Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on February 19, 2006, 11:26:17 AM



Title: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on February 19, 2006, 11:26:17 AM
Saw this gory ultra violent classic yesterday from director Ralph Nelson (Lilies of the Field, Charly, Father Goose, Requiem for a Heavyweight) and it is right up there with the brutalest SW's. Decidedly not for the squeamish. This is no feel good "Dances with Wolves", I wonder why we don't see re-runs of this  8).

It portrays the type of frontier warfare that any one who knows the down and dirty history of the conquest of America from the Peaquot War, the French & Indian War, Pontiac's Rebellion, the Cherokee War, the American Revolution, the Black Hawk War, to name a few all the way to the Apache Wars knows was executed on both sides. Scalpings, dismemberment, saber beheadings, rapes, child killing, the only thing missing is the fountains of blood (a la Tarrantino).

It was made during the Vietnam War and at the time reflected the current events here, it is definietly an anti war film.

Candace Bergen plays Cresta a white woman who has been captured by the Cheyenne and was the wife of a chief, who has been liberated and is being escorted back to civilization with a paymasters detachement Peter Strauss is Honus a soldier, who survives the massacre of same.

Bergen's charcter is the strong lead of the film she is originally a streewise orphan from Canal St. NYC, who goes west with her fiance who is in the army, she is captured and learns the ways of the Cheyenne well enough to take Honus (another Easterner well educated enough to quote Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade over the bodies of his comrades in arms) under her wing.

So Cresta is as foul mouthed as any Calamity Jane and her adopted Native openess with her body and ways are a marked contrast to the civilized world, and shocking at first to Honus. This also reflects somewhat our 1960's & 70's but you can see it befitting the Wild West also.


Together they make their adventurous way across the prairies. They run into Iverson's company of troops based on (Chivington's 3rd Colorado Volunteers on the way to attack the Cheyenne village on Sand Creek), (they, the Cheyenne's) were in their designated area and they met the approaching soldiers with a white flag upon which Chivington ignored, the resulting massacre resulted in what was depicted in the film.

Title song was by (Native American) Buffy Saint-Marie, score was by Bud Spencer and its more in the "Magnificent Seven Style".

This is no John Ford "Cavalry Trilogy" thats for sure, and this will illustrate why they don't make "Cowboy-Cavalry & Indian Movies" anymore, if you want to read up on Sand Creek Massacre here is a great link:

http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/four/sandcrk.htm

Still, heavy handed abd very dated 5/10



Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Sackett on February 19, 2006, 12:36:05 PM
Saw it at the theater when it came out. Sometimes I see VHS versions in the rental stores, but have not rented it since I saw it in the 70s.
Maybe its time I rent it and watch all over again. Boy, does that one bring back memories of times gone by.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: titoli on February 19, 2006, 04:47:32 PM
 
Quote
score was by Bud Spencer


Really?

CJ, what about miss Bergen's graces? Was it my teenager's hormones which found her irresistible or she's really that sexy?


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on February 19, 2006, 08:05:24 PM
Quote
CJ, what about miss Bergen's graces? Was it my teenager's hormones which found her irresistible or she's really that sexy?
.

She's is definitely mighty fine in this flick, oh and its not  released here (USA) yet, so I caught the German Pal DVD version titled "Das Wiegenlied vom Totschlag ".

It will be interesting to see if it gets a release here in the uncut version.  :-\


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: titoli on February 20, 2006, 03:51:13 AM
Quote
so I caught the German Pal DVD version titled "Das Wiegenlied vom Totschlag ".

Manslaughter's Lullaby.  Those germans: apparently they caught the gentle side of it all!


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on February 20, 2006, 05:44:18 AM
Quote
Manslaughter's Lullaby.  Those germans: apparently they caught the gentle side of it all!


 :o lol, yes very beffiting title,  ;D


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on February 22, 2006, 06:21:20 AM
Quote
score was by Bud Spencer


Really?

No Roy Budd lol, wonder where I got that slip from  ;D


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 20, 2006, 02:42:28 AM
what about Ralph Nelson's other westerns?

