When the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against th... Read allWhen the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against the U.S. Army.When the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against the U.S. Army.
Strange and Flawed, but well worth seeing
RUN OF THE ARROW This Western is about as off the beaten path of classic Westerns as I think that you can get. Made by Samuel Fuller in 1957, Run of the Arrow is an odd and strange film. Fuller, and particularly his film Steel Helmet, has been cited as an influence by directors from Quentin Tarantino to Stanley Kubrick. Fuller was also known to be more than a little bit of a nut, and the closest thing that the studio system came to releasing independent film in those days. The premise of Run of the Arrow, a southern civil war veteran who decides, rather than live in the surrendered south that he'll go out west and living among the Sioux, is both original and strange. The dialogue is often overwrought and Rod Steiger, in the lead role often falls into Charles Laughton like overacting. Steiger could be a very good actor, with the right director to keep him in check, as in On the Waterfront, or the exquisite The Pawnbroker. Here he is not kept in check and the price paid is often ham handed delivery. The Indians of course are played by white men with spray on tans, which adds to the strange almost surreal quality of the film. One of those actors, the only one who does not seem to require a spray tan, is Charles Bronson as the Sioux Chief. Bronson's extreme muscularity seems somehow out of place in this period piece. His bulging biceps and ripped abs seem too modern at a time when people were still buying gimmicks from Charles Atlas ads (And let's face it, Atlas was anything but buff by today's standards.). (As a side note, I once had to audition for Bronson for one of his Death Wish movies. It was a second or third reading and the character was required to perform some martial arts. Bronson asked me how high I could kick. I said something cute like high enough. He walked up to me and asked me if I could kick above his head. I nodded. He wasn't that tall. He said "Show me.". So, without thinking I threw the kick. I remember that as I did I heard gasps from around the room that I would be crazy enough to do such a thing to a man who was still a pretty big star back then. Bronson, though, never blinked. He never took his eyes off of mine. And I remember thinking that, despite the fact that I had already been in more real fights than I could count, that this was no Hollywood actor. This was a hard man. And, despite his being in in his 60s at the time, I had the feeling that I would not want to mess with him. He shook my hand. He didn't squeeze, but I could feel this iron strength in his grip. I think I read somewhere that he had spent his youth as a coal miner. All this to say that this was had a very impressive presence...). Run of the arrow is a flawed and often melodramatic film. I know that all of this sounds like I'm not recommending it. But I am recommending it, for two reasons. First, if you are a lover of classic movies, and Westerns in particular, as I am, then Run of the Arrow is as different from the Westerns of its day as it could possibly be. And, second, as someone of native heritage, Run of the Arrow is the first film that I can think of, a rare film even by today' standards, in that the Native characters are the good guys, and it is white characters who are the bad guys. That alone makes Run of the Arrow, to me, more than worthy of seeing. It isn't perfect. It's very flawed. But it's not like any Western made in its day and its not like many Westerns made today. You may laugh at the wrong moments at times. But you'll probably remember Run of the Arrow long after you've forgotten more polished and well laid out classic movies. So I do recommend it. I recommend Run of the Arrow quite highly. Because it is strange. Because it is different. And because it tries to do something that far too few movies have to courage to do. It at least tries to be truly original. #movies #film #filmcritique #classicwesterns #runofthearrow #samfuller
- Sep 20, 2017
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