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Following the surrender of Geronimo, Massai, the last Apache warrior is captured and scheduled for transportation to a Florida reservation. Instead, he manages to escape and heads for his homeland to win back his girl and settle down to grow crops. His pursuers have other ideas though.Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
There really was a renegade Apache warrior called Massai, who was a bloodthirsty killer renowned for stealing, raping and murdering. He did indeed escape from a prison train bound for Florida and made his way back to his homeland. It is, however, doubtful that he was six feet tall and had blue eyes like Burt Lancaster. See more »
Shortly after scattering a handful of soldiers tracking them, Massai and Nalinle are shown at a cooking fire and Nalinle complains that the rabbit Massai shot was a small one. However in the scene immediately before, Massai had returned from hunting with a deer slung across his horse. See more »
Opening credits: This is the story of Massai, the last Apache warrior. It has been told and re-told until it has become one of the great legends of the Southwest. It began in 1886 with Geronimo's surrender. See more »
Apache was the third feature Robert Aldrich directed. Before he worked as an assistant director to Jean Renoir, William Wellman, Lewis Milestone and even Charlie Chaplin and also made several episodes for TV films. He was invited to direct Apache by its co-producer and main star Burt Lancaster.
The Apache's particularity is that it doesn't enter the classic Western scheme of almost obligatory showing of the Indians as bad guys, thou the most illustrious example of this probably belong to John Ford's 1964 Cheyenne Autumn with which the legendary director bid a farewell to the genre. Also Apache's distinctiveness resides in the treatment that is given to the central theme of the Western genre, which is revenge.
Here the Indian rebellious warrior Massai, wonderfully played by Burt Lancaster is obsessively seeking revenge facing the enemy not only in a form of one person or a small group of people in accordance with traditional Western vengeance system, but in a form an entire society either Indian or White, a society that he considers his enemy and against which he courageously fights alone not looking for help from anyone till he meets an equally strong character Nalinle (Jean Peters), a woman who simply accepts him as he is ready to share all the difficulties of Massai's life and even to sacrifice her own life for the man she loves. From this point on as his affection for Nalinle increases, his desire to fight everything and everyone proportionally decreases resulting in his settling down looking for more peaceful existence, which is hardly possible due to the burden of his past deeds which weighs over him personified in a collective figure of the American authorities who unceasingly continue to hunt him down.
A weak, but also in many ways remarkable Western featuring convincing performances from Burt Lancaster and Jean Peters in a tale of self-sacrificing love and courageous but ultimately pointless fight for imaginary cause. 7/10
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