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The Unforgiven (1960)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | 6 April 1960 (USA)
The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiowa tribe.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Ben Maddow (screenplay), Alan Le May (based on a novel by) (as Alan LeMay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Ben Zachary
Audrey Hepburn ... Rachel Zachary
Audie Murphy ... Cash Zachary
John Saxon ... Johnny Portugal
Charles Bickford ... Zeb Rawlins
Lillian Gish ... Mattilda Zachary
Albert Salmi ... Charlie Rawlins
Joseph Wiseman ... Abe Kelsey
June Walker ... Hagar Rawlins
Kipp Hamilton ... Georgia Rawlins
Arnold Merritt ... Jude Rawlins
Doug McClure ... Andy Zachary
Carlos Rivas ... Lost Bird
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Storyline

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 <rita.richardson@arch2.nara.gov>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Breed Apart...Unashamed...Unconquerable...Unforgettable! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 April 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Siege at Dancing Bird See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Huston intended the film as a response to John Ford's The Searchers (1956). See more »

Goofs

In the closeup scenes of Rachel, her false eyelashes are quite obvious. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[yelling at a cow eating grass growing on the Zachary family's roof]
Rachel Zachary: Shoo now! Shoo! Ain't you got no better manners than to eat at the top of a house?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in They Call Me Trinity (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Down in the Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Georgia Rawlins and Hagar Rawlins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Tearing The Family Apart
9 February 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This film, The Unforgiven, as opposed to Clint Eastwood's classic is taken from a novel by Alan LeMay who also wrote The Searchers. Both stories are about the post Civil War Texas frontier. But in this one we have the Indians seeking out one of there's who's been taken by whites and raised as one of their own. The person in question is Audrey Hepburn who's been raised by Lillian Gish as her own daughter and sister to her three sons, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, and Doug McClure.

It was an unwritten law of Hollywood that no one shoots a film in Monument Valley except John Ford. So John Huston made due with Durango in Mexico which had become a favorite western location site also. Huston got some good performances out of his cast although he had many problems.

Audrey Hepburn fell off a horse and was injured for a few weeks. Audie Murphy nearly drowned in a river. Topping it all off, according to a recent biography of Burt Lancaster was the fact that Lillian Gish served as a kind of back seat driver to John Huston. She was forever telling him that D.W. Griffith did this or that a different way. But apparently Ms. Gish was satisfied with the finished product because she acclaimed Huston as another Griffith when it was over.

The story really gets going when some Kiowas come knocking on Lillian Gish's door demanding Audrey Hepburn's return. When it's discovered that Hepburn in fact is an Indian, the reaction of the neighbors and some of the family is to send her back. Lancaster, Gish, and McClure aren't having it though.

The Unforgiven was butchered in the editing department. One role that was mostly left on the cutting room floor apparently was John Saxon as a halfbreed named Johnny Portugal. Standing out though is Joseph Wiseman as the crazy ex-cavalryman now turned preacher who has a hate for Audrey Hepburn. Why he does you'll have to see the film, but it's an interesting problem.

Its parts, its individual performances make The Unforgiven an uneven film where the whole is not greater than the sum of those parts.


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