Inferno on the river

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German title Inferno on the river
Original title Blue
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1968
length 112 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Silvio Narizzano
script Ronald M. Cohen
Meade Roberts
production Irwin Winkler
Judd Bernard
music Manos Hadjidakis
camera Stanley Cortez
cut Stu Linder

Inferno am Ruß (Original Title: Blue ) is an American western written by Silvio Narizzano for Kettledrum Productions, Inc. , which was distributed by Paramount Pictures in 1968 . The main roles are played by Terence Stamp , Joanna Pettet , Karl Malden and Ricardo Montalbán . The film is based on a story by Ronald M. Cohen , who also co-wrote the script. The strip, which in some passages is reminiscent of John Huston's work Unassigned from 1960, received almost consistently bad reviews in the USA, but this is viewed differently by some experts; Stanley Cortez's camera work is considered excellent, and the extraordinary English actor Stamp gives the border adventure an idiosyncratic touch.


The gang of the former revolutionary Ortega raids a village in his Mexican homeland to get a few whores; his foster son Azul shoots the commander of a unit of government officials. When they return to camp, the tensions in the horde quickly become apparent, because Ortega's biological sons do not like it at all that a gringo (Azul actually originally came from Texas ) has become the leader's deputy. Ortega's older brother Carlos (in the German version: Ángel) is also grumpy because nothing remains of the group's earlier heroism. To cool off, Ortega decides to cross the border river on American Independence Day and do some mischief on the lost ground.

In fact, it is not very difficult to disrupt the celebration of a community close to the border, to shoot a resister and to rob those present. Azul and his wild brother Manuel have taken a different route to investigate and are surprised by the relative poverty in the abandoned ranch buildings. In a shop that is also deserted because of the party, Manuel brings the carriage of the doctor's daughter Joanne to a stop; At the ceremony a boy had fallen from the tree, and Joanne was about to get her father's instrument bag. The unpredictable Manuel is just about to cruelly abuse the attractive blonde when he is shot by Azul. In the meantime, Ortega's people have retreated, and the Texans immediately set out in pursuit. They don't catch most of the gang, but the sons, who are scattered around the area, do, because Xavier and Antonio were supposed to alert the other two. Because Azul is hesitant to decide to retreat because of the incident and memories that have arisen, Antonio, on whose horse he is riding, catches a bullet; he is also hit shortly afterwards. Antonio falls and is mercilessly executed by the farce encircling him, while Azul can take refuge on a ranch; Xavier escaped the captors and tells Ortega of the betrayal of his foster son.

The house Azul visited happens to be that of Doctor Morton. When he arrives there with his daughter, he immediately wants to notify the farce, but Joanne prevents him because the bandit has saved her life. Azul is then nursed back to health, but does not answer any of the questions asked; the silence only ends when Joanne accidentally slips while trying to shave. After he has recovered, Morton gives the guest a choice - since the widower can definitely use an assistant in the agricultural field, Azul would be welcome, especially since Joanne, who was originally promised to the muddlehead Jess Parker, is slowly beginning to take an interest in the mysterious stranger.

After a night of deliberation, you find Azul - appropriately called Blue in Texan - plowing a field: He has decided in favor of civilization, especially since he would hardly be able to return to Mexico anyway because of the Manuel crime. Soon the entire neighborhood comes for the traditional visit, and the assistant is introduced as Blue Hamilton from El Paso. Everyone is impressed by the newcomer, dressed up for the occasion; only Jess is full of suspicion, as Blue carries a revolver similar to the gang members. Morton can smooth things over, but the jealous mistrust of the neighbor boy remains. And when a little later Joanne promises to defend Blue, Jess is almost certain - he wants to prove at the earliest opportunity that the stranger is a scoundrel and provokes him during a visit to the doctor at the Parker estate. Finally, Blue actually shoots, but only in the dirt at the feet of the challenger. Jess's parents demand that he hold back from now on.

Ortega, on the other hand, shows no reluctance to show up at the Mortons' one evening and wants "his son" back. Blue refuses, and there is a violent fistfight and wrestling match between the two, which the younger clearly wins; the doctor has to prevent Blue from even killing the foster father. Ortega swears bitter revenge - he wants to burn down all the farms in the region. The settlers only have two options: either they move away, or they stand up to fight. You choose the latter and accept Blue as the leader. He immediately set about having the trenches dug at the border river to ward off an attack. After a last flirtation with Joanne, who finally has to accept his inner wildness, Ortega's men rode up. Thanks to the skilful measures, the Mexicans are driven back into the river; many lose their lives. Finally, Blue kills his foster father with a gun, but when he fulfills his last request to die on Mexican soil, he is shot by Carlos lying in a bush (because he is wounded) - Joanne can only recover the body of her lover, although peace is restored.


“The conflict of an American who grew up as the adopted son of a Mexican gang leader, who leads the American settlers in a victorious defensive battle against his former friends, but perishes in the process. Psychologically oriented western, which fell short of its goals due to a lack of directing performance. "

" Terence Stamp :" And there I was out there in the desert, in that little American town. I thought this was going to be the most terrible six weeks of my life. It's a very athletic role and I didn't want to use a stuntman. It would be was just a western, so I wouldn't have had the chance to try out all of these new things that I found out about myself. But the young Mexican bandit has a psychological problem. ""

“An unusually atmospheric western in a ballad tone, pushed to the point of strangely stylized romanticism. Because of some ecstatic violent discharges, it is better to recommend only from 18. "

Production notes

The buildings are by Albert Brenner , Hal Pereira and Al Roelofs . The equipment was provided by Claude E. Carpenter. Edith Head provided the costumes . Gary Morris and Wally Westmore, as well as Nellie Manley were responsible for the make-up and hairstyles. Sound engineers were John R. Carter and John Wilkinson Visual Effects was contributed by Farciot Edouart . Joseph E. Kenney was in charge of production. The film was set in Seven Mile Canyon, Utah , USA .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Inferno on the river. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Joe Hembus: The Western Lexicon - 1567 films from 1894 to today. Wilhelm Heyne Publishing House. Munich. 3rd edition 1995. ISBN 3-453-08121-8 . P. 332.
  3. Evangelischer Presseverband München, Review No. 352/1968.