During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
Following the surrender of Geronimo, Massai, the last Apache warrior is captured and scheduled for transportation to a Florida reservation. Instead, he manages to escape and heads for his homeland to win back his girl and settle down to grow crops. His pursuers have other ideas though. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Shortly after scattering a handful of soldiers tracking them, Massai and Nalinle are shown at a cooking fire and Nalinle complains that the rabbit Massai shot was a small one. However in the scene immediately before, Massai had returned from hunting with a deer slung across his horse. See more »
Opening credits: This is the story of Massai, the last Apache warrior. It has been told and re-told until it has become one of the great legends of the Southwest. It began in 1886 with Geronimo's surrender. See more »
I enjoyed cowboy movies when I was young, but after TV and Hollywood together beat the genre to death with over-exposure and triteness (to be supplanted by space operas, car chases/explosions and, now zombie/vampire adventures), I wasn't sorry to see westerns die their slow death... though an occasional decent one pops up now and agin. The silliness of the casting and the seemingly requisite neat, dry-cleaned look of every single soldier and saddle tramp, just gets in the way of anything special this movie might have had when first conceived.
What has me really puzzled about this movie is why Burt Lancaster would put himself in such a thing. It was, after all, a "Hecht-Lancaster Presentation," so, presumably, he would have had control over its creation. I guess Burt, an actor I have long admired, saw this as a step forward by adding some shades of gray to Hollywood's usual depiction of the Indian "savages." It is a bad movie, chock full of poorly-acted stereotypes, clichéd situations and unbelievable events. A few of my *favorites* - Burt, single-handed, turns over a wagon with two full-size bad guys in it. The almost virgin birth of his child: After doing almost everything allowable in a movie of this type (including clubbing the would-be girl friend), they finally get to romance and in the blink of an eye, she is pregnant, goes full term without a hint of a bulge and delivers her first child unassisted after about a 5 minute labor (while she is, seemingly, bed-ridden from having been tending the crops which are growing nicely in some of the driest soil ever photographed).
Speaking of the soil: I re-watched this warhorse of a flick (Why do folks here consider this a great Altman movie?) after many years because it is on a long list of films shot in or around Sedona, Arizona. I have visited Sedona twice. It's redrock towers are a sight to behold and it is clear why it was a favored location. Even now, with most of the beautiful hills adorned by dense necklaces of cute SW modern homes and condos, occupied by the upscale folk who can afford to live there, it still has much to beguile. If you visit, check out the local funky museum and, while taking in the old photos and wrangler gear, ponder what we have wrought. If you are like me, you may wonder why such transitions seem so tragically inevitable.
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