During the war between Maximilian and Juarez in 1865 , there was a small territory on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande known as Zona Libre , Free Zone . It was dominated by a man who called Eduardo Calleja (Pedro Armendariz) and he made it a haven for any man outside the law . This is the story of Zona Libre . Newly arrived is Clete Mattson (Joel McCrea) who has $2million in gold and he is grimly determined to buy guns for the Confederacy . He is a Confederate officer and along with his men journey to Mexico to buy guns to continue the war effort and they wind up in an area known as Zona Libre. As Mattson in a gun-running mission and transporting a treasure , as he finds out the blessings , and along the way delivering the gold proves harder . Then an Union officer determines to stop them. Meanwhile , being developed a triangular love story among Mattson , General Calleja and the eye-catching Carmelita (Yvonne De Carlo who puts deep personalility into the charming heroine) . However , the nasty General has his own plans for both the gold and the Confederate officer whom the girl he loves has fallen for. The General believes she's his property but she seems rather to fancy Mattson . As Clete Manson/McCrea and General Calleja/Armendariz battling for a beautiful girl/Yvonne . Throughout the dangerous paths , the tough Confederate Mattson carrying the valuable hidden treasure and being chased by the ambitious General Calleja , and Union agents , in pursuit, too . A slice of living history out of Mexican frontier's fabulous saga! With gust and gunfire and more dangers lurk. ¡ , they blasted their way into history! Zona Libre ... where everything had its price ... but her kind of trouble was free !..filmed in Morelos (Mexico)'s wild regions where it once happened, as it once happened! The cry that rooked the world'd hottest strip the hell ¡.They Had a Date With Destiny in the Powder-Keg of the West...ZONA LIBRE.
Western drama set in Zona Libre , a small enclave across the river from America controlled by a renegade Mexican general named Calleja, who agrees to sell foreign people what they need ; it packs dramatic moments , noisy action , shootouts , crosses , doublé crosses and a highly commendable musical score . Bursting with attractive characters, interesting sub-plots , and with very decent filmmaking and interpretation . It is set in 1865 , Mexican Civil War between Juarez and Emperor Maximiliano who finally would be deposed, subsequently executed and where governs another tyrant : General Eduardo Calleja . A rugged B class Western from the unheralded Universal Picture medium-budget stable . It is an action-packed , vivid Western and there's plenty of tough action with Joel McCrea in the lead continuing his image as the quietly spoken but grimly determined man who it's dangerous to double-cross , he puts personality into the headstrong hero .And it contains an excellent final climatic fight betwen Joel McCrea and Pedro Armendariz at the exciting end , both of whom fighting into quicksands , it must have left both heroes needing a bath . Mexican revolution often brings out the best in Hollywood's Soldier Of Fortune action heroes , they are apt to give quite a lift , too, to a routine Western story ; these heroes were usually starred by Robert Mitchum , such as ¨Bandolero¨ by Richard Fleischer with Robert Mitchum , Zachary Scott , Ursula Thies ; ¨Viva rides¨by Buzz Kulik with Mitchum , Yul Bynner , Charles Bronson ; ¨The wonderful country¨1959 by Robert Parish with Robert Mitchum , Julie London , Garry Merrill , Albert Dekker and ¨The treasure of Pancho Villa¨ by George Sherman with Rory Calhoun , Shelley Winters , Gilbert Roland . Photographically with portentous images , being spectacularly filmed among the deserts and treacherous canyons of old Mexico and musically , it's a continuous treat , including an excellently thrilling climax . The picture centers on Joel McCrea as a Confederate officer battling for a fortune in arms , he along with his men rob a $2-million Union gold shipment and travel to Mexico to buy guns and supplies to continue the war effort. , all in aid of the Confederacy . Stars Joel McCrea, a coping six-footer in the Gary Cooper tradition , as he grapples rather unsteadly with his role as a Confederate officer who ends with his heart in the right place . Joel McCrea was a ¨B-actor¨ and ¨A-actor¨at times , who starred a lot of films of all kinds of genres , outstanding in Western . And a nice support cast , standing-out two Mexican actors : Pedro Armendariz as a General who despotically rules a safe haven , as he offers sanctuary to outlaws at a price and Alfonso Bedoya as his drunk henchman who makes a smiling and greasy villian as any Western buffs could possiblr wish . An other notorious secondaries in brief appearances as Howard Petrie, George J. Lewis, Galindo , Fred Beir , Bob Reeves , feature-movie debut of Jody McCrea , Joel McCrea's son, and Lane Chandler .
This modest drama/action/Western picture was professionally and firmly directed by George Sherman , assisted by a Mexico production unit ; though slowly filmed, as I miss more action and shots, but it also has crossfire , pursuits and impressive fights . The movie was a collaboration between independient producer Albert J. Cohen and Universal Pictures , supported by the prestigious craftsman fimmaker Sherman . Colorful and brilliant cinematography by Irving Glassberg shot on location in Courthouse Wash, Arches National Park, Utah, Colorado River, Moab, Utah,Professor Valley, Moab, White's Ranch , Moab and Universal studios . In fact , this was the last film shot in the Three-Strip Technicolor process .As well as an evocative and thrilling musical score by uncredited and Universal's regular : William Lava , Henry Mancini and Herman Stein . The motion picture was professionally directed by George Sherman in B-style , though has some flaws . Entertainment , atmosphere , action and excitement surge along with the tale under the hand of filmmaker George Sherman , who is clearly more at home with the thrilling scenes than with somewhat excessively talking storyline . Sherman made reliable low-budget fare for Columbia between 1945-48, then moved on to do the same at Universal for another eight years , where he directed this ¨War Arrow¨ . Sherman specialized almost exclusively in "B" westerns there , including the "Three Musketeers" series, which featured a young John Wayne. George directed lots of Westerns as ¨The Last of the Fast Guns¨ , ¨The Lone Hand¨, ¨Santa Fe stampede¨ , ¨Red skin¨ , ¨Chief Crazy Horse¨ ¨Calamity Jane¨, ¨Relentless¨ , ¨Comanche Territory¨ , ¨Dawn at Socorro¨, ¨Border River¨ and many others . He also made occasional forays into action and horror themes, often achieving a sense of style over substance . The only "A"-grade films to his credit were two westerns starring John Wayne: ¨Comancheros¨ (1961) (as producer) and ¨The big Jack¨ (1971) . His last films were realized in Spain as "Find That Girl" , ¨The new Cinderella¨ and ¨Joaquin Murrieta¨. Rating : 6/10 . Acceptable and passable . Well worth watching , a decent oater and rousing entertainment with the West as wild you could wish