CANNON FOR CORDOBA was released in 1970 and starred George Peppard as Captain Roderick Douglas, an officer with Blackjack Pershing(John Russell). The time is 1912 and the border with Mexico is aflame with bands of outlaws, self-styled revolutionaries. General Cordoba is the worst, a deserter from the Mexican army with a mountaintop fortress two hundred miles deep into Mexico from which he launched raids into American territory.
Douglas and two of his men, Jackson and Adam Harkness, two brothers, split up to infiltrate Cordoba’s army for intel on the man’s plans. Adam, the youngest, mamages to get himself caught and tortured to reveal a stop of Pershing’s train. Cordoba had seen the train leave with six field pieces on flat cars and decided he wanted them for his fortress.
Douglas and Jackson stand and watch the torture and murder of Adam(Jackson has to be bullied into it) to remain unknown. The rest of the film, Jackson does his job, but promises Douglas “My time, my place!”
When they hit the town, Douglas needs to get to Pershing and warn him of the coming attack. Cordoba’s lieutenant, Svedborg, keeps sidetracking him, setting him up with a prostitute. Not much time left when he gets away, he passes a message of warning to Pershing via a captain. It never gets there as the man is waylaid and murdered.
Cordoba steals the train, kills thirty-two of Pershing’s men, and escapes back into Mexico.
Douglas’ new assignment: penetrate that mountaintop fortress, destroy the cannon, and bring Cordoba out alive, The Mexican government wants him to stand a public trial. As always in this type of thing, Douglas is on his own. The U.S. government can’t invade Mexico. He’s on his own without orders. If captured, oh well…
Six of them, Douglas, guitar playing Andy(Pete Duel, of Alias Smith and Jones fame), Jackson(Don Gordon, formerly of Combat!), Peter(Nicos Minardos). a Greek intellectual type, Gutierrez(Gabrielle Tinti) a Mexican officer from Cordoba’s old outfit out to avenge the stain on honor, and Lenora, a woman with her own personal hatred of Cordoba for a past rape and murder of family.
I enjoyed this western filmed in Spain with a score by Elmer Bernstein. In some ways, this looked like Hollywood’s attempt to cash in on the spaghetti western craze, at it’s height at this time.
I’d never seen it before, but I do think I remember seeing a tie-in novel way back then.
Worth checking out.