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In 'Yellowstone Kelly,' Clint 'Cheyenne' Walker plays a muscular
fur-trapper who prevents war between Indians and U.S. Cavalry, and who
survives only to find true love in the arms of a beautiful and talented
newcomer Andrea Martin...
Becoming a 'squaw man' and a devoted one, Clint Walker goes Western all the way in this standard action film with routine excitements and a cast of TV faces: John Russell as the tall, darkly chief prancing across the plains; Ray Danton as the Indian with conviction and authority; Claude Akins as the heavy tough sergeant; and Warren Oates making his debut as a proud soldier...
With the absence of a strong story line in the screenplay, but displaying an outstanding Technicolor photography, 'Yellowstone Kelly' is
Magnificent locations, a pleasant adventure: "Yellowstone Kelly" is a
typical nice western movie of the 1950s and, in my personal opinion, it is a
relevant instance of a better way of making cinema (better than the current
one, I mean).
The movie has merits and defects. Among the merits (apart the already quoted beauty of the photography): the fast-pace of the narration; a number of well-elaborated action scenes; the presence of Andra Martin as the Arapaho girl Wahleeah. In fact, beautiful Martin manages to create, with few but skillful touches, a soft erotic atmosphere rather unusual in western movies of that epoch. However, it should be noted that her (splendid) blue eyes are a relevant clumsiness of the movie. Clint Walker, in the role of the trapper Yellowstone Kelly, is a nice guy, though certainly not a great actor. As always in mature 1950's westerns, the war between whites and Indians is provoked by either hot-heads or rogues, in the present case a stupid ambitious cavalry officer: this remark is just intended to contradict the false common-place that in those years Indians were always represented as blood-thirsty savage assassins.
The story is placed around the Wyoming-Montana border: however the final part was evidently filmed in the wonderful area of Sedona, Arizona. I'm not able to decide whether this could be considered a defect of the movie: probably not. The worst flaw in the film is the fact that all Sioux perfectly understand and speak English (?). There are several other inaccuracies. For instance: I may be wrong, but I bet that the Blue Soldiers had never been equipped with Winchester carabines.
I saw "Yellowstone Kelly" at the theatre, when I was a kid: the pleasant impressions I retained have been confirmed by my recent new view at the TV. I recommend this movie, especially to people nostalgic of good old western flicks.
Sure, Gordon Douglas directed some pictures they are not worth watching - like all of (star)directors including Ford, Hawks, Lang or Hitchcock too. For me is Douglas one of the most underrated US-filmmakers of the fifties and sixties, because he did great jobs in very different genres. "Formicula" for example is a thrilling horror- stuff, "The Detective" a fine police-movie with Frank Sinatra. His best pictures did Douglas in the western-genre, and I think, "Rio Conchos", "Barquero" and "Fort Dobbs" should have a place in the hall of fame of western. His best picture at all for me is "Yellowstone Kelly" from Warner Bros., an also underrated western, which tells the story of mountain man Luther Kelly, who has a romance with a young Sioux maid on dangerous ground. A long time he don't accept the voice of his heart, and so his young sidekick, a greenhorn impressive portrayed by Edward Byrnes, must die. Big Clint Walker, also appears in "Fort Dobbs", is wonderful in the role of Kelly, and in the supporting cast you may find excellent actors like Claude Akins, Ray Danton and Warren Oates at the beginning of their career. The action scenes are well-made, the Technicolor-photographed landscape is so beautiful like Max Steiners score. If you like western, this picture for sure will become one of your all-time-favorites.
This unpretentious and well-paced film min my judgment almost redefines the 'B' movie. It uses the talents of solid-plot novelist Clay Fisher, action director Gordon Douglas's skills, script additions by Burt Kennedy, lucid cinematography by Carl Guthrie, costumes by Marjorie Best, set decorations by William Wallace and a good cast of supporting actors. The storyline is a very simple one. Luther Kelloey has saved the life of a Sioux chief, Gall. Because of this during the troubles in their country, he is still allowed to set his traplines. After some trouble with toughs at a fort, he enlists young tenderfoot Anse Harper as his helper--before discovering he is hopeless at everything; then Kelley heads upcountry. Once there, they save an Arapaho woman fleeing her enemies. Answe worships her; she falls in love with Kelley, but he fights the urge as he nurses her back to health. Then all discover that it is the Sioux chief who wants her back. Anse dies; and finally he has to lead soldiers against the Sioux to save the ill-led patrol; and he kills Gall's nephew, the real troublemaker in the situation, in battle. He then advises the Sioux chief to leave the Yellowstone country, telling him it no longer smiles on them; and they follow his advice. The film stars popular and very large Clint Walker, in the best of several western he was allowed to make in the 1950s, as who did not; Anse is well-done by Edd Byrnes, John Russell is the Sioux chief, Ray Danton the deadly nephew and Andra Martin the lovely Arapaho woman. Claude Akins as a skeptical sergeant, Rex Reason, Gary Vinson and Warren Oates are also featured. This is a very authentic western, physically-beautiful. The viewer learns a lot about what it takes to survive in the West through the very Eastern eyes of Anse; also, Kelley's very sound advice is doubted, not heeded or contradicted by soldiers, with the result that they need him to save their hides. This is not a great picture; but I suggest as a writer its authors gave it clear motivations, a solid story line for its under-budgeted producers to realize. The dialogue is above average, terse, never show; and Douglas's camera has quite a bit to work with in the way of interior dialogue exchanges, action scenes and angry confrontations. The highlight comes when Martin tells Walker, "You have LOOKED AT ME." From that moment, we know he likes her, she wants him--and all they have to do is fight a major battle against angry Sioux warriors to win their future...Many viewers have found this to be a very unpretentious and entertaining 'B' effort.