Two Mules for Sister Sara


1h 45m 1970

Brief Synopsis

A wandering cowboy escorts a gunrunning nun through rough territory.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
Dallas opening: 28 May 1970
Production Company
Sanen Productions; The Malpaso Company; Universal Pictures
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

While three men in the Mexican desert strip the clothes off a woman and attempt to rape her, Hogan, a gunfighter, arrives on horseback and shoots the trio to death. Hogan himself finds the disrobed victim attractive, but he is shocked to learn that she is Sister Sara, a nun involved in the Mexican revolutionary movement against the French. He agrees to take her to the revolutionaries' camp and promises to help them attack the French garrison at Chihuahua if they offer him enough money. En route Hogan is surprised to find Sara smoking a cigar and sneaking a drink of whiskey. Later, near the revolutionaries' camp in Santa María, Hogan attempts to dynamite a French ammunition train, but he is hit in the shoulder by a Yaqui Indian's arrow. After Sara bandages his wound, she climbs a high train trestle to place the dynamite and then sets off the explosion by firing a rifle into the charge. When they arrive at the rebel camp, Sara astonishes Hogan by disclosing that she is actually a prostitute with an intimate knowledge of the French fort, the revolutionaries' major military objective. They devise a plan for Hogan to take Sara to the fort as a prisoner in order to gain the confidence of the French soldiers so that the gates will be opened for the Mexicans. The plan succeeds, and the fort is captured after a bloody battle; Hogan and Sara take their share of the spoils and depart.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
Dallas opening: 28 May 1970
Production Company
Sanen Productions; The Malpaso Company; Universal Pictures
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Two Mules For Sister Sarah - Two Mules for Sister Sarah


Two Mules for Sister Sarah (1970) is directed by Don Siegel, an often underrated director who has collaborated with Clint Eastwood on some of his most interesting films - Coogan's Bluff (1968), The Beguiled (1971), Dirty Harry (1972), and Escape From Alcatraz (1979). In Two Mules for Sister Sarah, Eastwood finds himself playing protector to a nun (Shirley MacLaine) he rescues from a gang rape in the wilds of Mexico.

Although you'd never know it from watching the film, there was considerable tension on the set of Two Mules for Sister Sarah, not only between Don Siegel and the producer, Marty Rackin, but also between the director and Shirley MacLaine. In his biography, A Siegel Film, Don Siegel recalls filming the famous rattlesnake sequence:

"I decided to shoot a reverse on Shirley reacting to the coiling of the snake; Clint sticking the bottom of his boot towards the striking snake; Clint's foot stamping down just behind its head and his knife cutting off its head. The last thing I wanted to shoot was the actual snake, as we only had one. When I rehearsed with Shirley, her reactions were unbelievably unconcerned. I explained that she must show fear, revulsion, actually recoiling from what she is presumably seeing.

MacLaine: I've killed rattlesnakes in my backyard. It's no big deal. Certainly it's nothing to be frightened of.

Me: But Shirley, in the part you're playing in the picture, you are frightened. Clint is the hero. In your eyes, what he is doing is extremely dangerous.

MacLaine: Well, it isn't.

Me: Whether it is, or not, your character must think it is. So please, let's get on with it. I must have strong reactions to the killing of the rattlesnake.

"I presume she tried; but I was not pleased with her performance. However, when I showed Clint's encounter with the rattlesnake, I heard her gasp, 'Must we kill it?' Unfortunately, her magnificent reaction was off scene. When Clint cut the head of the rattlesnake off, he stood up and handed it to her. Her face was green. She was shaking with fear and revulsion. I uttered a crisp command, 'Don't drop it!" Trembling, she held on to the snake, which was still squirming. I yelled, 'Cut!' before she had a chance to faint....Clint exited, fast. Although Shirley turned greener, she had the guts to hang on to the headless, squirming rattlesnake."

Although Siegel managed to get what he wanted from the rattlesnake sequence, he tangled with MacLaine on another scene. This time it was over burro etiquette. MacLaine maintained it was incorrect to dismount from the left side of a burro. Her decision to dismount from the right removed her from the master shot. After a huge blow-up in front of the entire crew, both MacLaine and Siegel walked off the set and production was temporarily halted. Shortly afterward, Siegel & MacLaine resolved their differences in a private meeting and the rest of the shoot was a breeze with MacLaine being the consummate professional.

Regardless of the behind-the-scenes troubles on Two Mules for Sister Sarah , the film is full of great action sequences, spectacular cinematography by the great Gabriel Figueroa, a haunting music score by Ennio Morricone, the man who scored all those classic spaghetti Westerns, and the dynamic interplay of Eastwood and MacLaine who are at their best in the famous arrow-through-the-shoulder cauterizing scene.

