Chief of Scouts Ed Bannon narrowly avoids an Apache ambush while working with the cavalry stationed at Fort Clark, Texas. The US Army is trying to talk peace with the Apaches and move them ... See full summary »
Cattle baron Matt Devereaux raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, then divides his property among his sons. Son Joe takes responsibility for the raid and gets three years in ... See full summary »
By 1870, there has been 10 years of cruel war between settlers and Cochise's Apaches. Ex-soldier Tom Jeffords saves the life of an Apache boy and starts to wonder if Indians are human, after all; soon, he determines to use this chance to make himself an ambassador. Against all odds, his solitary mission into Cochise's stronghold opens a dialogue. Opportunely, the president sends General Howard with orders to conclude peace. But even with Jeffords's luck, the deep grievance and hatred on both sides make tragic failure all too likely. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 22, 1951 with Debra Paget reprising her film role. See more »
When General Oliver is beginning to pick himself off the ground after the Apache attack on the military wagon train, the first shot shows the ground to be mostly desert sand, with very little vegetation. But when the scene jumps to a long shot of the General getting up the ground around him is almost entirely covered with green vegetation, showing scarcely any sand at all. See more »
This is the story of a land, of the people who lived on it in the year 1870, and of a man whose name was Cochise. He was an Indian - leader of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. I was involved in the story and what I have to tell happened exactly as you'll see it - the only change will be that when the Apaches speak, they will speak in our language. What took place is part of the history of Arizona and it began for me here where you see me riding.
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Some Arizona treaty history, made colorful and reasonable...
Broken Arrow (1950)
The strength here isn't great movie-making, but a bit of history made clear and fairly vivid. The problem here is that, like many Westerns, it simplifies and oversimplifies both that history and the portrayal of the times. I know this isn't a documentary, but it declares a kind of accuracy in its bones, and it only goes so far. As a drama, a story with drama and characters with depth who we can relate to, it works pretty well, with the themes of honor and love standing up through some of the dreck.
That's the nutshell. James Stewart is dependable and likable, and he represents (as usual) a kind of higher American goodness. Yes, he is often saddled with speeches history requires him to give, often in a slightly stilted "Indian talk" because he learned the native language (and the movie has translated it all to English as was common back then). There are other characters, but again there is the problem that the Indians are played by non-Indian actors, and it strikes a modern viewer (if not a viewer from 1950) and just plain wrong, and stupidly wrong. Okay, you might argue that there was a small pool of good Native Americans to pull from, but even if that's true, why do they pick unconvincing actors to play the main Indian leads, and make them talk in broken sentences?
Anyway, there are tough things in many Westerns. But there are really terrific parts to it all, from the really sound photography, nice clean Technicolor (not widescreen, since this is a few years before that advent). And there is the basic story, which has a nobility that is worth its salt, for sure. The love story is predictable, but it is supported by some colorful traditional costumes and pageantry. And the acting does often rise up--Stewart, naturally, but even some other bit parts are good enough. The director Delmer Daves is not a legend, but he has a couple of remarkable films to his credit, including Dark Passage, and he wrote the screenplay for Petrified Forest, which is high praise.
I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone in particular (there are more amazing Westerns) but if you like other Westerns, and don't mind the low key, steady pace of this one (as opposed to, say, a John Wayne movie), you'll be pleasantly taken in.
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