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The story of U.S. Army commander George Armstrong Custer, a flamboyant hero of the Civil War who later fought and was exterminated with his entire command by warring Sioux and Cheyenne tribes at the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Fred Zinnemann was preparing his Custer movie for Fox, it was going to be called "The Day Custer Fell". This was in 1965 and Robert Mitchum was signed to play the lead, with Toshiro Mifune as Sitting Bull. Budget concerns lead to the project getting canceled. See more »
The Cavalry troops throughout the film are depicted with full battle flags. In fact, they should have been flying cavalry flags, which are swallow-tailed. See more »
[in a jail cell and facing a firing squad in the morning]
Rules... regulations... court martials... Talkin' about the juice in a man's veins. I'm talkin' about all the good times you never had. 'Off the point,' you say. But drinkin', girls, smokin' cigars, chasin' rainbows - that's the point! You've got no feelings, General! There's just an empty place inside! A hole stuffed with rubbish!
The flag... the regiment... duty!
See more »
Custer of the West is directed by Robert Siodmak and written by Bernard Gordon and Julian Zimet. It stars Robert Shaw, Jeffrey Hunter, Lawrence Tierney, Ty Hardin, Mary Ure and Kieron Moore. It's a Cinerama production with music by Bernardo Segall and cinematography by Cecilio Paniagua. Film is a very loose telling of George Armstrong Custer's military life from 1861 up to his death at Little Big Horn in 1876.
It's the word disjointed that springs to mind once one has sat thru this attempt at an epic telling of George Custer's (Shaw) demise. Right thru the film nothing ever plays out right; Shaw's accent, the historical facts, Segall's score sounding like it belongs in a comedy, Cinerama scenes thrown in without due care for narrative, jumbled intentions of the makers in what they want to say, wooden prop acting (Ure falls in for mannequin duties), Spanish location for filming one of the American West's most famous battles and the final battle itself is short, weak and befits the penny pinching feel of the whole movie. Undeniably the ambition is there, with the odd moment of visual splendour, but it plods when it should be sprinting and tedious in dialogue when it should be perking up the ears. As good as Siodmak (The Killers/Criss Cross) was at directing low budget noirs of the 40s, here he is without impetus and inspiration and you have to wish that original choice to direct, Akira Kurosawa, had indeed gotten hold of the project.
Shaw at least adds intensity and part of the screenplay has honourable intentions to be sympathetic to Native Americans, but ultimately the film as a whole is a disjointed experience. 4/10
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