Director: Don Siegel
Producer: Carrol Case, Martin Rackin
Screenplay: Budd Boetticher, Albert Maltz
Cinematography: Gabriel Figueroa
Editor: Juan Jose Marino, Robert F. Shugrue
Art Direction: Jose Rodriguez Granada
Music: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Clint Eastwood (Hogan), Shirley MacClaine (Sara), Manuel Fabregas (Col. Beltran), Alberto Morin (Gen. LeClaire), Armando Silvestre (1st American), John Kelly (2nd American).
C-105m. Letterboxed.

by Jeff Stafford
Two Mules For Sister Sarah - Two Mules For Sister Sarah

Two Mules For Sister Sarah - Two Mules for Sister Sarah

Two Mules for Sister Sarah (1970) is directed by Don Siegel, an often underrated director who has collaborated with Clint Eastwood on some of his most interesting films - Coogan's Bluff (1968), The Beguiled (1971), Dirty Harry (1972), and Escape From Alcatraz (1979). In Two Mules for Sister Sarah, Eastwood finds himself playing protector to a nun (Shirley MacLaine) he rescues from a gang rape in the wilds of Mexico. Although you'd never know it from watching the film, there was considerable tension on the set of Two Mules for Sister Sarah, not only between Don Siegel and the producer, Marty Rackin, but also between the director and Shirley MacLaine. In his biography, A Siegel Film, Don Siegel recalls filming the famous rattlesnake sequence: "I decided to shoot a reverse on Shirley reacting to the coiling of the snake; Clint sticking the bottom of his boot towards the striking snake; Clint's foot stamping down just behind its head and his knife cutting off its head. The last thing I wanted to shoot was the actual snake, as we only had one. When I rehearsed with Shirley, her reactions were unbelievably unconcerned. I explained that she must show fear, revulsion, actually recoiling from what she is presumably seeing. MacLaine: I've killed rattlesnakes in my backyard. It's no big deal. Certainly it's nothing to be frightened of. Me: But Shirley, in the part you're playing in the picture, you are frightened. Clint is the hero. In your eyes, what he is doing is extremely dangerous. MacLaine: Well, it isn't. Me: Whether it is, or not, your character must think it is. So please, let's get on with it. I must have strong reactions to the killing of the rattlesnake. "I presume she tried; but I was not pleased with her performance. However, when I showed Clint's encounter with the rattlesnake, I heard her gasp, 'Must we kill it?' Unfortunately, her magnificent reaction was off scene. When Clint cut the head of the rattlesnake off, he stood up and handed it to her. Her face was green. She was shaking with fear and revulsion. I uttered a crisp command, 'Don't drop it!" Trembling, she held on to the snake, which was still squirming. I yelled, 'Cut!' before she had a chance to faint....Clint exited, fast. Although Shirley turned greener, she had the guts to hang on to the headless, squirming rattlesnake." Although Siegel managed to get what he wanted from the rattlesnake sequence, he tangled with MacLaine on another scene. This time it was over burro etiquette. MacLaine maintained it was incorrect to dismount from the left side of a burro. Her decision to dismount from the right removed her from the master shot. After a huge blow-up in front of the entire crew, both MacLaine and Siegel walked off the set and production was temporarily halted. Shortly afterward, Siegel & MacLaine resolved their differences in a private meeting and the rest of the shoot was a breeze with MacLaine being the consummate professional. Regardless of the behind-the-scenes troubles on Two Mules for Sister Sarah , the film is full of great action sequences, spectacular cinematography by the great Gabriel Figueroa, a haunting music score by Ennio Morricone, the man who scored all those classic spaghetti Westerns, and the dynamic interplay of Eastwood and MacLaine who are at their best in the famous arrow-through-the-shoulder cauterizing scene. Director: Don Siegel Producer: Carrol Case, Martin Rackin Screenplay: Budd Boetticher, Albert Maltz Cinematography: Gabriel Figueroa Editor: Juan Jose Marino, Robert F. Shugrue Art Direction: Jose Rodriguez Granada Music: Ennio Morricone Cast: Clint Eastwood (Hogan), Shirley MacClaine (Sara), Manuel Fabregas (Col. Beltran), Alberto Morin (Gen. LeClaire), Armando Silvestre (1st American), John Kelly (2nd American). C-105m. Letterboxed. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

To your virtues...and especially your vices, Sara
- Gen. LeClair
This is better than killing each other, no?
- Col. Beltran
I only figured there was going to be one funeral...Catholic.
- Hogan
Oh? I didn't know you were Catholic.
- Col. Beltran
Don't you want a woman of your own?
- Sara
What for?
- Hogan
To share your name, bear your children, be a companion.
- Sara
To ask me to quit drinking, quit gambling and save money? And to bitch about her aches and pains all day? No thanks!
- Hogan
What the hell is a nun doing out here?
- Hogan
Sister! This here is a cathouse!
- Hogan
Oh no, Hogan. This is no cathouse. This is the best whorehouse in town!
- Sara

Trivia

Notes

Copyright records list the film's running time as 105 minutes. Portions of the film were shot on location in Mexico. Two Mules for Sister Sara was the first film collaboration between director Don Siegel and star Clint Eastwood, who worked on many additional films together, including the 1971 release Dirty Harry. It also marked the first collaboration between Siegel, Eastwood and Bruce Surtees, who worked as the camera operator on Two Mules for Sister Sara and became the Director of Photography on many of Siegel's films, beginning with the 1971 release The Beguiled. Surtees also continued to work with Eastwood, photographing his first film as a director, Play Misty for Me, which was also released in 1971.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1970

Released in United States on Video May 5, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video May 23, 1995

Formerly distributed by MCA Home Video.

Released in United States Spring April 1970

Released in United States on Video May 5, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video May 23, 1995