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A mysterious outlaw known as the Sidewinder, phantom leader of renegade Ute Indians, terrorizes the people of the Arizona Territory in the 1870s. When rancher Tex McCloud has his place burned out, he vows to find and kill the Sidewinder. McCloud makes a bet with Cavalry troop leader, Lt. Tom Blaine, that he will be the first to unmask the Sidewinder Written by
Ray Hamel <email@example.com>
Flaming Feather is directed by Ray Enright and written by Gerald Drayson Adams. It stars Sterling Hayden, Forrest Tucker, Arleen Whelan, Barbara Rush, Victor Jory, Edgar Buchanan and Richard Arlen. A Technicolor production, music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by Ray Rennahan.
The mysterious outlaw known only as The Sidewinder is in cahoots with the Native Americans and terrorises Arizona's settlers. But when The Sidewinder chose Tex McCloud (Hayden) as one of his targets, he hadn't banked on Tex linking up with the U.S. Cavalry to hunt him down.
Enjoyably energetic Oater that makes up for what it lacks in originality with gorgeous location photography and a barn storming finale. Ray Enright was a good old pro at this sort of thing, and here he doesn't waste any time with pointless filler scenes or drawn out conversations that don't advance the plot. From the get go we are thrust into an action sequence, and from there on in the film rarely pauses for breath.
Hayden and Tucker make for a beefy coupling, and although the mystery element is not exactly rocket science to work out, the presence of three lovely lady characters does spice up the intrigue surrounding The Sidewinder and those in pursuit of him. It all builds to a wonderful finale that starts out with a Little Big Horn type siege, which then develops into a pursuit and battle up at the Montezuma Castle Monument in Arizona, where fire pit punch ups and ladder skills enthral greatly.
It isn't hard to pick holes in it, it is after all one of those quintessentially early 1950s Westerns that was ignorant to intelligent scripting and screenplays. Yet for sheer gusto and consistently airy beauty this is a must see for Western and Hayden lovers. 7/10
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