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The second of three western films Walker made with director Douglas during the down time of his tenure on "Cheyenne", this is the only one in color. He plays a scout and trapper who shares a tenuous relationship with the Sioux which is placed in jeopardy when Martin, an Arapaho held captive by the Sioux, decides to run away and seek sanctuary with him in his cabin. Things are complicated further by the presence of Byrnes, a greenhorn kid who has come to stay with Walker and learn how to live in the stark wilderness. Meanwhile, cavalry Major Reason wants Walker's help and resists taking no for an answer. Walker, a towering hunk who dwarfs everyone around him and sometimes even the landscape, lends a solid performance. He has one rough-and-tumble fight sequence in which he clearly performed his own stunt work. Clad in a red shirt and with a long shock of black hair, he is quite a sight to behold. In what must be one of his most alluring and sexy appearances in film, he has a nighttime sequence in which he reclines in bed, shirtless, with his hair deliberately tousled as he chitchats with young Byrnes. Byrnes enjoys an engaging role, lightly comedic, but with more serious elements than he would tend to be given elsewhere. His character displays an obvious respect for Walker (try counting how many times he says, "Mr. Kelly"!) and, like Walker, sleeps presumably in the raw despite allusions to the harsh weather! Russell plays the Sioux chief and provides dramatic weight and a dose of dignity that helps him to overcome his anachronistic hairstyle. Danton plays his nephew (with a similarly goofy, parted on the side, wig) and poses a nice threat as he obsesses over Martin. Martin, with gleaming grey-blue eyes and covered in buckets of body make-up, is unlikely as an Indian maiden, though this was the rule of the day then. She comes off as more of a Caucasian captive than a fellow Indian, so quickly does she adjust to washing plates in a bucket and keeping house! Like the two gentlemen, she also prefers to sleep in the altogether, which had to have seemed a tad daring in 1959! She undergoes a brief, but pretty harrowing, medical procedure in her first scene. However, some of her dialogue is a hoot ("You have looked at me ") Reason adds just that much more handsomeness to the film, though his role isn't anything special. He has two soldiers in his outfit who would go on to greater fame, Akins and Oates. Director Douglas liked to populate his films with good-looking men and here he had quite a bonanza, which does make viewing easier for those inclined. Additionally, he had quite an eye for location scenery and it is nicely exploited here as well. It's not a milestone film, but Walker in his prime is always worth watching and the rest of the able cast, along with the location work, helps make this a pleasure to watch.
Warner Brothers came up with a winner in this film of a fur trader who finds himself caught in the middle of a cavalry-Indian just wants to run his trap lines in Montana high country but proposed treaty-breaking by the government poses the threat of an Indian uprising. The film dwells a bit on a sub plot that has Kelly saving an Indian maiden's life as well as playing wet nurse to a tenderfoot who seeks to win the trapper's friendship and respect. There is a fine battle scene between the soldiers and the Indians, one of the best of its type and is the film's high point. John Russell, Ray Danton and Claude Akins are among the cast names that contribute greatly to fine story. Andra Martin is striking as the Arapahoe girl and a point of contention between Kelly and the Sioux warriors. Edd Byrnes is okay as Kelly's young helper. Outstanding camera work and music score make this forgotten western one of the genre's best pictures.
I can't believe that there is only one comment about Yellowstone Kelly, I know you couldn't really call it a classic or anything but I know films that are a lot worse that have been much better received in your lists. That is only my opinion and I don't wish to upset anyone but again as previously stated I think this film is a real cracker and has lasted the test of time! Graham Lenegan.
Yellowstone Kelly was a super show, I really liked the actors in the movie and I have always liked Clint Walker. I have always wished I could find a DVD or VHS copy of the particular movie but I have not found one yet. There are just no words that I can use to describe what this movie meant to me. I will always remember it. Thank you for letting give my opinion on this, means a lot to me. Clint Walker, Ed Byrnes, John Russell were some of my favorite actors back when this was made. Yellowstone Kelly was so great in the acting, in the scenery where it was made. The actors gave great performances dealing with Indian culture and things of this sort. It was just one of my favorite movies.
The location scenery help make this a fine picture, with TV's Cheyenne, Clint Walker as the title character. Edd (Kooky) Byrnes shows signs that he could have been a good actor in a supporting role. Only real problem is the typical Warner Brothers Indian Maiden...complete with full make-up and blue eyes. The script moves along at a fast pace, the action scenes are great, and Walker appears HUGE on the screen today. This is a fun western to watch.
I think that although Yellowstone Kelly was probably only made to accommodate Clint Walkers popularity as Cheyenne Bodie just before and around the release of the film it was exceptionally well done with a great supporting cast and a super story line, but as I was only 12 at the time and I still recall it today it just shows it has lasted the test of time. I can remember very well all the old TV westerns of the fifties even at such an early age.Bronco Layne, Tenderfoot, Gun Law, Lawman, Maverick, Wells Fargo, Have gun will travel, Wagon train, The restless gun with John Payne, and of course my favourite Cheyenne.I love nostalgia and all these all time greats bring back fond memories of a more innocent age than today, although as my wife is always telling me I am very old Fashioned. Graham Lenegan.
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