Ten Who Dared (1960) Poster

(1960)

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6/10
Exploring the Colorado River
bkoganbing26 March 2012
Ten Who Dared is a purportedly factual account of the John Wesley Powell expedition of 1869 exploring the Colorado River and its tributaries. In the course of that trip Powell became if not the first white man to see the Grand Canyon, the first to plot its exact location on our globe.

Now how much license the Disney Studios took with the expedition is open to interpretation. I suspect there was some license taken to make it an interesting story for the juvenile audience it was primarily marketed for.

John Beal plays the one armed former major in the union army who was with its topographical corps and who spent the Civil War surveying and map making for the top Union brass. It's where he lost his right arm. James Drury plays his younger brother Walter who has his own set of issues regarding the late war where he was in Andersonville prison. He and former Confederate Ben Johnson have their conflict which is one of the subplots.

Brian Keith plays one of his patented frontier characters who leads a mutiny among the men who are not sure when or if they'll come to the end of the Colorado gorge. Keith is always interesting in any film and right about now he was in about every other Disney film out there, or at least every one that Fred MacMurray wasn't or so it seemed back when I was a lad.

Nice location cinematography is the most distinguishing feature of Ten Who Dared. I think more than a juvenile audience will appreciate this film.
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7/10
Under-rated live-action Disney movie.
OllyBishop1 February 2010
Many of the Disney live-action films from the 50's and 60's are too easily derided these days for their sepia-toned view of the past, and American past in particular. The main example of this would be Disney's interpretation of Davy Crockett. But without Walt's enthusiasm for the creation of America and it's people many a folk hero would be lost in time. So even though Disney may have painted a sugar-coated vision of these stories at least they were brought to the attention of a wider audience who could then discover them for real.

Ten Who Dared is a perfect example of this with it's exploration (pun intended) of the adventures of John Wesley Powell and his team who were the first people to explore and chart the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1869.

As you can expect they get in to some scrapes with Native Americans as well as the river itself and a rebellion in the camp has some dire consequences.

Although the film may not sit with the best westerns ever made it is a fun journey, with a group of characters recognisable to any fan of men- on-a-mission movies, and is a great way to spend 90 minutes and learn some American history at the same time.
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1/10
Low-rent Disney...but it does have Brian Keith
moonspinner5521 September 2001
Supposedly factual account of the first group of men to explore the mysterious Colorado River, led by one-armed Civil War Major John Wesley Powell. Disney-made adventure isn't well-produced or well-written, but it does have a sort of ambling charm. Brian Keith is terrific as usual playing a grizzled amateur astrologist, Ben Johnson lends his solid support, but who is responsible for casting John Beal as Powell? He's unbearably wooden and has about as much screen-appeal as a desert tortoise. Overall, pretty slack, and not likely to engage youngsters.
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