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Comanche Station (1960)

 -  Drama | Western  -  March 1960 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,669 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 15 critic

A man saves a woman who had been kidnapped by Comanches, then struggles to get both of them home alive.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jefferson Cody
Nancy Gates ...
Nancy Lowe
...
Ben Lane
Skip Homeier ...
Frank
Richard Rust ...
Dobie
...
Station Man
Dyke Johnson ...
John Lowe
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Storyline

Loner Cody trades with the Comanches to get a white girl released. He is joined on his way back to the girl's husband by an outlaw and his sidekicks. It turns out there is a large reward for the return of the girl, and with the Indians on the warpath and the outlaw being an old enemy of Cody's, things are set for several showdowns. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SHE WAS WORTH $5000 ALIVE...OR DEAD! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

March 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Einer gibt nicht auf  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are numerous mentions of the "Stage to Lordsburg," the original title of John Ford's western classic, "Stagecoach", to which writer Kennedy is obviously showing homage. See more »

Goofs

The Comanche did not wear the scalp lock ("Mohawk") hairstyle, and also, contrary to this film's location, were not present in southwestern New Mexico (Lordsburg). See more »

Quotes

Ben Lane: A lot of money has a way of making a man all greed inside.
Jefferson Cody: Such as?
Ben Lane: It can get him to thinking of doing things he might not otherwise do. You know, it's a long way to Lawrenceburg. It wouldn't surprise me if somebody didn't try to take that woman away from you.
Jefferson Cody: Like you, for instance?
Ben Lane: Like me, in particular.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Budd Boetticher: An American Original (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The cinematic equivalent of a modernist painting.
26 February 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

The Western takes another step away from the traditional Fordian Western towards Leone. This is the West painted by Cezanne, a landscape familiar enough on the surface, but chopped up into geometric grids and patterns. You could forget about the story entirely and just marvel at the way Boetticher takes a recognisable monolith, the vast, arid West, and uses it as an easel; and takes the cumbersome film-making apparatus, cast and crew, and uses it like a paintbrush. Or scalpel.

Each astonishingly precise composition is riven by angles, lines, character positions, patterns, which connect with the angles, lines, character positions and patterns of the next frame, so that geometry of content meets the geometry of montage. These are not sterile theorems; within each frame the camera moves with a complex simplicity, shifting or rearranging the tenets of the composition, the relations of particular characters in space, like a kaleidoscope. I mentioned Cezanne, but there is Cubism too, the classical Hollywood method of representation broken up, scenes taken from different vantage points so that any stability on our part is impossible. It is truly beautiful.

When the Cahiers critics started looking at films as films in the 1950s, concentrating on their cinematic, formal elements, there was predictable reaction from many old-fashioned reviewers, usually British, who saw film as a humanist extension of literature. Penelope Houston even said that the proper study of film should not be spatial relations but character relations. She failed to see that the latter could not exist without the first, a character's relation, and reaction, to space formed character. It is in space that a character performs the actions that reveal his character. It is space, and a character's position in it, that yields insights simple narrative or dialogue would laboriously fumble at.

The great irony at the heart of 'Station' is that the vast, wide open spaces of the West are imprisoned in this formal grid, entrapping characters - the characters' reaction to this entrapment reveals, naturally, their character, as well as shaping the narrative. For instance, a man of Cody's decency and integrity a few decades previously might have been a great frontiersman, civilising the West, creating America. In this world, however, where the old monochrome values are no longer viable, where it's not simply a case of slaughtering Indians, where the frontier spirit has congealed into genocide and murderous greed, he must cut himself off from society, community, fertility, in effect killing off his race, a dead man.

Indeed, the beautiful idea of a man wandering the West for years looking for his probably dead wife, broods with the force of Greek mythology, Orpheus in the Underworld, say, seeking Eurydice, in this case never finding her. The West has become Hell - endless, repetitive, arbitrary, with the ghosts of your past returning to haunt you, never totally exorcised. The film ends with the opening shot in reverse - there is no progress here - the final scene with Nancy is tremendously moving.

Even the old hero/villain divide is ambiguous - Cody owes his life to a genocidal enemy; the fundamentally decent Frank sees no economic choice other than being an outlaw; Cody's stern values aren't adaptable enough to comprehend everything. There is a real homoerotic charge in the relationship between Frank and Dobie which has lasted most of their lives - when Dobie is found floating down the river, an arrow in his back, found by his soaking, grieving buddy, the martyrdom of St. Sebastian comes immediately to mind.


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