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|Index||11 reviews in total|
O'Brian is great as Vickers, the man on a quest for vengeance. Set against the backdrop of Custer's Last Stand this is an action-packed western with a fine supporting cast-especially Tucker and Carey Jr. The action is done on grand scale, and there's enough of it to satisfy.
The twist is the hero joins the cavalry to settle a personal revenge. The island battle was great in my opinion. It seems to be based loosely on the historical Battle of Beecher's Island (in Colorado)named after Lieutenant Beecher who was killed during the battle. I liked the some of the attention to historically correct items such as using different colored scarves instead of everyone wearing yellow scarves and the use of Kepi hats when in garrison. What wasn't correct is the use of chevrons and officer shoulder straps on the shirts but that I can overlook since practically all the movies of that time have that error. In summary, it was a good story, could have been a little better but standard western entertainment.
Much of this film was shot here in my town(Billings,Montana).They
converted the 4H display barns at our fairgrounds for the Calvary
fort.Other footage was shot where Montana's State Championship
motorcycle Hillclims takes place twice a year. The male actors when not
on set like to hang out at a local night spot called "The Elmo Club".
Edmond O'Brien like to drink and it sometimes got him in trouble when
he tried to flirt with the local women of Billings.Their husbands
didn't take kindly to his behavior even if he was a quote "Moviestar"
The film had it's premiere here in Billings in August 1951 at the FOX Theater(now the ALBERTA BAIR THEATER)..They built a stage in front of the theater and the Stars and many cast members were present for the premiere. My Mother told me that she had taken me to this premiere in 1951.I don't recall being there;maybe because I was only 2 yrs old then.
Although probably not the most noteworthy picture that was shot here in Billings or Montana,it was shot in 3 strip Technicolor and had beautiful background shots.Most of the main Actors aside from Polly Bergen are gone now.It is still shown occasionally on Turner Classic Movies(TCM)...S.M.
Why would anyone watch an ordinary Western over and over? The story is
hardly original. The tale of the Battle of the Little Big Horn has only
been told a hundred times or more. As a matter of fact, the plot is very
similar to "Bugles in the Afternoon", a better film about the same subject.
The script ranges from average to dumb. The direction is uneven. However,
the production has some fine moments.
The fight for their lives by star Edmund O'Brien's cavalry troop at an island in the river is outstanding. The entire scene carries an unusual degree of realism. The fighting is hand to hand as the Indians assault the troops on the island. Rifle shots and war whoops punctuate the frenetic action. You can almost smell the gunsmoke and see the sweat on the soldiers' brows. When O'Brien brings General Custer and the regiment to the rescue there is genuine celebration. In my opinion, this is one of the best action scenes in any Western. I am always sorry to see it end.
Unfortunately, the high standard set by the Battle of Nelson's Island (named after the bit character who dies early in the battle) is not maintained before or after. The movie gives us romance, fist fights, escape from Indians and two more battles, but it's all very familiar. Even the plot is transparent. John Vickers (played by O'Brien) is joins the cavalry to find his fiance's killers. It is obvious before the script mercifully reveals it that Sergeant O'Hara (played by Forrest Tucker) and Quade (played by Dean Jagger) are the culprits. Ultimately, both men redeem themselves, but their redemption is not credible. The romance between Vickers and Molly Quade (played by Polly Bergen) comes off better, but even that's predictable. A good cast is largely wasted.
Why do I like this movie? In addition to the spectacular action at the island, I enjoy Forrest Tucker. It is little wonder that we see him in similar roles in "Bugles in the Afternoon", "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "Flaming Feather". I even liked him in "F Troop". He wears that uniform well.>
The final reason I like this movie is Paul Sawtell's score. Paul Sawtell is hardly the most familiar composer in movie history, but he wrote some great tunes for Westerns. "Warpath" has one of the best cues from any Western musical score. It is used initially in the opening title and is repeated later in the wagon train sequence. When I watch this movie I use my Fast Forward button to get me to the good parts.
