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Report reaches the US cavalry that the Apache leader Ulzana has left his reservation with a band of followers. A compassionate young officer, Lieutenant DeBuin, is given a small company to find him and bring him back; accompanying the troop is McIntosh, an experienced scout, and Ke-Ni-Tay, an Apache guide. Ulzana massacres, rapes and loots across the countryside; and as DeBuin encounters the remains of his victims, he is compelled to learn from McIntosh and to confront his own naiveté and hidden prejudice. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Robert Aldrich privately admitted that he wasn't entirely satisfied with the way the film turned out. See more »
When the platoon sets out from the fort, Macintosh's Indian girlfriend is watching them depart, with her face half-hidden by the shawl she is holding tightly under her nose. The next shot cuts straight to a close up of her face, but her hands are not in view and more of her face is hidden by the shawl. See more »
Stark and brutal, but completely lacking the melodramatic sturm und drang of most war movies, Ulzana's Raid plays out like it was another deadly day at the office for the participants. Produced as an allegory on the Vietnam War, Robert Aldrich and Burt Lancaster created a focused drama about the senselessness of hating your opponents and the absence of victory in ethnic conflicts. The participants and victimized settlers aren't so much dehumanized as they are inconsequential except to themselves.
Filmed in Nogales, Arizona and Nevada, the conflict is played out realistically with both sides shepherding their supplies of time, endurance, ammunition, and manpower. The location shots are beautifully laid out with an emphasis on depicting the strategic planning of the apache raiders and opposing troopers. Several scenes stand out in sharp contrast to most war movies. In one group of scenes, Aldrich follows a German family and their fate as the wife rides off with her child and a trooper escort, and the well-armed husband stays behind to defend their home. In another, the troop commander sends two soldiers after a wounded apache raider. In both cases, he turns conventional logic and sentiment on its head in honor of a grimmer reality. To my mind, this is one of the best war stories ever made and the DVD lays it out in full screen Technicolor.
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