (Lt. Del Rio), Felicia Roc (Camila Ometio), Charles Fawcett (El Gato – Private), Henry Avila (Petizo), Jose Jaspe (Luis – Private), Julio Pena (Chicha – Private), Laya Raki (Mimi), Laura Granados (Carmen), Ingrid Ohlenschlager (The Old Woman), Mario Lozano (Santiago), Jose Nieto (Gen. Chavez), Willie Ellie (Chief Winkon); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jaime Prades/Samuel Bronston; TCM; 1966-Spain-in English)
“An uninteresting remake of the popular Argentinian historical epic of 1946, Pampa Barbara.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Savage Pampas is an uninteresting remake of the popularArgentinian historical epic of 1946, Pampa Barbara. It’s set in the pampas of Argentina in 1870, and was shot on location in Spain. The Argentine-born Hugo Fregonese (“Blowing Wild”/”The Raid”/”Apache Drums”) is cowriter (with John Melson & Homero Manzi) and director. The SA Western actioner is based on the novel by Ulises Petit de Murat.
The gruff Captain Martin (Robert Taylor) is a widower and the no-nonsense commander of a remote post in the pampas of Argentina, who is faced with a mutiny. Most of his soldiers are illiterate and have become deserters, as a renegade soldier, Padron (Ron Randell), allies with hostile Indians hoping to take back the pampas from the Europeans. The wicked but shrewd Padron gets the soldiers to desert by offering each of the lonely men a captive woman. This band of outlaw gauchos pillage the villages in the area.
To counter the success of Padron, Martin gets his superiors to approve his plan to bring prostitutes onto the fort–believing this is the only way to stop the men from deserting. As a result, prostitutes who volunteer are released from prison and brought by Martin and his troop escort to the fort in wagons after getting off the train. The journey across the pampas proves to be dangerous, as they are attacked by both the Padron and the Indians. Along the way the Captain must deal with the men falling in love and not willing to share the ladies with the other soldiers waiting at the fort. The pampas trip to the fort also includes an anarchist journalist (Ty Hardin), dressed-up like Abe Lincoln, who is held as a political prisoner and the pure-hearted Camila (Felicia Roc) is also taken as a political prisoner because she won’t squeal where her guerrilla fighting brother is at. It leads to the anticipated action scene of the climactic massive attack by the Indians and the Padron, which is filled with action but takes a different turn than expected.
It was still a slow slog despite Fregonese’s attempt at juicing things up whenever he could. The poor English dubbing of the international cast was also a minus for this disposable B-film.
REVIEWED ON 4/28/2010 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