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During the Civil War, in 1863,Confederate prisoners of war agree to join forces with the Union Army in the common fight against Indians.In return,the Confederate POWs are promised their freedom by President Lincoln during his Special Proclamation.A company of Confederate Georgia cavalry POWs,under the command of Confederate Colonel Clay Tucker, joins the Union on the sole condition they wouldn't have to fight against the Confederacy.The company is sent to the isolated and undermanned Fort Thorn, New Mexico, on the Western frontier. The fort is commanded by Union major Henry Kenniston who is limping from an old war wound and who hates Confederates.The old animosities between Unionists and Confederates quickly resurface during their fragile alliance against the Indians. Written by
Jeff Chandler, who was in the very early stages of his career, admired Joseph Cotten so much that he would show up to watch the veteran actor work even when he was not scheduled to be there. See more »
Robert Wise, great director, made this film which sure looks like a John Ford, could have been a great film, and it would if it would depend only on Wise's direction, and on the cinematography of Leon Shamroy. But it misses out in the writing, somehow the story fails to reach the spectator like it should. It might be understandable for Confederate soldiers, realizing they might never come out alive, to change their uniforms for a common cause, the war against the Indians, specially as it might give them a chance to desert and go back home. Also to defend a fort where Major Kenniston (Jeff Chandler) provoked the attack by cruelly killing the Chief's son, they don't know about this brutal murder. But it prevents the spectator from identifying with Col. Clay Tucker (Joseph Cotten). Cotten's performance also does not help, he was a great actor, but not here. Chandler, on the contrary has a great performance. The film grabs your attention, it is good, but it could have been great.
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