Santiago, A gun runner, dishonorably discharged from the military, is swept deeper into a revolution in Cuba when he crosses paths with an enemy from the past and a beautiful revolutionary and her son.
Shane moves South
This is an above-average outing for Alan Ladd, who had a very uneven career, but the real value is in the superb cast of supporting character actors, including Lloyd Nolan, Paul Fix, Chill Wills and Royal Dano, among others.
Santiago is set in Cuba just before the Spanish-American War. Ladd and Nolan are competing gunrunners trying to sell weapons to the Cuban revolutionaries. Neither are saints, but whereas Nolan is the obviously villainous type, Ladd is the Good Man with a Stain in his background, just waiting to be rescued from the wrong path. His guide is the beautiful rebel Rossana Podesta, who is fiery, noble and breathes deeply on cue. Wills, Fix and the rest of the very competent supporting cast play their roles well. There is one surprise in the ending but otherwise it’s predictable.
Santiago It’s a competent studio production for the period, with enough detail to make it credible. It’s not a great movie, but it is good entertainment, with a beautiful girl, a Cause and a Moral…what more could you ask for in 1956! Santiago was one of those routine action adventure programmers that Alan Ladd’s agent Sue Carol insisted on casting him instead of letting him gradually transition to character roles. But when you’re married to the agent and as agreeable a fellow as Ladd apparently was during his life you can’t turn your agent down so easily.
This is one of the few American made films that deals with the Cuban rebellion as opposed to the Spanish-American War, not that there are that many that deal with it. The setting is Cuba in 1895 and the island which did not choose to participate in the general revolt against colonial Spain is finally getting tired of being a colony.
Santiago The plot concerns two American gun runners, Alan Ladd and Lloyd Nolan who hate each other both looking to sell guns to the Cuban rebels for cash on the barrel-head. To collect they have to go to Cuba with the delivery.