History Professor Brad Fletcher heads west for his health, but falls in with Soloman Bennett's outlaw gang. Fascinated by their way of life, Fletcher finally takes over the gang, leading ... See full summary »
Gian Maria Volonté,
Capt. Richard Lance is unjustly held responsible, by his men and girlfriend, for an Indian massacre death of beloved Lt. Holloway. Holloway is killed while escorting a dangerous Indian ... See full summary »
President Grant orders Indian fighter MacKay to negotiate with the Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon. On the way he must escort Nancy Meek to the home of her aunt and uncle.... See full summary »
A pair of grizzled frontiersmen fight indians, guzzle liquor, and steal squaws in their search for a legendary valley 'so full of beaver that they jump right into your traps' in this ... See full summary »
In the early 1800's, a group of fur trappers and Indian traders are returning with their goods to civilisation and are making a desperate attempt to beat the oncoming winter. When guide ... See full summary »
Richard C. Sarafian
Alledged wayward adolescent Louisiana gentleman Michael 'Mike' Blueberry is dumped by his family with a Wild West uncle. The brute's only 'motivation' is a stick. After a nearly fatal ... See full summary »
Wanted north of the border, Jess Carlin resides safely in Mexico. Then he hears his brother was killed in a gunfight with another man. Knowning his brother never carried a gun he heads ... See full summary »
Reynolds plays Yaqui Joe, an Indian who robs a bank in order to buy guns for his people who are being savagely repressed by the government. Set in turn of the century Mexico, it tells the ... See full summary »
Old Surehand and his faithful old friend Old Wabble are on the trail of a cold-blooded killer with the nickname 'The General'. The brother of Old Surehand was murdered by him. On the way ... See full summary »
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 »
Authentic period piece about the horrors of the Indian wars
Robert Aldrich was a director I much admired, directing some of my favorite films: Kiss Me Deadly (1955) the quintessential Mike Hammer flick Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and others. Now, after missing it for over thirty years, I can now add this one: as a truly realistic and accurate portrayal of what would have happened in one of many skirmishes during the Indian wars of the late nineteenth century.
This is a mature and sometimes grossly horrific account of what Apaches did to settlers and soldiers, and what soldiers did to Apaches. It pulls no punches in depicting how the marauding band of Apaches eviscerate the dead and play sport with the entrails of victims, how they rape and torture wives of settlers, how they torture the men slowly and most cruelly. But, it also shows how soldiers are driven to perform cowardly, and equally cruel acts when retaliating, in the name of justice.
And caught in the middle of this mayhem is young Lt. DeBruin (Bruce Davison) who's given the task of rounding up Ulzana (Joaquin Martinez) and his band of Apaches who left the reservation, stole some horses and began to lay a path of destruction and death across part of Arizona. Being fresh out from military college, he needs help; and so, the fort commander (Douglass Watson) sends the grizzled Army scout McIntosh (Burt Lancaster) along to provide necessary advice and guidance together with a company of toughened army veterans kept in check by a weary sergeant (the ever competent Richard Jaeckel). Rounding out the 'posse' is the Apache army scout Ki-Ni-Tay (Jorge Luke) who provides the young DeBruin (and the viewer) with insight into the mind of the Apache.
The story resolves to a cat-and-mouse game between Ulzana and his pursuers, each trying to outguess and outmaneuver the other across and through the wide and desolate expanse of the Arizona hills and semi-desert. So, it's as much an entertainment as it is a lesson in the tactics necessary for the soldiers to gain the upper hand. There are some wonderful landscape shots that illustrate just how difficult the task was; and there are moments of sheer brilliance when Aldrich shows Ki-Ni-Tay's on-foot pursuit of one of Ulzana's band, a standout sequence of stealth and suspense.
Throughout all of this McIntosh brings his long experience to bear upon DeBruin's decisions, convincing the lieutenant to set the only trap that would fool Ulzana into making a mistake McIntosh reiterating many times that "those who make the first mistake" will lose. All too true because things always go wrong with the best laid plans...
Once again, Lancaster shows the master's touch in this role: his crinkly eyes, lined face and quiet voice attesting to a man who's seen it all and who just wants to get a job done and survive another day. Which makes Davison almost perfect as the cherubic almost angelic faced neophyte who wants to do well but who also wants to change his world and make it better for all including the Apache. Such irony...
The only jarring notes were the sometimes-quick cuts (which made me wonder if some scenes had been deleted); and the sometimes-peculiar music sound track that you have to listen to, to understand my point. Otherwise...
Not recommended for children as this film does contain some graphically awful scenes. For all adult fans of the western genre, however, I thoroughly recommend a viewing.
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