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GLENN FORD IN 'THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE'

Poster Art Showing the title mares predicted in Revelations YEAR: 1962
This isn't a war picture but more of a thematic tale of how peace can't last forever...
In GET SHORTY, John Travolta's movie fanatic gangster brags about going to see "Charlton Heston playing a Mexican" on the big screen, a pop culture punchline for the classic border killing Film Noir TOUCH OF EVIL, which has been considered the last Noir ever made, probably since there wasn't anywhere to go from that point... In actuality, Heston, known for chewing up intentionally overboard roles (many based on Biblical stories) is at his most subtle and genuine, turning in a surprisingly realistic and earthy performance while the likes of, "You damn dirty gringo!" is nowhere to be heard... 

Warner Archive Original Blue Cover
The same goes for Glenn Ford, a much more subtle and overall dependable actor to begin with, as the rich grandson of a boisterous old-timer; both from Argentina. Ford's more all-American looking than Charlton Heston, and with a slightly darkened face he's somewhat out of his element i.e. completely miscast. Although for an actor with his talent it's no surprise he takes the role of a womanizing twenty-something (despite being much older) with finesse; a would-be painter hanging around Paris during the late 1930's without a care in the world — other than seducing a classy married French society dame played to perfection by Ingrid Thulin, whose husband is sent overseas to fight the Nazis: Those infamous devils being all too human here, including Ford's own cousin who was a med student in Germany before joining the Third Reich. This soft-spoken yet proud and intense young man is also the grandson of the family patriarch, Lee J. Cobb, who stretches a small amount of time onscreen to the hilt, and beyond...

Leading to the most intense, memorable and important scene, and (arguably) the campiest. Cobb, who, along with grandson Ford, both bear the name of Julio (while looking entirely Caucasian), loses his mind after finding out, at a dinner party reunion, that one-third of his clan serve proudly under Adolf Hitler, making Cobb's Julio Sr. suffer a panic attack followed by a heart attack. Before which, he hallucinates the four title horsemen from the Bible's book of Revelations: a creepy and sinister vision riding the darkened clouds. This catapults a two-hour-plus soap operatic melodrama separating those against the Nazi takeover of France, like Julio's sister, a young idealistic college beauty, Yvette Mimieux, who tries to get her brother to stop having so much fun and to join the cause.

Biblical Epic Looking Poster for Four Horseman
The main dilemma centering on our flaky anti-hero has nothing to do with his decision to ignore the impending Nazi rule, but the stubborn drive to remain involved with the married French woman. So really, this isn't a war picture but more of a thematic tale of how peace can't last forever, especially within families. Despite playing an undependable, oblivious, one-dimensional charmer through most of the ride, Ford is a delight to watch as he kicks proverbial ice around the deck of The Titanic, already beginning to sink under Germany's goose-stepping tyrants...

FourHorsemanScore: ***1/2
And through the good parts, when the steamy love affair gets underway, especially intriguing in the courtship stages, to a predictable turnout involving our man's ultimate decision about the Resistance: HORSEMEN is one of those fantastical soaps based on history and, directed by Vincent Minnelli during the final stages of studio Moguls running Hollywood by turning out "the bigger the better" epic sagas, it tanked at the box office. And to think, it could have easily fit into a ninety-minute run time, being that the central plot-line concerns Ford having a ball going from expensive cafes to barrooms to afternoon art auctions, that is, before the bottom falls out and before that, overlong and ponderous scenes as he comes around to his sister's way of thinking (technically, she's right... but for the movie itself, she's a major buzzkill). As an actor, Ford can make anything interesting, within limitations, which THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE tends to stretch beyond its own good, and ability. So you're much better off seeing Charlton Heston as a Mexican than Ford as an Argentinian.  
Hungover Bohemians Lee J. Cobb and Glenn Ford travel back after a night of partying
Charles Boyer Glenn Ford The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Charles Boyer Glenn Ford
Karlheinz Böhm The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Karlheinz Böhm with Glenn Ford & Lee J. Cobb
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