aka Mrs Maria Grant because she is Mexican and
hence very concerned with the
Mexican Revolution of 1910.
The movie starts with a visit to each
one of the four Professionals at work, or should we say, whatever
they're best at:
Henry "Rico" Fardan (Lee
Marvin) earns 40 bucks per week showing army people how
to use machine guns.
Hans Ehrengard (Robert
Ryan), ex-cavalry and cattle baron, is expressing his disagreement (punch in face) with
the way a
hired hand tries to break one of his
Jacob "Jake" Sharp (Woody
Strode), specialist with rifle, rope, and longbow, hands over a prisoner to a U.S. Marshal's office.
Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster)
is caught fornicating away when his girls' husband comes home prematurely.
Here we go, here are the first 2.30 minutes of the movie:
Via telegram, the three first-mentioned Professionals are
requested to meet wealthy Joseph W. Grant (Ralph
Bellamy) aboard one of his trains. Pronto. What's the
urgency? Claudia Cardinale is missing. Which is bad, because she's
young and pretty and Joe's wife of four years.
Jesus Raza (Jack
Palance) had taken the girl in exchange for a ransom
note. And that's why Grant also
brought 100,000 Dollars in gold coins onto the train.
There's a St Louis Herald
newspaper copy pinned at the wall of the train compartment. The
Villa and Zapata enter
and underneath is a huge group
picture. On the photograph, Joe W. Grant had circled one
man's head, Jesus Raza's. Standing not far from Jesus in the
photograph is Rico Fardan, who was running with
Pancho Villa at the time.
Joe W. Grant: Your hair was darker then.
Fardan: My heart was lighter then.
Joe W. Grant explains to the three men that
Your mission is a
mission of mercy
and tells them the whereabouts of his
kidnapped wife as well as his dilemma, that it would take a
battalion at least a month to get a rescue mission going, but a few
daring specialists, led by Rico, would be able to do it in
one bold swift stroke. The fact that Rico knows Raza
from previous interactions could be only helpful.
Rico hesitates, says what they
really need to get the job done is a dynamiter
A man with a delicate
touch to blow out a candle
without putting a dent in the candle holder
and points to another head on that
newspaper photograph, Rico's old buddy Bill Dolworth.
Slight problem, Grant would need to bail Bill out of jail,
700 bucks would do it. And so it happened.
Rico explains the idea to
Bill: Back to Mexico, this time strictly for cash, 10,000
dollars per man for 9 days of work, which is to bring back Mrs
Grant. Bill expresses his surprise. He thinks it's out of
character for Raza to kidnap.
Bill: Well, I'll be
Rico: Most of us are.
Off they ride, all four of them, crossing the border to Mexico,
traveling by night because it's safer. Pretty soon they are having
their first encounter with Mexican bandidos.
Same setup as in Durango? Bill: Yeah, why not.
The Professionals, 1966
Ten bandidos taken care off.
is harmless in this desert unless it's dead.
Hans passes out from the heat
and Rico gives Bill a heads-up on tomorrow's schedule.
Bill: Coyote Canyon.
The cemetery of nameless men.
We buried some fine friends there.
Rico: And some fine
Heatstroke victim Hans freezes his bum off while the posse
continues traveling at night.
Hans: How in
the name of God does anybody
live here long enough to get used to it?
tempered like steel. Tough breed.
Men who learn how to endure.
Bill scouts ahead and gets caught by another small party of
Mexicans, who let him dangle from a rope upside down for a while.
This incident brings the Professionals to a small pass that provides
Our heroes position some dynamite and
themselves, see picture at the top of the page. They observe how
Jesus Raza and his outfit attack a government supply train, stop
the train, and shoot all federales who surrendered.
Too brutal for Hans, he is
appalled. Bill gives Hans some background info. The murdered
federal troops were Coloradoes, expert marksmen. Also expert
A couple of years ago they had burned
and looted a town of 3,000 people. When they had finished, 40
revolutionaries were left. Rico Fardan's late wife was one of
the 40. The Coloradoes did nasty stuff to her, which
effectively made Rico a widower.
Hans: What are
Americans doing in a Mexican revolution anyway?
there's only one revolution. The good guys against the bad guys. The
question is, Who are the good guys.
Jesus Raza and his men take off with the train and the
Professionals are following them to their headquarters. First they
have to find out where exactly Raza keeps the woman.
From a hiding place and equipped with
spyglasses, the Professionals spot a goat keeper delivering milk to
the camp. They remember the fact that Senora Grant loves herself a
good glass of milk, and decide to grill the goat guy regarding the
whereabouts of the woman.
The milkman points out the exact
building in which the woman is residing at present.
The four men plus the milk guy
re-group in a nearby empty train wagon, which is coincidentally
located right in the goat man's front yard. Time for a cunning plan.
And here it is all drawn out:
gotta make him think that we are the Mexican Army.
The Professionals, 1966
They can't fight their way in.
