CANNON FOR CORDOBA marked eight flops in a row for George Peppard, who couldn’t regain ground no matter how hard he tried after a five-year run of hits (Breakfast At Tiffany’s, How The West Was Won, The Carpetbaggers and The Blue Max). By the time this stale retread of other, better items came out in 1970, he was flailing in a direction headed to television. The brutish Rough Night In Jericho had already slunk out, and Peppard’s last westerns, which followed one-two after this wheezer, the woeful One More Train To Rob and the not-worthy-of-woe The Bravos will be lucky if I care to live long enough to hiss at them.
Here, director Paul Wendkos mixes elements of The Professionals and a half-dozen other cowpoke or war movie plots into a visually unattractive, derivative mishmash that spews violence, cheesy dialogue, patently phony situations, contemporary hairstyles and a big So What? into more Spanish locations posing as 1916 Mexico. It doesn’t fool us by hiring Italians Raf Vallone and Giovanna Ralli and Greek Nico Minardos. Jobs for Hollywoodian standby’s Don Gordon (gloomy), Pete Duel (cocky) and John Larch (grumpy) don’t bring glory .
Childhood favorite John Russell plays Gen. Pershing, who would turn over in Arlington if he saw what this script does with him. It’s no fault of Mr.Russell, still A Dude a decade after TVs Lawman, one cast member here who looks slick using a .45 to blast bandits (he had practice, earning a battlefield commission and decorations for valor on Guadalcanal, as well as wounds and malaria).
Most shocking thing about this 104-minute wanker is the cringe-inducing music score–from Elmer Bernstein! He must have just said “this is a piece of __ and that’s what I’m going to give it” because it’s easily the laziest composing of his stellar career.