The Professionals By Frank ORourke

Frank ORourke ã 6 Read & download

An exciting, intelligent adventure novel set in 1916, involving five expert mercenaries hired to rescue a woman from Mexican revolutionaries. The story in very, very fast-paced, interspersed with wonderfully written action scenes. The characterizations are all top-notch and the descriptions of the men treking through the searing heat of a waterless desert are incredibly vivid.

I had never read this one before, but the movie version is one of my favorite films. So I enjoyed the novel as much by seeing the differences in how several key plot twists were pulled off and the differences in the personalities/movtives of some of the main characters. Western, Crime, Childrens The Professionals, based on the novel by Frank O’Rourke

Given the first part of this Academy Award nominated motion picture, it seems unlikely that the action feature would be about love, values, compassion, meaning, friendship and transcendence.

A rich man, J. W. Grant tries to get his wife back, after a Mexican revolutionary leader, Raza, has kidnapped her and for that, he is ready to pay ten thousand dollars for each man in a party that would get the spouse back.
Lee Marvin, an excellent actor, especially in the role of the brave, tough, determined hero, plays the valiant and resilient Rico Fardan, who seems to be the leader of the expedition, Robert Ryan is Ehrengard, a specialist with the horses he loves so much, Woody Strode plays the part of Jake, the man who can find the trail, knows when the enemy is advancing and more.

Rico Fardan pays the nine hundred dollars bail to get his friend, Dolworth, from jail and invite him to join their rescue mission, into enemy territory, facing incredible odds, ion exchange for the ten thousand that each would get if they return Maria to her grieving husband.
Playing Dolworth is one of the legends of cinema, a divine actor, whose strength, vitality, bravery, talent, charisma were phenomenal, he has left a legacy that includes memorable roles in Atlantic City, Elmer Gantry, Field of Dreams, Local Hero, The Gypsy Moths, The Leopard and more.

Very early on the trail, they have to face the enemy, although it is not Raza yet, but a party of vicious men, who catch the explosives expert, Dolworth, hang him upside down, trying to get all the secrets he has, when they have to confront Rico and the others.
In one interesting, unhappy moment, Dolworth talks about shooting the horses – an advice that we read about in other places, cruel as it is, such as The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, where the guide tells the members of the train that they would not be able to shoot the opposing Native Americans, therefore they need to target the animals.

Both Fardan and Dolworth have been fighting on the same side with Raza, indeed, they used to be friends, fighting for the same revolution, only now the dream of fighting the bad people is finished.

Dolworth has some deep insight when he says that the idea of the good fighting the bad does not work, talks to Raza at one point and says that at the end of the fight, the politicians take over and everything is destroyed – reminding one of the quote - “like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children,”
There is also a joke on the idea of a superficial, of botched, failed revolution, that we could have used for our own uprising, which led in 1989 to the fall of one of the most infamous dictators, the disgraceful Ceausescu:

Dialogue with a Latin American (decades ago) or a Romanian in 1989:
What are you doing? I am going to have my lunch…and after that? A siesta…and after that? I do not know…Maybe a revolution

The group of four braves has to confront a small army lead by revolutionary Raza and the only way to succeed is to use guerilla tactics, employ the talent of the dynamite wizard and create confusion, making the enemy think that they have a very numerous opponent attacking.
The tactics are nearly perfect, Dolworth and Rico reach the room where the kidnapped Maria – portrayed by the outstanding, gorgeous Claudia Cardinale – and before the explosions start, they see their former friend, Raza, enter, approach the resplendent woman.

It is a huge surprise to see that the revolutionary leader is not about to force himself upon or abuse the woman, instead, she is evidently infatuated with the man, embraces, caresses and cherishes the kidnapper.
Is this the Stockholm syndrome in an extreme form, where the victim is so inebriated that she is in awe, or maybe she was drugged, suffered a commotion and her mind is in pain and unable to operate?

There is no time to interpret the situation, for the dynamite set by the Professional is blowing up in various places, the chaos it creates makes the horses and people roam around the enclosure and Dolworth is about to kill Raza, when the leader of the expedition stops him.
They carry Maria away, she explains that she loves the Mexican fighter, she had loved him before she married the rich Texan, forced by her father, while she wants the revolution to succeed, and she loathes the rich spouse that she feels has taken away the wealth of her land.

Therefore, the action movie, with its explosions, gun fights, proofs of valor, acumen, gift for tactics and strategy, clever guerilla operations, becomes a film about love, values, fighting the evil rich, the beautiful heroine in love with the freedom fighter, self-sacrifice, the Wonder Woman, the Super Heroes and the Evil Arrogant Grant.
For quite some time, the expeditionary force fights Raza, in ambushes, using dynamite again, in gun fights, but will they side with the rich or the lovers, is this a kidnapping solved or justice done for the good, who happen to be also beautiful…
Western, Crime, Childrens The book was originally titled Mule for the Marquessa, but later changed to tie-in to the movie The Professionals which was (fairly) closely based on the book. I've seen the movie a number of times over the years and enjoy it, but the book is even better. The dialog is terse, as between soldiers-of-fortune who are very good at their jobs and trust their compatriots. O'Rourke's description of the arduous trek from the border down through the desert and mountains paints compelling word pictures of a formidable country. The landscape is so vividly described and such a fundamental part of the tale, that I wonder if O'Rourke covered the ground in person.

Normally, I'm not that big of a fan of Westerns, but this one is great. (If you enjoyed the movie, read the book anyway! While the plots and characters are similar and true to each other, they're still not the same - I was guessing how the ending would play out till the final page) Western, Crime, Childrens Mr. O'Rourke draws a firm bead on a story-line. Set in the sixth gear of the Mexican Revolution, this saga of five larger-than-life soldiers-of-fortune takes us across mountain and desert to rescue the Marquesa, wife of Grant, a man who has made his fortune middle-manning guns and supplies to Villa. The Marquesa has been kidnapped by a band of renegade revolutionaries for a triple purpose, pardon from Villa, reward, and ultimate revenge against Grant. The five hired rescuers are headed by Fardan, who combines a taste for adventure with a penchant for retrospection. The action flows fast under a sun as relentless as the kidnapper's deadline and is interspersed with a little it's bigger than all of us desert-mountain philosophy. Straight shooting leads to the inevitable rescue but there is a surprise twist. Very different from the movie, but, from my perspective, a much more satisfying plot. Western, Crime, Childrens Frank O'Rourke is a writer of westerns whose books I quite enjoy. This book and the movie from it are both well done. Set in the Mexican Revolution, the story offers glimpses into the sordid politics of revolution itself, the lives of soldiers of fortune and the beauty and harshness of the desert country. The plot is simple enough; five professionals are hired to rescue a kidnapped wife, held for ransom but set to die regardless. The details of how it is done make for good reading. My paperback published in the early 60s is nearly worn out. Western, Crime, Childrens

The Professionals

Five soldiers of fortune are hired to retrieve a wealthy rancher's wife who has been kidnapped by a bandit. Or was she? It's a good novel that was made into a very good movie (Lee Marvin, Woody Strode, Burt Lancaster, etc.). Western, Crime, Childrens This story set in 1916 about five men who agree to rescue a kidnapped woman from the clutches of Mexican bandits during the waning days of the Mexican revolution really makes you understand what a hassle it would be to travel anywhere or mount any kind of expedition on horseback. Much detail is given over to the logistics of packing and unpacking supplies and the feed and care given to horses and mules. Western, Crime, Childrens Excellent novel about the American/ Mexican west in the early 1900's about 5 soldier of fortune types on a quest to retrieve a kidnapped wife. Western, Crime, Childrens