“Come and take me, mongrels - if you dare. While I have fingers to grasp a sword, and eyes to see your cowardly faces, your treacherous heads will not be safe on your shoulders. For I am Temujin, the Conqueror. No prison can hold me, no army defeat me.”
Before you really read this post or even continue reading it after you ponder this thought I want you to think about John Wayne as Genghis Kahn…. Ok are you hysterical laughing right now because it is perfectly fine to be totally confused and laughing at that thought. Well actually this is supposed to be before Kahn got the name Genghis in The Conqueror he is called Tamujin.
It is not even worth me summarizing the plot because it is just so bad. Just know Tamujin starts a lot of crap because he wants to take the woman Bortai (Susan Hayward) from a rival tribe as his prize and wife.
The acting is horrendous and when I mean horrendous I sincerely mean it. John Wayne is most definitely not the greatest actor ever but in this film he is just a joke. Every time he opens his mouth I have tears in my eyes from laughing. Susan Hayward who I adore and love as an actress was awful. Agnes Moorhead was in the film too and she just sucked. Every one of the cast members was bad. The acting is like a joke it is so bad. I feel especially terrible for Hayward and Moorhead because they were two fantastic actresses. It seems they were reciting their lines as if they just memorized them and give no feeling. Put this way a kindergartener could have done ten times better.
Dick Powell directed the film. I do not know whether to say he did a good job or a bad job because of the acting. Powell got some great shots of the fighting and the scenery but it is as if he did not direct the actors at all.
Now I am sure you must be wondering why on earth if The Conqueror is so bad why I ever sat through it. The first time I watched the film was in Film Club when two years ago in college. The kid that ran it found it at Wal Mart, read the bad, and just had to get it. He showed it to us and we were all laughing nonstop. We all had such a ball that is one of my favorite memories I have. There was one scene in the film with a dancing bear and one of the guys was laughing so hard that we had to rewind it again! I remember watching this film with my friends like it was yesterday I had such a good time.
On the way back to my doorm I called my grandma to tell her about the film. I told her Susan Hayward was in it and she told me that Hayward was a great actress. I trust my grandma’s judgment when it comes to actors because she is very critical. I found some of Hayward’s other films and have since them become a fan of hers. If my grandma had not told me that Hayward was a good actress there would have been no way I would have seen her other films!
So The Conqueror is one of the worst films ever made. I believe my friend told me that even when it was released it was just bad and that RKO actually had to bill it as a comedy after some previews. But guess who owns The Conqueror on DVD? That’s right I do! It is one of those films that are so bad it’s good. I have shown The Conqueror to some of my other friends and we laughed the entire time. If the film can be found online or if for some unknown reason TCM ever plays it sit and watch it you will not regret it haha.