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>
While this film was still in production, Philip Yordan and his company (Security Pictures) had production designer and special effects expert Eugène Lourié design and shoot special effects footage for Krakatoa: East of Java (1969) even though there was no script. This footage would also be shot in large format for Cinerama presentation. Those who were shown the early footage began ignoring this film and asking when "Krakatoa" would be ready. 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 »
Gen. Philip Sheridan:
If there's any doubt about the policy of my command, I'll give it to you in one sentence: The only good Indian is a dead Indian. Clear enough?
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Music by Bernardo Segall
Lyrics by Will Holt See more »
Robert Siodmak's account of George Armstrong Custer has been all too readily dismissed as a self important, would-be epic hampered by the miscasting of Robert Shaw in the title role. In fact it is quite an interesting film that gives dimension this notorious historical figure. Shaw's English accent makes him essentially unsuitable for the role of the golden haired, arrogant soldier, but he turns in a typically sound performance that gives the film a solid centre. The script doesn't settle for the clichés of Custer as a brutal Indian hater nor the ridiculous Errol Flynn archetypes, but something in-between. Here Custer is portrayed as a reckless glory hunter and an obsessive fighter certainly, but also as a man who clung to his honour as a soldier. In any case he was an important instrument of the US government's policy of driving the Indians out of their lands to make way for the settlers. "You are paying the price for being backward", Custer explains to an Indian Chief. Robert Ryan's cameo as Mulligan defines Custer's attitude towards humanity while the scene where Custer is asked to endorse an armoured train affirms his honourable notions of a soldier's ideals. Bernado Seagall's music score is superb, performances, particularly Mary Ure as Custer's wife are excellent and there are several memorable scenes that put the events and the man into a wider historical context. Director Siodmak makes good use of wide screen photography, and the Battle of the Little Big Horn makes a poignant finale. The film may be slowly paced, yet it never bores and presents on the whole the film presents a worthy portrait of this infamous historical figure.
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