All the way through the latest Tyrone Power Technicolor epic, this reviewer waited eagerly for that standard but entertaining scene where four thousand howling savages descend (at $25 an hour) on the hero's intrepid little band of one hundred (fifteen of whom are wounded in the left shoulder). It never came, and that's just about the trouble with "Captain from Castile"; it never quite comes off. Every scene seems to lead inevitably to a gigantic battle in the final reel, but all suddenly comes to naught as Mr. Power and friends march off into a sunset fadeout.
Power scored a hit as a dashing Caribbean pirate in "The Black Swan," so he has again been thrust into the locale of his former triumph, this time as a member of the Cortez expedition. But Tyrone has been shortchanged; Twentieth Century Fox, though providing violent color contrasts, strident blaring music, and earthy young Jean Peters, has neglected to furnish a blood and thunder plot. Of course, there is a photoplay, something about Cortez and the Inquisition and the trials of chivalry; but in the category that counts, the number of varlets pinioned per reel, it falls woofully short. Power himself suffers more than all his adversaries combined, culminating with a grievous wound in the left shouder.
Most people who go to technicolor extravaganzas would rather have duels than dialogue, and battles than brainfood. If spectacles can be said to have a purpose, it is to give pure entertainment. The technicolor plot is generally too flimsy to carry on unless buoyed up by blood and swordplay. Until some cinemogul realizes that an intelligent picture can be filmed in color, this is the way it will always be: that the number of corpses is directly proportional to the worth of the picture.