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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: titoli on November 29, 2016, 12:56:28 PM

Title: Arrowhead (1953)
Post by: titoli on November 29, 2016, 12:56:28 PM
Heavily criticized for its supposed political incorrectedness, this is a very good cavalry vs. Apaches flick, just a couple of notches under Ulzana's Raid (which is much). Actually, the Apaches here are treated like the Jews by the Nazi: given a number and then destined for reservation by train. The presumed racism of the movie is limited to the Heston's character, who has got personal reasons for it. The story proceeds to a fast pace, good action scenes (though marred by the ususal suicide tactics of the Apache). Jurado for once looks attractive, though her character has little credibility. The blood-brother ruse makes little sense after Palance shot in cold blood his erstwhile blood brother. Still 8/10
Title: Re: Arrowhead (1953)
Post by: stanton on November 30, 2016, 02:57:05 AM
One of the few westerns which are doubtless racist. Because here the racist hero is right in every negative thing he says about the Indians. Funnily with a different ending, one in which the protagonist is wrong with his prejudices, the same film up to that point would turn into a strong anti-racist statement.

Well made film though, and Heston is excellent. 7/10
Title: Re: Arrowhead (1953)
Post by: titoli on November 30, 2016, 06:51:52 AM
No, because in the end the Apache (a peculiar brand of Indians) are shown ready for peace. It's only Heston who is shown right in his assessment of a Palance-led tribe. Palance is shown as a kind of medicine-man who induces his tribe to adopt the wrong ways because of his visions. Once he's out of the picture things go back to normal (his father is a peaceful man). The movie is so much anti-racism that they dress up Palance ridiculously  like a boy in his introductory scene, a violently indoctrinated  "savage". That, of course, makes also his visions little credible, because if he's been to the East and apprehended the might of the White Man he knows that his rebellion has got little chance of success.
Title: Re: Arrowhead (1953)
Post by: stanton on November 30, 2016, 01:45:24 PM
I remember that different, and I have watched the film at least 3 times. For me this is an absolute racist film, but funnily only by the way it ends.
Title: Re: Arrowhead (1953)
Post by: Spikeopath on February 09, 2017, 04:29:44 PM

Adobe Walls.

Arrowhead, the mere mention of it in Western circles sometimes induces a sharp intake of breath, even a furrowed brow or two. Starring Charlton Heston and Jack Palance, directed by Charles Marquis Warren; who also adapts the screenplay from W.R. Burnett's novel, Adobe Walls, Arrowhead rewrites the Indian Wars and firmly paints the Apache as distrustful thugs.

Based in essence on real life Indian scout, Al Seiber, with Heston in the role but named as Ed Bannon here, story is set in Texas 1878 at the Fort Clark Cavalry post. Peace has been brokered and the good old Cavalry boys have arranged for the Apache, led by a newly educated Toriano (Palance), to be dog tagged and whipped off to some arid land in Florida. However, the pesky Toriano has been plotting a revolution and is ready to lead his people in an all out assault on whitey and to hell with the treaty. Only white dude who smells a rat is Bannon, who with some Indian blood coursing through his veins, hates the Redskins and will never trust them. But the Cavalry hate Bannon as well, because he is in the way, causing friction, a hindrance to their wonderful ideas for piece.

No surprises for guessing what happens next! If Warren and the big wigs at Paramount Pictures were aware of the racist overtones here in 1953? Is cause for debate. I tend to agree with the theory that puts this as a sort of anti-communist allegory, but of course that doesn't excuse the xenophobic narrative whoever is on the receiving end! Yet surely the makers were genuine in trying to make a good old Cavalry versus Indians actioner? That the picture often meanders and is not carpeted with action, is a little moot, but it is well put together, well acted and looks nice with its actual real Bracketville location filming (Ray Rennahan on cinematography). Paul Sawtell does one of his robust thematic musical scores, and fine acting support comes from Robert Wilke and Brian Keith.

It's a solid routine Oater, and can be enjoyed if you can forgive it its sins? Forgive them for they know not what they do...or something like that! 6/10