- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Duel at Diablo
Early on, the cook wagon is stolen. There is a four month old baby. No one ever eats or feeds the baby.
Definitely an Important Work in Western Movies
- Robert Harris
I was all of about 3 years of age when this movie was released. My mother, being a Western movie fan, watched them all as I was growing up (the "Spaghetti Western" like "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" is one of our favorites). I guess what peaked my interest back then as a child about this movie was the music score, especially the main opening score, which I found out much later in life was by Neal Hefti (the writer of the "Batman" television score). I remember back then the heroic performances of Sidney Poitier and James Garner but I didn't really understand the subtle undertones of the movie as a child. As an adult, for some reason about 10 months ago, the main music score of the movie kept playing in my mind and I started researching a way to acquire the song as well as a way to see the movie. This past weekend, TCM finally aired "Duel at Diablo" and I was able to watch the movie in it's entirety as an adult. I must say that I was not at all disappointed by this movie. I finally understand the subtle overtones within the movie that I didn't understand back then as a child. For some reason , though, this movie doesn't get much airplay like other Westerns (such as John Wayne or Clint Eastwood or Gene Autry Western movies) but it is definitely a classic and a must watch movie in my opinion. Thanks TCM for airing the movie and please do so more often.
Not your typical western
This is definitely NOT the kind of western you would have expected in the past. It seems to be inspired to some degree by what Sergio Leone was doing in Spain with Clint Eastwood at the time. The opening credits will jar you from the beginning with a bowie knife ripping the United Artists logo to shreds, exposing a bleak desert. But the hard edge of the film doesn't end there. James Garner plays his role very subdued with no hint of MAVERICK seen at all. Sidney Poitier plays a horse traider without any racial overtones, who agrees to accompany the cavalry to a distant fort right through hostile Apaches who are mad as hell because they have been lied to by the US Government. Rounding out the cast is Dennis Weaver as a self-centered businessman whose wife was taken prisoner by the Apaches some years earlier. You can also see some hints of THE SEARCHERS in this film.
Gary D Is Right
One of the things that stand out about DUEL AT DIABLO is that Sidney Poitier's character being a black man is never commented on or made an issue of by the other characters. He's disliked by the James Garner and Dennis Weaver characters but that's because of circumstances, not because Poitier's character is black.
One of the best westerns ever made.
Duel at Diablo is a western with a difference: it has believeable characters within an interesting story. There is a lot of realistic action (and buckets of blood), the setting in southern Utah is breathtaking and the acting is terrific. It's refreshing that this movie actually presents the Indians as human beings with legitimate grievances. Also, the musical score for this movie is wonderful and enhances the action.
- Gary D
The sentence in the overview makes it appear that the racial tension is black-white. Not so. Poitier plays a likeable gunman-horse trader who is pulled into the plot in an attempt to get paid.The racial tension is red-white, and it deals with Garner's character, the wife of Weaver, Andersson, who has a child with an Apache, and the supporting cast. For one, Garner is searching for the killer of his Indian wife. And Andersson is seeking to fit into white society after being kidnapped and apparently raped. This is a very good western, with excellent cinematography and some fine supporting roles. The more I see it, the more I like it, especially the music and the outdoor sets. See it in widescreen.