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Three years after the end of the Apache wars, peacemaking chief Cochise dies. His elder son Taza shares his ideas, but brother Naiche yearns for war...and for Taza's betrothed, Oona. Naiche loses no time in starting trouble which, thanks to a bigoted cavalry officer, ends with the proud Chiricahua Apaches on a reservation, where they are soon joined by the captured renegade Geronimo, who is all it takes to light the firecracker's fuse... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Taza, Son of Cochise is directed by Douglas Sirk and written by Gerald Drayson Adams and George Zuckerman. It stars Rock Hudson, Barbara Rush, Gregg Palmer, Rex Reason and Morris Ankrum. A Technicolor production with the Music scored by Frank Skinner and cinematography by Russell Metty.
In 1872 the long bitter war fought between the United States Cavalry troops and Apache bands led by Cochise came to an end. The peace treaty signed by Cochise and General Howard brought peace to the Arizona Territory. But three years later the mighty leader of the Chiricahua Apaches grew ill and come to the end of his days....
....the torch was passed to his first born son, Taza, who wants to follows his father's ideals and peace brokering ways. His second born son, Naiche, however, has different ideas, as does the mighty Geronimo.....
Douglas Sirk's only venture into the Western realm was originally shot in 3D around the gorgeous Arches National Monument Park. Following the pro-Indian theme that was becoming a feature of 1950s Westerns, it's a film that suffers primarily because of the casting of none Native Americans in the important character roles. Which is a shame because it's a gorgeous production that features action scenes full of vim and vigour. Story isn't out of the ordinary and the dialogue is often clunky as the Indian chatter is of the Hollywoodisation kind. Yet picture is never dull, the interest is always held as Taza attempts to hold on to peace for his people, whilst simultaneously he's trying to court the hand of Oona (Rush) against the wishes of her father, the war mongering Grey Eagle (Ankrum).
Hudson, badly cast as he is, can't be faulted for commitment in the title role. He clearly feels at ease working for Sirk (it was a coupling that would work together on a total of 9 movies), and at least he has the physicality for such a character. Unlike Ian MacDonald as Geronimo, who looks too old, is too staid and sticks out like a sore thumb. Russell Metty's photography is top draw, both in capturing gorgeous frames of the locale and in choice of colour lenses. Skinner provides a breezy, if standard Indian tinted Western musical score, and Sirk's direction is simple and effective with only minimal 3D moments part of the action. It's hardly an essential picture in the pantheon of pro-Indian Westerns, but it's better than it has a right to be, and with Pegasus' DVD release providing a lovely print, this is worth seeking out if only for Russell Metty's fine work. 6.5/10
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