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Its 1853 and the Gadsden Purchase has just brought part of Mexico into the United States. An Army Major has been sent to Tucson to make peace with the Indians. He is successful with Cochise, the Apache leader, but Cochise is unable to get the Comanches to agree. The Apaches then turn back a raid by the Comanches. There is a man in Tucson that wants the Indian war against the Americans to continue and when a stray Army rifle is found and it kills Cochise's woman, it appears the Apaches will break the peace treaty. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Apaches are shown wearing feathered warbonnets. This was a headdress worn by Plains Indians - which the Apaches weren't - such as the Sioux and Kiowa. Apaches usually wore simple headbands or no headdress at all, but they never wore feathered warbonnets. See more »
I remain staggered when contemplating the inconsistency of William Castle's direction. My being boggled is seemingly rooted in Castle's implementation of two stylistic systems - malformed 'Twins' as it were. The Arnie isn't present in this outing. The "Devito" system is in full force with passive direction that features a tableau frontality dominant in the staging/blocking and camera positioning that succumbs to the idea that action should pass through it or track it in the most linear fashion. Like some of the Boston Blackie films, groups of characters are staged symmetrically creating an evenness like a Moe Howard bowl cut. Hackneyed quips and stilted performances abound. I believe the AFI archival notes on the film remark that the uniforms didn't fit historically. The stereotyping throughout Conquest of Cochise would fit adequately if you upped the action sequences in quantity and quality. The stereotyping could thus be rendered parodical cartoon or comic-strip homage, and vice-versa. The authorial voice of Castle is mute in this film and sequences are connected with sterile methodical execution. As such, the 4th Wall stands strong and the story is required to tell itself. The story itself is poor and the characterization does nothing to create spectator investment. Too much melodrama and not enough action renders a comic strip story into a tepid soap opera. Romantic subplots are developed as filler and not as focused torrid affairs. The talkiness is so overt that I have to wonder whether this churned out "B" historical Western was not produced solely to serve necking teens who needed a dark anonymous escape for a couple of hours. The ethnography of this film is bunk for a contemporary audience and perhaps outdated even at the time of its release. Were these Katzman-Castle history-drama productions simply gimmicks in service of a romantic subculture among audiences? I will admit that it would be easy to pay full attention to my lover's lips and blouse buttons with Conquest of Cochise playing - there would be no chance of a distraction.
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