7.4/10
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She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Unrated | | Western | 22 October 1949 (USA)
Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) (as Frank Nugent) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Michael Dugan ...
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Sgt. Hench
George Sky Eagle ...
Chief Sky Eagle
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Cpl. Mike Quayne
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Chief Red Shirt
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Storyline

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, wife of the Fort's commanding officer, and her niece, the pretty Olivia Dandridge, who are being evacuated for their own safety. Brittles is only a few days away from retirement and Olivia has caught the eye of two of the young officers in the Company, Lt. Flint Cohill and 2nd Lt. Ross Pennell. She's taken to wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair, a sign that she has a beau in the Cavalry, but refuses to say for whom she is wearing it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JOHN FORD'S EPIC OF THE FIGHTING CAVALRY! (1954 & 1957 reissue posters) See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 October 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Teufelshauptmann  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As the regiment's blacksmith, named "Wagner" (Mickey Simpson), is seen at work, we can hear the orchestra playing the "Nibelung"-motif from Richard Wagner's famous opera, "Siegfried". In the opera the motif is connected with the forging of Siegfried's sword. See more »

Goofs

Prior to leaving Fort Stock on his last patrol, Captain Brittles writes an objection to having to take a wagon on the mission. He hands the written complaint to Major Allshard, who in turn hands it to Sgt. Hochbauer, who then reads the report up side down. See more »

Quotes

Captain Nathan Brittles: Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness.
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Connections

Referenced in Blaze of Glory: Mel Brooks' Wild, Wild West (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Girl I Left Behind Me
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard over opening credits, in score and sung by troopers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wayne matures as the theme befits the role.
4 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

The second instalment of the acclaimed John Ford cavalry trilogy had a lot to live up to after Fort Apache. So it may not be too controversial to state that "Yellow Ribbon" doesn't quite achieve the potential promise that Fort Apache's foundation building provided. However, here is still a mighty Western of many joys.

The lead theme here is the passing of time, of time and love lost, lest we forget indeed. These themes give the film a strong emotional heartbeat to work from, even if there is not much in the way of adrenaline pumping. Accepting it as an affecting character piece is something of a requisite if you want to get the most out of it, and of course the gifted art of film making is very much on the film's side here as well.

John Wayne gives a top notch performance in what is obviously one of the first out and out serious roles that Ford gave him. His ageing Captain Nathan Brittles requires him to put in a very fallible human type performance, something that he achieves in spades. He's a believable leader who is ruing the calling of time on his career in the service. Yet even Wayne's affecting turn is trumped by some of the the most gorgeous cinematography you could wish to see from the 1940s.

Winton Hoch clashed with Ford on the shoot about various perfections (both parties equally to blame of course), but the final result is incredible. Witness a scene as Brittles visits his dead wife's grave, the backdrop is all purple and red, a storm is imminent, metaphorically and in reality. Has shooting in the desert ever been so colourfully lush?

The film leaves an indelible mark on the conscious for its art and performances (Joanne Dru, Ben Johnson, Victor McLaglen & Harry Carey Jr bring their "A" Game), but as a story it just about gets by because John Ford knows his onions and structures it with precision and a genuine love of the genre and material to hand. 8/10


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