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The Professionals

An old fashioned, action packed and exciting sixties classic, THE PROFESSIONALS is as much fun today as the day it hit theatres in 1966.

Ralph Bellamy plays Texas Millionaire Grant, whose beautiful young wife has been kidnapped and taken deep into Mexico by Raza (a terrific Jack Palance) and his band of revolutionaries.

Grant collects a group of professionals to ride after Raza and bring her back. Lee Marvin is excellent as the leader of the bunch, who soon brings in dynamite expert Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode.

Lancaster and Marvin have terrific sparring chemistry and bring equal doses of humor, macho bravado and firepower to the film. 52 when this was made, Lancaster insisted on doing all his own stunts.

Claudia Cardinale (Once Upon A Time In the West, The Pink Panther) IS beautiful, bold and carrying more than a few secrets on the adventure.

Writer/Director Richard Brooks (Elmer Gantry, Bite the Bullet) nails the action and adventure, along with some full scale action sequences involving trains, explosions and plenty of horsemen.

Brooks and viewers are lucky that Conrad Hall (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man) photographed all the action, lending big sweeping shots and perfect framing of all the biggest scenes while perfectly capturing the quieter moments of intrigue deep in imposing caverns.

While nominated for this film, Brooks and Hall would win Oscars for directing, writing and photography the following year for their crime drama "In Cold Blood".

Marvin and Lancaster are as good as it gets in this action/western classic, wrapped in classic score by Maurice Jarre and filled with widescreen explosions of every variety.

These ARE professionals at work, earning a timeless B+.

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