Report reaches the US cavalry that the Apache leader Ulzana has left his reservation with a band of followers. A compassionate young officer, Lieutenant DeBuin, is given a small company to find him and bring him back; accompanying the troop is McIntosh, an experienced scout, and Ke-Ni-Tay, an Apache guide. Ulzana massacres, rapes and loots across the countryside; and as DeBuin encounters the remains of his victims, he is compelled to learn from McIntosh and to confront his own naiveté and hidden prejudice.Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Although technically not credited as such, Burt Lancaster was virtually a producer on the film, helping bring it to screen, taking a percentage instead of an upfront salary and having a say in the editing stages. See more »
At the end of the movie just before Mcintosh and his party enter the canyon for the ambush he tells the Sergent that they have to wait for Ke-Ni-Tay to take out Ulzana's sentry. However, the decision for Ke-Ni-Tay to take out the sentry was made by Lt. DeBuin after Mcintosh had led the other party into the ambush so there was no way for Mcintosh to know what Ke-Ni-Tay was doing. See more »
[Referring to the old Indians he has been interrogaing]
Half of what they say is lies. The other half ain't true.
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Aldrich's version runs 103 minutes and was the version released in the USA. Burt Lancaster prepared a different version (102 minutes) for European release, deleting some scenes, restoring others from the cutting room floor, rescoring some of the music. This version was released in the UK, though the British censor made some cuts to it. These are largely restored to the video release, apart from some horsefalls (totalling 45 seconds). The version show several times by BBC television is Aldrich's version, with the horsefalls restored, but some censor cuts made by the BBC themselves. See more »
Stark and brutal, but completely lacking the melodramatic sturm und drang of most war movies, Ulzana's Raid plays out like it was another deadly day at the office for the participants. Produced as an allegory on the Vietnam War, Robert Aldrich and Burt Lancaster created a focused drama about the senselessness of hating your opponents and the absence of victory in ethnic conflicts. The participants and victimized settlers aren't so much dehumanized as they are inconsequential except to themselves.
Filmed in Nogales, Arizona and Nevada, the conflict is played out realistically with both sides shepherding their supplies of time, endurance, ammunition, and manpower. The location shots are beautifully laid out with an emphasis on depicting the strategic planning of the apache raiders and opposing troopers. Several scenes stand out in sharp contrast to most war movies. In one group of scenes, Aldrich follows a German family and their fate as the wife rides off with her child and a trooper escort, and the well-armed husband stays behind to defend their home. In another, the troop commander sends two soldiers after a wounded apache raider. In both cases, he turns conventional logic and sentiment on its head in honor of a grimmer reality. To my mind, this is one of the best war stories ever made and the DVD lays it out in full screen Technicolor.
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