Wrath Of God

and

Gunfight at Diablo(or was showdown at diablo?)


anyway, havent seen any of these, but I reall want too. I believe it was ou Joe who said Nelson was the closest american director to touch on the spaghetti western genre.


Are these movies available on dvd?


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Tim on April 20, 2006, 08:46:56 PM
  Duel at Diablo is available on dvd.  I bought it when it first came out, but only watched it once and sold it to a used dvd place.  It's a good western, just not one of those you can watch every couple months.  Or at least that's my opinion. James Garner is good, Sidney Poitier is good but he seems VERY out of place, and Dennis Weaver is perfectly slimy.  Good musical score to boot.

  Now, The Wrath of God is one of my favorite movies that no one knows about.  Caught it on TCM last fall and have probably watched it 5 or 6 times since.  Robert Mitchum is excellent, and the movie has a pretty good supporting cast, although no huge names.

  You're right though, Firecracker.  Both movies do have a spaghetti-feel to them, Wrath more than Diablo.  If you can get your hands on a copy of either, I'd recommend both.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 20, 2006, 08:49:37 PM
Duel at Diablo is available on dvd. I bought it when it first came out, but only watched it once and sold it to a used dvd place. It's a good western, just not one of those you can watch every couple months. Or at least that's my opinion. James Garner is good, Sidney Poitier is good but he seems VERY out of place, and Dennis Weaver is perfectly slimy. Good musical score to boot.

Now, The Wrath of God is one of my favorite movies that no one knows about. Caught it on TCM last fall and have probably watched it 5 or 6 times since. Robert Mitchum is excellent, and the movie has a pretty good supporting cast, although no huge names.

You're right though, Firecracker. Both movies do have a spaghetti-feel to them, Wrath more than Diablo. If you can get your hands on a copy of either, I'd recommend both.



really interested in "Wrath" as I hear it is really strange.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Tim on April 20, 2006, 08:54:48 PM
  I can understand that description.  I've heard people say its a spoof western because it does have a fair number of cliched things you've probably seen in countless other westerns.

  Parts of it really make me laugh, there's plenty of good quotes from Mitchum, Ken Hutchison, and Victor Buono, and it's just a fun movie overall.

  There's a book too if you'd want to read it before tracking down a copy.  The author is listed as James Graham, but it was actually written by Jack Higgins, of The Eagle has Landed fame.  It was just re-released a couple years ago because of Higgins' popularity.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: titoli on August 01, 2006, 01:00:54 PM
Re-watched today. Re-enjoyed it: apart from some naive passages the film has stood well the passage of time. Is the kind of movie you ain't gonna see come from Hollywood today (meaning from the '80's on).
Still the plot isn't oiled well. Because at the start the Cheyennes are seen as the evil ones who massacre the blue soldiers (though for solid reasons: get money to buy guns) and at last as peaceful folks.
Miss Bergen is not as angelical as I remembered her (at 13 any young woman with long blonde hair is an angel): her buttocks are too flat and the profile too tight. Still when in indian atttire she's highly desirable. I wonder though if she was the right choice for the part (but I saw the movie dubbed in italian, so I can't be more resolute on the point).
Strauss is perfect. Wonder why after the movie on Foreign Legion  he practically vanished from view.
The score is a nightmare of TV dimitritiomkishness rehashed for tv shows. Really, these people knew nothing about Morricone and SW?
P.S. I haven't seen Dance with Wolves and don't intend to.



Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on August 01, 2006, 01:54:36 PM
funny I just watched it also weekend before last, it does hold up and is entertaining for a curiosity.

