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>
Robert Aldrich privately admitted that he wasn't entirely satisfied with the way the film turned out. 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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There are two versions of this film, Robert Aldrich's print (RA) and Burt Lancaster's (BL) print. There are many subtle differences between the two although the overall running times are similar and most of the changes involve alterations of shots or lines of dialog within scenes. In the UK the Lancaster version was released on VHS and the Aldrich version on DVD (same as the US version) The major differences versions are: (a) The Aldrich version has an opening scene (before the credits) showing Ulzana leaving the reservation. This is missing from the Lancaster print. (b) The BL version deletes almost all shots of Burt Lancaster's Indian woman - played by Aimee Eccles (c) The BL version has a scene showing the two troopers pursuing the wounded Indian, The off-screen Indian kills one of them with rifle fire and the survivor rides away. This is missing from the RA print therefore creating more ambiguity as to what actually happened when the survivor returns. (d) The scene in which the rape victim plunges herself in the river is longer in the RA version and she refers to herself trying to "wash it off". In the BL version, the scene is abridged to suggest only suicide. See more »
Maybe you don't want to think of the white man being savage like the Apache?
Apache renegade Ulzana goes on a murder raid, hot on his trail is a posse of cavalrymen. Led by the young and inexperienced Lt. Garnett DeBuin, the cavalrymen in order to survive and defeat Ulzana, must rely on the help of tough old scout McIntosh and his trusty Indian friend, Ke-Ni-Tay.
Directed masterfully by Robert Aldrich ("The Dirty Dozen" & "The Longest Yard"), Ulzana's Raid is just shy of being an uncompromising masterpiece. There is no pandering to political correctness here, this is showing the bitter hostility of the Indian War, torture and murderous inclination is the order of the day. The allegories to Vietnam are hard to ignore as our band of men are struggling out in the wilderness against Ulzana's hostile raiders, the sprawling mountainous landscape another tool to the already handily equipped Apache.
What lifts Ulzana's Raid high above many of its contemporaries is the on the money dialogue. A wonderfully complex script from Alan Sharp manages to make all the characters intriguing and deserving of further delving. The Apache are savage, and Aldrich doesn't flinch from showing this, but they are afforded respect, and crucially, understanding. This could quite easily have been a one sided blood letting exercise in Western folklore, but it isn't. The motives and attitudes of the white man party is there for all to scrutinise, with much attention to detail given as the many conversations bring rich and rewarding results to the discerning viewer. From the off it's evident that McIntosh & DeBuin have vastly different views of Ulzana's actions, but as the film moves forward - all manner of questions leap out, be it Christian values, racial hatred or merely imperialistic trust, all parties involved are hurtling towards the final reckoning.
Burt Lancaster is perfect as McIntosh, grizzled and carrying a frame made for such a rigorous terrain. Playing DeBuin is Bruce Davison, boyish charm fused expertly with unwanted bravado, while stealing the film is Jorge Luke as Ke-Ni-Tay. A performance of great depth that holds and binds the picture brilliantly. Sadly this film has been a victim of much interference over the years, (studio and Lancaster himself to blame), so much so there is thought to be about 6 cuts of the film out there in the home entertainment world. Thankfully we are now able to get a cut of the film that is almost complete, but still there remains to this day no definitive full cut of the film. German (the version I own) and Australian releases proclaim to have it uncut, but that's not accurate because there is still some three minutes missing from the very first cut of it - including a quite crucial sequence involving Sergeant and Trooper Miller (note at 49 minutes an intrusive quick cut from a night scene to a day scene) Still, it has to be said that even with 3 minutes chopped out of it, Ulzana's Raid is still a grim and brilliant piece of work. Showing the savagery from both sides of the fence, Aldrich and his team refuse to cop out and pander to formula. 9/10
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