Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is ... See full summary »
A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply centre. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »
After Custer and the 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Indians, everyone expects the worst. Capt. Nathan Brittles is ordered out on patrol but he's also required to take along Abby Allshard, ... 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>
Cinematographer Archie Stout and John Ford used infrared black-and-white film stock, developed originally for medical and scientific researches and which doesn't sense the blue and records that color as black, in many exterior scenes shot in the Monument Valley to enhance the clouds and the rock formations. Ford learned that technique from Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa that he worked with for The Fugitive (1947). See more »
During the battle, when York rides toward Thursday, his saber hangs from the saddle. But when he dismounts the saber is held in his waist. See more »
This film is the first and to my mind the best of John Ford's cavalry trilogy. It is the Custer story in all but name, with Henry Fonda as Colonel Owen Thursday in the Custer role, and John Wayne's Captain York presumably representing Captain Benteen, one of Custer's subordinates at the Little Big Horn, who despised Custer and openly clashed with him several times. This film is notable for its detailed portrayal of life on an army outpost, the like of which I cannot recall seeing to this extent in any other film. The Apaches are treated with sympathy in the film. Captain York respects them, and tries to get Colonel Thursday to, but Colonel Thursday is more interested in winning glory by defeating them. During the film, Colonel Thursday and Captain York clash several times, but at the end, with Thursday's attack on the Apaches a disaster, Captain York tries to rescue him and take him to safety. It is here that Colonel Thursday redeems himself to some extent by insisting on returning to the remains of his command to die with them. All in all, a great film.
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