Behold a Pale Horse (1964)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Release Date - Aug 14, 1964 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Behold a Pale Horse is one of those films that a viewer really, really wants to really, really like, but unfortunately it ends up being one of those films that gets an "A" only for effort. Ponderous and overly weighty, Horse has been directed by Fred Zinnemann under the assumption that seriousness of purpose is enough -- and it most definitely is not. Zinnemann does a fine job of creating atmosphere, but he falls very short on creating believable dramatic tension -- and without that, he's not able to sustain the atmosphere he worked so hard to create. There's also a deadening lack of humor in Horse; while this isn't the kind of film that inspires laughs, this lack of any relief only adds to the ponderousness and makes it feel oppressive. The last 15 minutes are quite good, full of action, excitement and tension -- but getting to them requires a bit of a struggle. Things are made easier, thankfully, by an excellent all-star cast. It takes a bit to get used to Gregory Peck as a Spaniard, but his performance is quite good. Even better is Anthony Quinn, evil and oily without being over the top, and there's also solid work from Omar Sharif, Raymond Pellegrin, and Mildred Dunnock. The cast can't make Behold a Pale Horse a great film, but they do more than their share to keep it moving.