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Hiawatha, a member of the Ojibway tribe, is on a peace mission to the Dakotah tribe. He meets and falls in love with Minniehaha. The romance is obstructed by a threatened war between the two tribes, instigated by a hot-headed Ojibway tribe member. The war is averted and Hiawatha learns that he is actually the long-missing son of the Dakotah chief. Hiawatha and Minniehaha set up tent-keeping together. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After a striking visual opening (with no main credits) combined with a fine reading along the lines of the great Henry Longfellow poem (any further resemblance beyond this point is absent) this ultra low budget Monogram flick simply ambles along...quite sadly losing its way, as it attempts to show life among the American Indian tribes before the fork- tongued 'white eye' came to 'civilize' the lands. Apart from wild animals and weather, their biggest worry was looking out for what other tribes might do to them! Lesser, or lessor.
At times, some interesting musical arrangements by composer/arranger Marlin Skiles (the arranger of Bernstein's 1954 classic 'On The Waterfront') help to lift the otherwise ordinary score a notch or two but never enough to add much depth. The filming locations are wonderful to look at but the two color Cinecolor process was not always good at reproducing certain hues (while some prints looked better than others) it was just not up to three strip Technicolor standards. The director of photography Harry Neumann went on to photograph 'High Society' in 55.
Performance wise, Vince Edwards as the Indian warrior was cleverly described by one reviewer as playing his role with all the verve of a wooden Indian. His underdeveloped 'love at first sight' for Minnehaha is bordering on laughable. Kieth Larson as the evil war monger is unfortunately the better performer. I always enjoy seeing Morris Ankrum on screen but as one of the wiser elders, he gets killed off early in the story. The rest of the cast are generally below average or were in need of a better script and direction. It looks like there were no native Indians amongst the cast! if there were, they went unnoticed. I'm unable to confirm if the terrific performer of the ceremonial wedding dance(Chabon Jadi) is an Indian native? perhaps someone might be able to enlighten us (very little info on his IMDb page)....Anyone?
Better credentials and more money might have helped to lift this version to higher levels, but as Monogram Pictures last release, its appeal will be considerably limited. KenR
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