Diversion is their only chance. Raza needs to think that they
are the federales. Jake, bow specialist, starts
strapping dynamite sticks onto his arrows.
Raza and some of his men arrive
and quiz the goat guy if he has seen any gringos. The goat
guy doesn't flinch and the outfit rides along and the Professionals
are getting ready to strike.
While sneaking up on Raza's
camp at night, they discover Grant's wife being genuinely friendly
with Raza. Surprise. The dynamite goes off and they're taking
the chick anyway, direction back to the goat guy's house where
Hans was waiting with the horses.
Ambush. The goat guy blew the whistle
on our heroes and Raza's men were waiting for them together
with Hans, who got a bullet through his shoulder in the
With the girl as their shield our
heroes make it to the train and head out. Train chase. Raza's
bunch catch up with the train, bring it to a halt, and ... find it
empty. Our heroes managed, God knows how, to sneak away on horseback
via that small pass they had found earlier.
Here is the scene:
As they shuffle along, conversation
wondering, what makes you worth a 100,000 dollars?
Maria: Go to
Bill: I'm on my
And Maria enlightens the gang with another little tidbit. She
grew up with Raza. Raza was her father's stable boy.
They were lovers long before Mr Grant entered the picture.
She only married Mr Grant because that was her father's
And here, a wish is a
And one more. Fearless Maria offers the Professionals a
better bargain than they got
Four lives, yours, if
you let me go.
Jake reports that Raza approaches. As promised,
Dynamite Bill moves that mountain into that pass.
Our heroes can get away yet again.
Desert sand storm. Camp fire
conversation. Maria turns analyst and tells Rico the
reason why he didn't kill Raza back at the Raza
headquarters when he had the chance.
No man was more loyal
to the revolution than you.
Rico puts it into perspective.
Raza is a
thieve and you are a whore.
Maria is unimpressed and cuts
down to the chase.
My husband stole
millions from our country. If we can keep the Revolution alive with
that money for even one more day, then I'll steal and cheat and
whore and anything else that must be done.
Bill adds his two cents. It happened
in El Paso, Texas, in May 1911 when Bill had gotten inspired by the
Mexican Revolution. Across the Rio Grande shooting and yelling broke
out. From the top of the freight cars he could see across the river.
The Maderistas had taken Juarez. Next thing he knew he was
yelling Viva Mexico! with the rest of the crowd. A little
later he was blowing up trains for Pancho Villa.
Rico gives signal to leave.
Maria finds a moment alone with Bill and offers him a
quickie for her freedom. Bill is positively inclined but
Maria fishes for Bill's gun and the moment is lost.
Later, Bill tells Rico
That's a lot of woman
there. Beautiful , classy and guts.
Hard enough to kill you and soft enough to change you.
Still three hours away from the border. Raza and his men are
coming closer fast. Our heroes decide to split. Bill hangs
back to take care of things, the rest moves on to deliver the girl
and collect the cash.
Bill is doing well. He kills
Raza's complete outfit but spares the man and sits down to chat with
him for a
bit. Raza had a philosopher for breakfast and analyses
revolution, life, universe, and everything.
We stay because we
believe. We leave because we are disillusioned. We come back because
we are lost. We die because we are committed.
Bill wraps it up by shooting
Chiquita, who was was Bill's ex-girlfriend who rode with Raza.
Chiquita is in real life Marie Gomez,
who got a Golden Globe nomination for this performance as most
promising female newcomer.
Bill catches up with his team at the border.
up with his fellow Professionals
The Professionals, 1966
Surprise. Bill also brings severely wounded Raza. For
him, it all makes sense now and Bill tells Rico that
he has figured out what makes a woman worth a 100,000 dollars.
J.W. Grant and his men arrive.
He declares the job well done, orders his people to pay up, and
dismisses the Professionals. But not so hasty.
made a contract to save a lady from a nasty old kidnapper,
who turns out to be you.
Rico: Yes, Sir.
In my case an accident of birth.
But you, Sir, you are a self-made man.
And off they go, back into Mexico, Maria in front driving the wagon
with injured Raza as payload, followed by our heroes who lost
10,000 dollars each.
Still poor but having
done the right thing - The Finale
The Professionals, 1966
What's true, What ain't?
Well, let's see... it really did
go downhill with
Pancho Villain 1915.
If you are working for the St Louis
Herald, please tell us how close to fact the newspaper copy was
that J.W.Grant had hanging on his wall in the train.
The Professionals - Film Music
Get ready for
Maurice Jarre's original soundtrack. That's right, the
French guy who is the father of Jean-Michel
Jarre, and the one who won an Oscar for the Lawrence
of Arabia soundtrack, the Doctor Zhivago soundtrack, and
many more awards. Let's crank her up!
The movie is based on the novel A
Mule for the Marquesa. Frank O'Rourke
wrote the piece. The screenplay was prepared by the man who also
directed this picture, Richard Brooks.