Jim Deakins is a frontiersman and Indian trader who is making a perilous journey with a group of other men up the Missouri River to get a large haul of furs from friendly Blackfoot Indians.... See full summary »
Jim Deakins is a frontiersman and Indian trader who is making a perilous journey with a group of other men up the Missouri River to get a large haul of furs from friendly Blackfoot Indians. The problem is that they have to get through hostile Indian territory first and they find that they have seriously underestimated the difficulties they will undergo. The large body of men who started the journey are gradually whittled down until only a hardy few, like Deakins, are left. Written by
Jim expresses amazement at the size of St. Louis. However, he had just come from Louisville, which in 1832 was about twice the size of St. Louis, so it should not have been a source of such astonishment. See more »
`The land sure is big here, only the sky is bigger.'
The Big Sky is generally considered inferior and less important compared to Red River, the Western Howard Hawks directed in 1948 or four years before this one and which already has a status of a classic and Hawk's masterpiece. Howard Hawks himself wasn't pleased very much with the final result because he wanted John Wayne to play Kirk Douglas's role and mainly because the studio insisted on cutting out 20 minutes of the film to facilitate its distribution. In a conversation with Peter Bogdanovich Hawks later recalled that he had a difficulty recognizing his own film after seeing it in that `butchered' version.
But in my opinion The Big Sky stands on the level of Howard Hawk's best work remarkable for its visual beauty (though filming it in colour would definitely improve it), fine performances (Kirk Douglas is magnificent here and it's hard to imagine other actor playing this role), wonderful music from Dimitri Tiomkin and interesting story of, basically, friendship, that even might be called love, between the two main characters of Jim Deakins (Kirk Douglas) and Dewey Martin (Boone Caudill) but friendship on a background of a perilous and adventurous journey up the Missouri river to the Indian territory where no white man ever set his foot before, with a group of peculiar French adventurers and an Indian princess Teal Eye (Elizabeth Threatt) who steals their hearts and threatens their friendship.
A must see classic. 9/10
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