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Seminole is a tale of those Indian Wars the United States fought with the native tribe of Florida and of their charismatic chief and martyr Osceola. Although Rock Hudson and Barbara Hale starred, the real star of the film and one who would have made a great Osceola had the real story been told was Anthony Quinn.
One thing that is true was that Osceola was of mixed heritage. Hudson plays a newly minted US Army lieutenant who is from Florida and assigned back there to do scouting for Major Richard Carlson commander of Fort King. The Seminoles are hostile now as they've not been before, with good reason considering President Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy. They're not about to let happen to them what happened to the Choctaws, Cherokees, and Creeks to the north.
Quinn and Hudson knew each other as kids and both are rivals for Barbara Hale who serves as an intermediary. If a peaceful settlement of things were ever possible, it won't be because Richard Carlson, a spit and polish martinet is looking for military glory. Carlson really chews the scenery here, he should have dialed it down a bit.
In one respect the film is daring, showing an interacial romance between Hale and Quinn. Hudson is distinctly second fiddle to Quinn in his pursuit of Hale.
The story is told in flashback by Hudson at an army court martial presided over by Zachary Taylor played by Fay Roope. Although Osceola died in army custody, the facts here are totally wrong. He was tricked into captivity and was transported to Fort Moultrie in South Carolina where he died. I won't tell the story of the film, but do know that this ain't the way it happened. They've got the year wrong, Osceola died in 1838 and the film at the beginning identifies the time as 1835. Also the army is firing revolvers, not yet invented by Samuel Colt, though director Budd Boetticher spotted that one and he carefully edited the movie so as not to show anyone firing more than once. The cap and ball was still in use then.
Budd Boetticher took some time away from working with Randolph Scott and he would have been a good director to have told the real story of Osceola. He and Quinn would have made a great team.
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