Western about racial intolerance focuses around Kiowa claim that the Zachary daughter is one of their own, stolen in a raid. The dispute results in other whites turning their backs on the Zacharys when the truth is revealed by Mother. Cash, the hotheaded brother, reacts violently upon learning his "sister" is a "red-hide Indian." He leaves the family but returns to help them fight off an Indian raid.Written by
The original writer J. P. Miller and original director Delbert Mann originally envisioned "The Unforgiven" as a gritty, unglamorous, but accurate picture of post-Civil War Texas life, much as John Ford had earlier done with Alan LeMay's "The Searchers." Hecht/Hill/Lancaster wanted to ensure its commerciality and change the film's direction. They wanted to cast Kirk Douglas as Lancaster's brother, which would throw off the balance in the brothers' relationship. His first effort at a rewrite did not work and after fifty pages into the second rewrite, the writer quit the film and broke off his relationship with the producers. Mann soon followed. They were replaced by Ben Maddow, John Gay, and John Huston. When it was decided not to use Douglas, Tony Curtis and then Richard Burton were cast before Audie Muephy was ultimately chosen. See more »
When Rachel goes riding bareback and first sees the old soldier, the cinch holding a saddle on is clearly visible as she sits on the horse talking. See more »
[yelling at a cow eating grass growing on the Zachary family's roof]
Shoo now! Shoo! Ain't you got no better manners than to eat at the top of a house?
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This film is an atypical western that tells the story of a girl who discovers, after living all her life on a farm, being born in an Indian tribe from where she was stolen as a baby. The idea is quite unique and works well, allowing a western a psychological and dramatic depth that, otherwise, would hardly have reached. The question is deeper than it seems: one of the men in the family, who grew up thinking that he was the girl's brother, shows that he feels all that feelings that are usually condemned between siblings. Luckily for him, she's not really his sister...
The film is quite interesting, has a sufficiently well structured story, doesn't stretch too much in sentimentality nor it's absolutely cold. The location of the footage, scenarios and costumes are convincing and appropriate to the historical period. The problem with this movie is the cast. Although none of them have a performance that I can clearly label as bad, the choice was thought out without regard to the script. Thus we have an extremely white and European Audrey Hepburn in a character who is Amerindian, Indians who are Caucasian men painted... an out of season carnival. It may not seem like it, but it takes a lot of quality out of the film.
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