A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »
In John Ford's sombre exploration mythologising of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honour which he believes is rightfully his. Arrogant, obsessed with military form and ultimately self-destructive, Thursday attempts to destroy the Apache chief Cochise after luring him across the border from Mexico, against the advice of his subordinates. Written by
Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>
Shirley Temple and John Agar were married at the time the movie was made, but went through a highly publicized divorce complete with allegations of spousal abuse, infidelity and alcoholism a couple of years later. See more »
After Capt. York rides out to rescue Thursday, Thursday asks for and is given York's saber. When we next see York on the ridge with the supplies watching the attack his saber is in his scabbard. See more »
[after telling the soldiers to destroy the whiskey in Meacham's storeroom, Col. Thursday starts to leave]
I'll protest. I'll write Washington, I'll have you busted!
Lt. Col. Thursday:
Mr. Meacham, you're a blackguard, a liar, a hypocrite and a stench in the nostrils of honest men. If it were in my power I'd hang you from the nearest tree, leave your carcass for the buzzards. But, as you are a representative of the United States government, I pledge you the protection and cooperation of my command. Good day, sir.
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I know that many consider Red River or The Searchers to be Wayne's greatest cowboy movies, but for me, you can't get better than Fort Apache. It is the first of John Ford and John Wayne's cavalry trilogy and is the best of the lot.
I think the most interesting thing about the film is its rather sympathetic view of the American Indians--they were shown as being decent and 3-dimensional and Wayne repeatedly stressed the importance of our country keeping its word of honor to them as well. In fact, it was very funny seeing Wayne portraying the voice of reason while Henry Fonda was more of a martinet and could have cared less about honor and truth.
Along the way, these two great actors are supported by old familiars like Victor McLaglen and Ward Bond, as well as Shirley Temple and her then husband, John Agar. Despite criticism leveled towards Agar by the media over the years (and to a lesser extent, to the adult Temple), I think they did just fine in their roles and made a positive contribution to the movie.
And finally, the action and cinematography is tops. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful black and white film or one where so much care and effort was given to make a great film.
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