Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week 128: The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory
Of the films I’ve received that cover Alamo history, this is probably my favorite so it still leaves room for the definitive movie to be made about this subject. Yes, it has a cheesy TV feeling to it throughout but you can either fight that and be frustrated or accept and enjoy the film’s merits. I chose the latter path.
What I was most impressed with were the performances of Raul Julia as Santa Anna and Alec Baldwin. The former brings a complexity and humanity not reflected in other portrayals of the Mexican general. Julia always added such a great quality to the lead and supporting roles he played. I miss his presence in movies. Baldwin’s performance surprised me. I was actually named after Colonel Travis and I’ve always been a bit disappointed in the men who played him. However, Alec really found the character and even at the dawn of his career, steals most of the film’s scenes.
Brian Keith and James Arness are not as great but it’s undeniable that these Western legends are fun to watch as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. They really don’t capture the essence of the historical figures but their presence alone is fun.
I still don’t know enough about Alamo history to comment on the accuracy of this film as compared to the others. Whether true or not, I liked that they incorporated more about Santa Anna’s life and personal relationships. I also liked that Travis and Bowie were not quite as antagonistic towards each other as portrayed in the Hancock adaptation. It is disappointing that the battle is staged in the daylight.
Overall, I like this film but I am still waiting for a truly great Alamo movie.
Watched on YouTube.