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A ruthless Union captain is renowned throughout his prison fort as the toughest soldier in the business, capable of capturing every escaped convict under his supervision. However, when he falls in love with a visiting woman some of the prisoners seize the advantage and try to escape while he is in a more "mellow" mood. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
Union fort in Arizona used as a Confederate prison camp and surrounded by marauding Mescalero Apaches
"Escape From Fort Bravo" had a unique western storyline that shifted somewhat during the course of the film, but still left the viewer
with a decent film for its time. Fort Bravo is being used as a Confederate prison camp during the waning months of the American Civil War. Inside the fort's walls are the prisoners, wanting to escape, and the troops of the Union cavalry, trying to prevent their escapes, and outside are the bands of savage Mescalero Apaches, just waiting for anybody to leave the safety of the fort.
William Holden plays Capt. Roper, the Union officer given the dubious task of recapturing any escapees and returning them to Fort Bravo. It's an unpleasant task, he personally dislikes the job, but he does it, and does it all to well, much to the chagrin of the rebels still in the fort. During this time, a female Confederate sympathizer, played by Eleanor Parker, comes to the fort and will attempt to distract Holden, while she manages to enact the escape of her Confederate lover, played by John Forsythe. The escape occurs, some rebel prisoners manage to leave the fort, Parker goes with them, but she does not realize that Holden has come to fall in love with her. Roper, Holden's part, takes a small troop of men out from the fort in pursuit, he hoping to catch up with them before the Apaches do.
Besides the three main leads mentioned above, the supporting cast includes William Demerest, William Campbell, Richard Anderson, Polly Bergen, and in a pre "Broken Arrow" role, John Lupton. Campbell and Demerest do provide some comic relief, playing off each other's abilities, etc., but the lead parts do carry the picture and prevent it from becoming just another Cavalry-Indians western. 7/10
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