Paramount certainly didn't stint on the massed scenes. There are tons of extras for the battle at the river and for the many procession scenes. They're convincing as heck in their sheer numbers. Then too, the Montana locations are spectacular, even the flatlands. And for a touch of exotica, the many Indians really look like Indians, probably because they are. So given these ingredients, why is this epic-sized Western as obscure as it apparently is. In my view, the script is too clutteredthe two themes, revenge and Indian wars tend to crowd one another, and that's along with a number of subplots, like the needless romantic one. As a result, there's no suspenseful buildup to any kind of climax. Except for the river attack that should be the climax, the vignettes simply unfold. Then too, lead actor O'Brien can make you believe he's tough, but physically, he's miscast. Especially when he tangles with the towering Tucker. For sheer acting ability, he's a great one, but for star power or marquee appeal, the dynamo of DOA (1950) remains a lesser- known. Anyway, as others point out, the river battle is spectacularly staged, and that along with the vivid Technicolor photography compensate for a lot. I just wish they had sent the screenplay back for a slimming down and restructuring session.
O'Brien and Haskin were to make a second movie the same year :"silver
city";although "war path" has Polly Bergen instead of Yvonne De Carlo
(the former can't compete with the latter as far as beauty and
seduction are concerned ),it's got a better screenplay ,more
interesting characters and O'Brien ,who plays again an educated man
(engineer in "silver" ,lawyer before joining the army in "war") seems
more interested in his part.
The title is well chosen ;"warpath" has two meanings in the plot: 1)O'Brien's fiancée was killed in an armed robbery and he learns that two of her murderers have joined the army So he becomes a private ,to his officers' dismay, cause "he was a great officer in the civil war".But this time ,it's a way to satisfy a desire for personal revenge.
2)The Indians are on "warpath" too and they play the part of the villains ;Custer is considered THE hero of the era and it's interesting to compare the way he is depicted with those of seventies works such as "litle big man" .
All in all,the most endearing character is O' Hara (Forrest Tucker):it's not exactly the average villain and he has some surprises in store for the audience.
I think if I hadn't already seen several better revenge-themed westerns
I would have liked "Warpath" much more. Now this isn't to say it's a
bad film--it's quite good. But westerns of the same time period such as
"Seven Men From Now" and "The Bravados" handled similar material just a
bit better. But, considering it stars Edmond O'Brien, it's still well
worth your time.
"Warpath" begins with O'Brien catching up to a man he's been tracking for years. When he confronts him for an almost decade-old murder, the man tries to shoot O'Brien but is plugged by him in the process. Next, O'Brien has a run-in with an obnoxious cavalry sergeant (Forrest Tucker)--and then, inexplicably, joins up with the outfit! It seems that the trail leading to the killers of O'Brien's wife leads to the 7th Cavalry. What's next? See the film.
The film's biggest asset isn't the plot (which is decent) but the actors. O'Brien, Dean Jagger and Tucker are all quite good--as is young Harry Carey, Jr. in an interesting role as a commanding officer. Overall, you could do a lot worse and the film is interesting throughout.
O'Brien plays a man whose fiancé was murdered by three bandits. After killing one, he finds that another one is in the cavalry, so joins the cavalry to find him. He doesn't know what the two men look like, but they soon realize he is onto them. Along the way, he proves his worth, and is made an officer. He falls in love with a woman whose father may be one of the men he is looking for. After some skirmishes he is captured, along the woman, her father (Dean Jagger), Forest Tucker, Paul Fix, and others, and they await their deaths at the hands of Native Americans. First class story of revenge, and an all star cast, including the afore mentioned.
Paramount produced a great outdoors adventure with this story of a soldier's vengeance quest and hostilities between soldiers and Indians on the Dakota frontier. An army recruit joins the 7th Cavalry under false pretenses to track down three killers in this grim, bitter story which the cast brings off in realistic fashion. Edmond O'Brien and Forrest Tucker are the main adversaries here and their antagonism and hatred for each other is sustained throughout the picture. The film has two thrilling battles between the cavalry and Indians that are among the finest ever filmed, and are done in the spirit of the golden-age westerns of the past. The movie is also an ode to General George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry, which lost its last battle. Ray Rennahan's camera is outstanding, as is Paul Sawtell's nostalgic music score.
A man who joins the cavalry to find 2 men he blames for the death of his fiancee finds himself in the middle of a big indian uprising. He has no idea what the 2 murderers look like, but finally he finds out their identity. However, the redskins and a new love cause his plans to change somewhat. So-so.
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