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Fort Defiance (1951)

 |  Western  |  9 October 1951 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 171 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A former Civil War solider bent on killing the man whose surrender got his brother killed, later finds out a rancher wants that same man and his blind brother killed.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Tallon
Ben Shelby
Ned Tallon
Tracey Roberts ...
Julie Morse
George Cleveland ...
Uncle Charlie Tallon
Ralph Sanford ...
Jed Brown, Stagecoach Driver
Brave Bear (as Iron Eyes)
Lt. Lucas
Craig Woods ...
Dave Parker
Dick Elliott ...
Bryan 'Slim' Hightower ...
Hankey (as Bryan Hightower)
Phil Rawlins ...
Les (as David Rawlins)
Jerry Ambler ...
Kit Guard ...
Tracy, Barfly
Wes Hudman ...
Stranger (as Wesley Hudman)


It's just after the Civil War and Ben Shelby arrives looking for Johnny Tallon whom he plans to kill. Shelby was the only survivor of a battle due to the cowardice of Tallon. Thinking Tallon dead, another man who lost a brother at the same battle arrives to kill Tallon's blind brother. Tallon arrives to find Shelby and his brother fleeing. Then they are attacked by Indians and Shelby and Tallon must now fight together postponing the inevitable showdown. Written by Maurice VanAuken <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

9 October 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ataque ao Forte  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


[Speaking over Hankey's grave]
Johnny Tallon: Hankey was a good man. He didn't have any feelings about anything. All he had was loyalty.
See more »

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User Reviews

one of the last 2-color Cinecolor movies
26 September 2011 | by (Tallahassee) – See all my reviews

'Ft. Defiance' is a B-movie western that in terms of story is quite a cut above the typical Saturday matinée fare. But, this is a description of the Cinecolor process it was shot in.

3-strip Technicolor was the first technically viable, full color film process commercially available to the U.S. film industry. Although technically elaborate and expensive, for about a 15 year period (ca. 1935-50) it was also the only full color process available (Kodachrome, a reversal process yielding a positive image from the camera stock, was not regarded as suitable for studio film production).

During Technicolor's reign there were a number of alternative low-budget color film processes based on the 2-color principle of color reproduction. Although 3 primary colors are required to obtain a full color gamut, a surprisingly natural-looking color image can be achieved by using only 2 primary colors, basically, a warm primary and a cool primary.

Instead of dividing the spectrum into 3 bands (red, green, blue), it is split into 2 regions, representing the warm colors (red, orange, yellow) and the cool colors (green, blue, violet). In the photography, red and green color separation filters are used to obtain the 2 primary color images. Because of the technical complexity of full 3-color requirements, the first successful color motion picture processes (Kinemacolor and others) from the 1910's onward, were 2- color processes. Technicolor started out as a 2-color process itself.

As with other 2-color processes (Trucolor being its main competitor) the Cinecolor process used Mitchell cameras adapted for bi-pack filming where 2 rolls of film are run through the camera simultaneously. The camera's magazines had 4 chambers, 2 feed and 2 take-up. Each roll of black & white film captured one of the 2 'primary' images.

A Cinecolor film print contained 2 primary color images, a reddish-orange and a cyan, printed on opposite sides of the film base. In making splices, the projectionist had to scrape emulsion off BOTH sides of the film so the cement could form a proper bond. Focus was achieved by focusing at the center of the film base as a compromise (instead of on the emulsion).

When Kodak and other companies introduced single-strip negative-positive color film systems around 1950 -- which meant that standard production cameras could be used for full- color filming without special adaptations or apparatus -- the raison d'etre for 2-color systems was eliminated, with 'Ft. Defiance' being among the last of its kind. 3-strip Technicolor itself survived only a few more years as a production process, although the lab continued providing imbibition film prints to the industry for more than a decade afterwards.

Like other 2-color processes, Cinecolor suffered from a limited palette, where bright greens, yellows, and purples were not achievable. Most other colors could be represented with fairly reasonable approximations. It also suffered from a bit of variability in color densities. Nevertheless, it was the most natural looking of all the 2-color processes.

Considering its 2-color limitations, what's remarkable about Cinecolor is how natural-looking it could be.

Some other 2-color Cinecolor titles are: Black Gold (1947) Albuquerque (1948) Strawberry Roan (1948) Flight to Mars (1951) Flat Top (1952) .

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