Enormous gantry cranes, 127 meters long, tower over the wharf at the Port of Yokohama. From the operator's cabins perched 50 meters above ground, crane jockeys, the rock stars of the port, orchestrate the critical work of loading and unloading vessels. Shigeru Kamiakutsu can shift around 50 containers per hour, 50% faster than the global average. But Kamiakutsu himself doesn't aim for a certain number of containers per hour. "Working as a crane jockey", he says, "is not a track meet". For him, handling the containers gently is paramount. Many of his fellow port workers are onboard the container ships during loading. They say the sound of a 40 ton container being set down roughly is like cars colliding head-on. And they can't help but flinch when each huge steel box, as it is lowered toward the deck, blots out the sun and plunges them into darkness. They are handling hundreds of containers a day like this at ultra-close range. Kamiakutsu tries to minimize their stress by setting containers down gently. He pauses just 20cm above the stack, then slowly lowers the container the rest of the way.
Grant (Ralph Bellamy) is a wealthy rancher who hires four mercenaries to retrieve his wife, Maria (Claudia Cardinale), from the clutches of the desperado Raza (Jack Palance) in this Western adventure set in 1917. Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) is a munitions expert who joins gunslinger Fardan (Lee Marvin), horse trainer Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan), and longbow master Jake (Woody Strode) when the men are offered 10,000 dollars apiece for the safe return of Grant's kidnapped wife. The cadre travels 100 miles into Mexico to retrieve the woman, whom they later discover wants to remain with Raza, but they decide to nab Maria anyway to make good on the money. Soon Fardan, Hans, and Jake are chased across the border by the enraged Raza and his equally deadly female accomplice Chiquita (Marie Gomez), while Dolworth stays behind to fight off Raza's Mexican banditos. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Direction (Richard Brooks), Best Screenplay (Brooks again), and Best Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall).
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