Buffy Sainte Marie's tilte song is ok, after that it is forgeatble.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: titoli on August 01, 2006, 04:46:30 PM
Quote
Buffy Sainte Marie's tilte song is ok

A bit too long, though. I was wondering, while listening to it, if this maybe was what Castellari was heading for in Keoma.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on August 03, 2006, 05:28:10 AM
Maybe.... it was nice to see a Native American have a shot at a score, (unless it was non original) for the film.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: titoli on August 03, 2006, 09:12:06 AM
Well, about BSM being a native american it is not a decisive factor as she does the usual folksie stuff and not something in a real indian vein (well, who knows, maybe is an advantage. I don't go for folksie crap in the Baez-Dylan line. But also native stuff, bah...). But it is the rest of the score which is embarassing, cheapie and uninspired in a way contrasting with the professionality of the movie.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on August 05, 2006, 10:02:17 AM
Quote
But it is the rest of the score which is embarassing, cheapie and uninspired in a way contrasting with the professionality of the movie.


I agree


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Arizona Colt on February 19, 2007, 12:32:49 PM
This is out from Lionsgate DVD and can be had for $10-$15. I almost paid $27 for the R2 and it's a good thing I held out. One of the ultra violent westerns in the wake of THE WILD BUNCH although that movie doesn't come close to the disturbing violence on display here. Candice Bergen, well on her way to being one of the most abused actresses on screen, stars as a mail order bride whose former Indian husband comes to reclaim her. Storyline is slightly similar to THE HUNTING PARTY also with Bergen, but delves deeper into the violence the white man perpetrated on the Indians during this time.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: The Firecracker on February 19, 2007, 03:30:31 PM
check out "wrath of god" from the same director.


Very entertaining western.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Arizona Colt on May 03, 2007, 03:50:59 PM
Watched this last night and it's a very good American western directed by Ralph Nelson. Made in the wake of THE WILD BUNCH, it's an extremely graphic film based on a real event in Sand Creek, Colorado in 1864 when a cavalry of US troops unflinchingly massacred a Cheyenne village without mercy.

Candice Bergen plays Cresta, who is was formerly the wife of a Cheyenne tribal leader. She is on her way to be married to a US cavalry officer when the paymaster's detachment she is traveling with is attacked by Cheyenne forces. Only two survive, Cresta and Honus Gant (Peter Strauss). The two brave the countryside to make it to the Cavalry fort alive. Once there, Cresta learns that the military plan to massacre an Indian settlement. She leaves to earn them of the impending danger. Spotted Wolf, her former husband played by Jorge Rivera, refuses to believe the army will attack as they had given him a necklace of peace.

The army does indeed attack out of revenge for a previous attack some time prior. What follows during the final 20 minutes is one of the most vile, cruel and sadistic, not to mention gruesome and graphically violent finales I have ever seen in any film. This sequence reminded me of a similar one in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. It is a very anti-american, anti-government movie that was heavily cut to attain an R rating then cut even further to get a PG. Lionsgate has released the film uncut but it's curious to see the R rating before the film begins. There's no way this movie could get away with an R in view of the astoundingly nasty finale. Apparently the film was not resubmitted to the MPAA upon Lionsgate obtaining the original negative.

Donald Pleasence also has a brief role as a seedy salesman who's selling rifles from dead soldiers to the Indians. The film opens rather violently letting you know within the first five minutes what you're in for. Then during the middle section, with Bergen and Strauss, the film lets up quite a bit as you get to know these two characters. Bergen is much more interesting here than in the following years THE HUNTING PARTY. Here, she's a foul mouthed, cunning and learned young spitfire who keeps the naive and inexperienced Honus from danger (some of the time). The two ultimately gain feelings for one another and these scenes are quite good and funny. Bergen also spouts off her thoughts on the government particularly the assumption that the Indians originated scalping their victims when in actuality it was the white man among other things.

All told, just with the finale alone, this film is more graphically violent than WILD BUNCH and HUNTING PARTY combined. This film is based on real events and has some powerful imagery with its nihilistic ending that, like it or not, you'll not forget.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: cigar joe on May 03, 2007, 05:18:46 PM
I have a DVDr of the German Release.

The German title translates to "Murderers Lulabye", lol.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: titoli on May 03, 2007, 05:22:13 PM
http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=2937.0


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: The Firecracker on May 03, 2007, 09:26:36 PM
This just got the R1 treatment? Best Buy?


