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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>
The plot for this movie was loosely based on Custer's Last Stand with Thursday as Custer and substituting Apaches for the Sioux. The cover-up by the survivors and the military of Thursday's blunder is in line with the cover up of Custer's mistakes and deliberate disobedience of his orders at Little Big Horn. See more »
When Captain York and Beaufort are riding to meet Cochise they pass a spot on the Colorado River which is on the northern border with Utah not the southern border of Arizona with Mexico. See more »
You did what you did... rode to glory. I did what I did... wound up at Fort Apache. Well, you've wound up here, too.
Lt. Col. Thursday:
No, by thunder, I've not wound up; not by a jugful! They've pushed me aside, sent me out to this ten-penny post; but they'll not keep me buried. I'll find something.
This isn't a country for glory, Owen.
Lt. Col. Thursday:
I'll take my risks. I always have.
Well, then all I can do is wish you good luck; and I wish you that sincerely.
See more »
Director John Ford's first entry in his cavalry trilogy is this excellent film about life on a military outpost far from the glamorous theaters of the Indian Wars on the northern plains. The film touches on character development of the officers and enlisted men on the post, family relationships and the class distinctions among the military social order. Henry Fonda is great as a bitter, unhappy colonel who feels unappreciated by the military hierarchy and is displeased by his assignment to the isolated desert areas. John Wayne gives the film just the right balance as a captain who looks out for his men and knows Indians. Ford has his regular cast on board for the film, and John Agar and Shirley Temple handle the romantic clinches. The pace is slowed somewhat by comedy bits that add nothing to the film's substance. The black and white camera work is stunning and the music is reflective and melancholy.
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