Conquest of Cochise (1953)
User ReviewsReview this title
There are wonderful outdoors shot on spectacular territory and it displays action , shootouts, violence and though sometimes is slow-moving , isn't tiring neither dreary , sustaining the interest for quite a while . The movie also portrays the sensitive side of the Native American character though is dramatically slack and some moments there's nothing left to maintain viewer involvement . The film states that there were thousands Apache warriors at war in Arizona, when in fact was in the entire state and never more than several hundred fighting the white settlers and the US Army at any one time . This Indian-on-the-warpath tale is based on historical character and real events : Cochise and and the Gadsden Purchase 1853 that just brought part of Mexico into the United States . The motion picture didn't obtain success and resulted to be mediocre at box office , in spite of the appropriate sets , glimmer cinematography in Technicolor by Freulich and atmospheric musical score ; being filmed on location in Santa Clarita, Corriganville, Ray Corrigan Ranch, Simi Valley, Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park California, USA .
This low-budgeted motion picture was professionally directed by William Castle . He was an expert craftsman with some of the all-time great schlock names serving as the producer Sam Katzman and fondness for gimmicks as proved in his successful terror films such as House of haunted hill , The Tingler , Mr Sardonicus , Strait-jacked , Homicidal , Macabre and 13 Ghosts . Castle emulated Alfred Hitchcock , this included the practice of appearing in the trailers, and even making cameo appearances in his films . Furthermore , he made several Western such as 1955 Duel on the Mississippi , 1955 The Gun That Won the West ,1955 El Americano , 1954 Masterson of Kansas , 1954 The Law vs. Billy the Kid , 1954 Jesse James vs. the Daltons , 1954 Battle of Rogue River , 1953 Fort Ti , 1951 cave of outlaws. Rating : 5'5 . Acceptable and passable .
** (out of 4)
Another Castle Western from Columbia certainly sticks to its "B" origins but there are a few interesting ideas that make it worth sitting through, although no one should expect a classic. Set in 1953 Arizona, Maj. Tom Burke (Robert Stack) wants to avoid a war between whites and Indians but a greedy Mexican wants both sides to fight and kill each other off. Indian Cochise (John Hodiak), on the other hand, wants peace but his people begin to pressure him into fighting this war. This film certainly doesn't have enough going for it to recommend to all people but I think those who enjoy "B" Westerns might find enough entertainment in its 70-minutes to make it worth watching. The film has way too much talk during the early parts but the final fifteen-minutes really pick up and end up packing a very strong punch. We start off when Cochise is sentenced to three tortures with one being bathed in hot steam and another impressive sequence where he's tied to a pole while the other Indians ride their horses up to him and slice him up with knives. This sequence doesn't contain anything too graphic but the editing and way it was directed makes it quite effective. We fall this up with a big battle scene that has the expected gunshots, bodies falling and of course the wild horse chases. Director Castle is best known for his horror films and most of them were in B&W but these early Westerns he did at Columbia gives you the chance to see him work in color and he certainly takes advantage of it. This movie looks like a coloring book because of all the vivid colors that are constantly on display. Whenever a set is on display it's got as many colors as they could possibly put in and this is a plus as there's always something to look at. Stack is pretty good in his role as I enjoyed the laid back approach he brought the character. It seems like the majority of the budget went to painting Hodiak red but he too is good in the role and gives it a certain passion that you can feel. The rest of the cast are pretty much what you'd expect in a film like this in terms of performances and character. Sam Katzman served as producer so that should pretty much tell you everything you'd need to know. Again, there's nothing overly special here but the final fifteen-minutes are well worth watching.
This story about Cochise takes place as the USA has formally taken over the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, the last bit of continental USA that we acquired. The Mexicans sold it to us for a tidy sum, it was mostly desert and its largest city was a desert settlement that was called Tucson. But it did sit across a possible southern continental railway route and we bought it for that purpose.
Now to enforce some law there because Cochise and his Chiracahua Apaches rule most of that bit of turf with Comanches occasionally raiding in there as well. That's what Major Robert Stack of the US Cavalry is sent there to do, make a treaty. Of course there are forces who don't want a treaty made.
Nevertheless Stack goes to negotiate with Cochise who is played most impressively by John Hodiak.
Broken Arrow which is set post Civil War has a lot of similarities and an actor who got great acclaim for playing Cochise. Jeff Chandler got an Oscar nomination for his performance. Broken Arrow got a far bigger budget than Conquest Of Cochise. Still what Hodiak did should have gotten more acclaim.
Conquest Of Cochise was not a bad film and for a Sam Katzman production its positively Cleopatra like.