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Captain from Castile (1948)

aka Captain from Castile

"Master of Women's Hearts . . . . . . . Conqueror of a New World."

Directed By: 
Details: 140 mins · English

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Taglines:

"Master of Women's Hearts . . . . . . . Conqueror of a New World."

"Master of women's hearts!"

"Conqueror of a New World!"

"Here is the full surge of conquest of gold and empire!"

Plot:

In the spring of 1518, near Jaén, Spain, Pedro de Vargas (Tyrone Power), a Castilian caballero, helps a runaway Aztec slave, Coatl (Jay Silverheels), escape his cruel master, Diego de Silva (John Sutton). De Silva is el supremo of the Santa Hermandad, charged with enforcing the Inquisition, and Pedro's rival for the affections of the beautiful Lady Luisa de Carvajal (Barbara Lawrence). Later, Pedro rescues barmaid Catana Pérez (Jean Peters) from de Silva's men. At the inn where Catana works, Pedro becomes acquainted with Juan García (Lee J. Cobb), an adventurer just returned from the New World to see his mother.

Suspecting Pedro of aiding Coatl, and aware that Pedro's influential father Don Francisco de Vargas (Antonio Moreno) opposes the abuses of the Santa Hermandad, de Silva imprisons Pedro and his family on the charge of heresy. Pedro's young sister dies under torture. Meanwhile, Juan becomes a prison guard to help his mother, also a prisoner. He kills her to spare her further torture. Juan frees Pedro's hands and gives him a sword.

When de Silva enters Pedro's cell, Pedro disarms him in a sword fight, then forces him to renounce God before stabbing him. The trio flee with Pedro's parents. Forced by their pursuers to split up, instead of going to Italy to be reunited with his family, Pedro is persuaded by Juan and Catana to journey to Cuba to seek his fortune.

The three sign up with Hernán Cortéz (Cesar Romero) on his expedition to Mexico. Pedro confides in Father Bartolomé (Thomas Gomez), the spiritual adviser to the expedition, about what occurred in Spain. The priest had already received an order to arrest him, but tears it up and gives Pedro a penance in praying for the soul of de Silva, neither aware that de Silva survived.

The expedition lands at Villa Rica in Mexico. Cortéz is greeted by emissaries of Emperor Montezuma, along with a bribe to leave Mexico. Against the opposition of one of his captains, Cortéz persuades his men to join him in his plan for conquest and riches.

Catana seeks the aid of charlatan and doctor Botello (Alan Mowbray). Botello tries to dissuade her, but in the end gives her a ring, supposedly with the power to make Pedro fall in love with her, despite their vast difference in social status. When Pedro kisses her, she rejects him, believing he is under the ring's spell, but he convinces her otherwise and marries her that very night.

Cortéz marches inland to Cempoala, where he receives a bribe of gems from another Aztec delegation. He places Pedro in charge of the detail guarding the gems in a teocalli. Pedro leaves his post, however, to calm down a drunk and threatening Juan. When he returns, the gems are gone. Cortéz accuses Pedro of theft. When Pedro finds a hidden door into the teocalli, Cortéz gives him 24 hours to redeem himself. Pedro tracks the thieves, the captains opposing Cortéz, back to Villa Rica, where they have incited mutiny. With the aid of Corio (Marc Lawrence), a loyal crewman, he recovers the gems, although he is seriously wounded in the head by a crossbow bolt during their escape.

Cortéz promotes Pedro to captain. Then, to remove the temptation of retreat, he orders their ships burned. They march on to Cholula, where they are met by another delegation, led by Montezuma's nephew, who threatens the expedition with annihilation unless they leave. When Cortez protests that he has no ships, the prince reveals that more have arrived. Cortéz realizes that his rival, Cuban Governor Velázquez, has sent a force to usurp his command. Cortez takes half his men to attack Villa Rica, leaving Pedro in command of the rest.

Cortéz returns victorious, bringing with him reinforcements and Diego de Silva, the King's emissary. De Silva is there to impose the Santa Hermandad on Mexico. Juan challenges de Silva to a duel, but is turned down. Father Bartolomé reminds Pedro of his vow, and Cortéz holds him personally responsible for de Silva's safety. When de Silva is strangled that night, Pedro is sentenced to death for the murder. Just before the execution, Coatl confesses to Father Bartolomé that he killed de Silva. Before Pedro can be notified, Catana stabs him with a knife to spare him the degradation of being hanged. Fortunately, Pedro recovers. Cortéz and his followers march on the Aztec island capital.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2007-05-01