Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
Odd Western about racial intolerance focuses around Kiowa claim that the Zachary daughter is one of their own, stolen in a raid. The dispute results in other whites' turning their backs on the Zacharys when the truth is revealed by Mother. Murphy plays Cash, the hotheaded brother who reacts violently to learning his "sister" is a "red-hide Indian." He leaves the family but returns to help them fight off an Indian raid during which Hepburn kills her Kiowa brother, thus choosing sides once and for all. Written by
Audrey Hepburn's weight fell to 98 lbs during filming, and she increased her smoking habit to three packs of cigarettes a day. See more »
When the piano is delivered, Mrs. Zachary sits down to play it, and it is in perfect tune. Not possible! Moving a piano always knocks it out of tune, and moving a piano in a wagon across that terrain would have made it terribly out of tune. See more »
[yelling at a cow eating grass growing on the Zachary family's roof]
Shoo now! Shoo! Ain't you got no better manners than to eat at the top of a house?
See more »
Very good Western plenty of stars , dealing with racism , Indian fights and dramatic events
This splendid film is an accurate picture of post-Civil War Texas life , much as John Ford had earlier done with Alan LeMay's "The Searchers" . The neighbors of a frontier family named Zachary (Burt Lancaster , Audie Murphy , Doug McClure and their mother excellently played by Lillian Gish) turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiawa tribe . Then , the battle between white men and Kiowas go on the warpath . Problems emerge when a secret about a mestizo results to be discovered . As a Kiowa tribe claims that the daughter (it was Audrey Hepburn's only Western) is one of their own , stolen in a raid and she will be excluded for both races .
Offbeat Western about racial intolerance focuses an enjoyable family and the dramatic deeds happen when a dark secret surfaces . It's an interesting western with exceptional interpretation from protagonist duo , Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn . However , Audrey Hepburn was seriously injured when she was thrown by a horse between scenes spent six weeks in the hospital healing from a broken back, and when she returned to the set was able to complete her role wearing a back brace, John Huston blamed himself for the mishap and hated this movie, and Hepburn bore no ill will towards the director ; while Audrey was in hospital, Huston filmed scenes using a double . Furthermore , a likable Doug McClure as his kind brother , he is very fine as well as Audie Murphy as Cash, the hotheaded brother who reacts violently to learning his sister is a red skin Indian . Special mention to Lillian Gish as their affectionate mummy and Joseph Wiseman as the crazy Kelsey . The picture was well produced by Harold Hecht/James Hill/ Burt Lancaster ; they wanted to ensure its commerciality and change the film's direction , they wished to cast Kirk Douglas as Lancaster's brother, which would throw off the balance in the brothers' relationship. The first effort at a rewrite did not work and after fifty pages into the second rewrite, the original writer , J.P. Miller , quit the film and broke off his relationship with the producers and being hired Ben Maddow who wrote the script based on the novel written by Alan LeMay . Glittering and shimmer cinematography is perfectly reflected on spectacular outdoors and colorful interiors by cameraman Franz Planer , though Oswald Morris says in his memoirs he was offered this film. Emotive as well as thrilling musical score by the classic Dimitri Tiomkin .
The motion picture was compellingly directed by John Huston who saw the film as an opportunity to make a serious comment on race relations, but the company thought anything along those lines should take a back seat to making it a commercial success as action/adventure . The flick was made in a good time of the 50s and 60s when Huston resurged as a filmmaker of quality films and with the momentum in his favor, as John hung around in Hollywood this time to write and/or direct some of the finest American cinema made including The African Queen , The jungle of asphalt (1950), Red badge of courage (1951) ,Moulin Rouge (1952), Moby Dick (1956), The unforgiven (1960), Misfits (1961), Freud (1962), The night of the iguana (1964) , they were for the most part, well-regarded but certainly not close to the level of his earlier revered work . He also experimented behind-the-camera with colour effects and approached topics that most others would not even broach, including thought-provoking themes and psychoanalysis . He subsequently directed successes such as Fat City, (1972 ), The man who would be king (1975) and Wise blood (1979). He ended his career on a high note with Under volcano (1984), Honor of Prizzi (1985) and Dublineses (1987). Rating : 7'5 above average , worthwhile watching . This odd western , ¨The unforgiven¨ , is one of John Huston's main films , a model of his kind , definitely a must see if you are aficionado to Western film . Huston broke a new ground with this landmark movie , providing exciting scenes and unforgettable dialogs .
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?