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
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?
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This classic film from one of the greatest directors of the 20th century boasts an incredible cast: Audrey Hepburn, Lillian Gish (silent films), Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy (war hero), a young Doug McClure, all of whom show classic acting at its finest. Go beneath the dialogue and watch the body movements, facial expressions and withheld, unspoken emotion of these superb actors (esp Gish and Lancaster). Check out the incredible performance of the wraith-like, howling itinerant evangelist (Joseph Wiseman) who seems to know the "secret". The score by Dmitri Tiomkin is terrific, with a minimum of Hollywood-style Native American drumming (and flute playing. Indeed, the music played by the Kiowas during the "break" was fascinating. Although the story is set in 1800s Texas panhandle, the theme is universal and hard-hitting: racism, and a family divided by their differing views. I found the portrayal of the Kiowa culture to be accurate, esp the use of costumes and rituals. Remember, this film was made in 1960, a time when racial intolerance was rarely put on film, and the fair presentation of Native Americans was almost non-existent. Indeed, this is why Huston wanted this project. Remarkably, this film is NOT pro-Indian or pro-settler, rather it's an honest depiction of a clash of cultures. My only disappointment, a minor one, was that the film ended rather abruptly for my taste, almost as if they ran out of film. But then again, I'm not a director! I found interesting background on the making of this film at dvdverdict.com
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