“Ain’t you gonna scream?” a young Charles Bronson asks as he sexually assaults Sarita Montiel. “I like it better when they scream.” None of the surrounding mercenaries make an effort to free her from his grasp. Vera Cruz is, in short, an strikingly amoral vehicle for Gary Cooper in 1954, just two years after his High Noon virtue Oscar. (Burt Lancaster looks as happy as a pig in shit.) Robert Aldrich’s early work presages Sam Peckinpah’s Mexico as a haven for American speculators: 13 years before Aldrich filmed The Dirty Dozen, everybody already looks filthy. Laurelhurst Theater.
- Best paired with: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
- Also showing: Crazy Heart (Academy, Bagdad, Edgefield, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst, Valley), A Single Man (Academy, Laurelhurst).