During the Texas War of Independence of 1836 American frontiersman and pioneer Jim Bowie pleads for caution with the rebellious Texicans.They don't heed his advice since he's a Mexican citizen,married to the daughter of the Mexican vice-governor of the province and a friend to General Santa Anna since the days they had fought together for Mexico's independence.After serving as president for 22 years,Santa Anna has become too powerful and arrogant.He rules Mexico with an iron fist and he would not allow Texas to self-govern.Bowie sides with the Texans in their bid for independence and urges a cautious strategy,given Santa Anna's power and cunning.Despite the disagreement between the Texicans and Bowie regarding the right strategy they ask Bowie to lead them in a last ditch stand, at Alamo, against General Santa Anna's numerically superior forces.
Republic Pictures take on the Alamo legend. Forget any adherence to historical facts, directed by Frank Lloyd and with a Warren Duff screenplay, The Last Command is a slow moving piece that uses Jim Bowie as its focal point. Starring Sterling Hayden (Bowie), Richard Carlson (William Travers), Arthur Hunnicutt (Davy Crockett), Ernest Borgnine (Mike Radin), J. Carrol Naish (Santa Ana), and Anna Maria Alberghetti (Consuela), the piece was a project long courted by John Wayne. However, Republic refused to sanction the type of budget the Duke wanted for his vision. So after offering him a nominal fee for a part, he refused and Republic promptly went on to make the film anyway. The final result is an interesting film that finally pays off for those having the patience and tolerance for patriotic flag waving. The story follows the battle of the Alamo in San Antonio in 1836, where brave Texans gave their life to become free of the Mexican rule, by defending the former mission station against overwhelming odds as the Mexican army of Santa Ana closed in for victory. The final battle is very well staged by Lloyd, and the acting, though not making the earth move, is very competent, particularly Hayden who does a nice line in tortured ruggedness. Max Steiner provides a zippy score and the low budget use of Trucolor doesn't affect the work of cinematographer Jack Marta. Safe and enjoyable as a story telling piece, if ultimately far from being a rousing spectacle fit for that particular part in history. 6/10