I only own one of Nelson's westerns and that is the very spaghetti like "WRATH OF GOD".
Plot holes galore but certainly worth a few views. It has outstanding squibbed filled action sequences.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Arizona Colt on May 04, 2007, 01:53:02 PM
It's been out for a few months from Lionsgate. I posted a new topic about it a while back but no one commented on it. I just finally got around to watching it last night. The only (minor) complaint I have with it, is that we don't get to know Spotted Wolf very well. The few scenes we see of his character are well done by Jorge Rivero (CONQUEST), but it would have added even more to the brutally nasty final 20 minutes. According to an interview, Nelson wanted to show one of the most appalling acts of violence in American history the way it truly was--ugly. No punches are pulled whatsoever. This is also supposedly the first film to show women being raped fully naked. The graphic violence towards small children was a major taboo breaker as well. I would be curious to see the R version as well as the PG version and compare them.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 29, 2008, 06:14:32 PM
Cinema Retro reports on a new book on the subject: http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/1840-THE-MOST-SAVAGE-FILM-RELIVING-SOLDIER-BLUE.html#extended


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Arizona Colt on June 19, 2008, 11:13:17 AM
Got this book sometime this week entitled THE MOST SAVAGE FILM: SOLDIER BLUE, CINEMATIC VIOLENCE & THE HORRORS OF WAR. The book details everything about the film and even has details on scenes that were removed from all release prints as well as scenes rejected by the director himself for being too revolting. Judging by what is described in the book, the amount of violence and gore removed by the director was immense.

Scenes include women having their breasts sliced off (a shot of this is in the film but you don't see the actual breast removed) then batted around by the soldiers bayonets, children's limbs severed (they even employed child amputees for these scenes!), a little girls legs being cut off by wagon wheels, an Indian's arms being cut off by a soldier who immediately shoots another Indian in the eye and the death of Spotted Wolf. His head is sliced off and hoisted into the air then tossed to another soldier who throws it offscreen. There's a picture of the calvaryman holding the decapitated head of Spotted Wolf over his corpse in the book.

There's a chapter or two about the film causing a big stir in the UK particularly one instance in which a trailer featuring a number of the films more gruesome moments was accidentally shown during a kiddie show.

The book is right expensive but definitive and meticulously written. However, for such a hefty price tag, there are no color stills. The book is 229 pages.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Banjo on December 09, 2008, 07:53:42 AM
Been sitting on a dvdr of this for a couple of years but finally got round to watching it last night and can agree with Cigar Joe "classic" remark in his initial posting.The violence is very shocking and extreme though justified in this truthful account of this shady period of American history.Candice Bergmen is absolutely terrific throughout so i'm looking to check her out in other movies.

That book also sounds very interesting AC. Who's the author?


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Groggy on December 09, 2008, 11:00:55 AM
I have yet to see this movie, but experience tells me Candice Bergen is not much of an actress. The only movie I've ever liked her in was The Wind and the Lion, and that was probably more than the character than the performance. Use your own discretion if you decide to look for other works of hers.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Arizona Colt on December 09, 2008, 02:10:32 PM
Been sitting on a dvdr of this for a couple of years but finally got round to watching it last night and can agree with Cigar Joe "classic" remark in his initial posting.The violence is very shocking and extreme though justified in this truthful account of this shady period of American history.Candice Bergmen is absolutely terrific throughout so i'm looking to check her out in other movies.

That book also sounds very interesting AC. Who's the author?

It's here...

http://www.amazon.com/Most-Savage-Film-Cinematic-Violence/dp/0786437103/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228857006&sr=1-1


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Banjo on December 10, 2008, 07:58:08 AM
It's about 40 on UK Amazon.If a paperback edition comes out for around half the price i'll be tempted.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Arizona Colt on December 10, 2008, 02:44:58 PM
It's about 40 on UK Amazon.If a paperback edition comes out for around half the price i'll be tempted.

Wow. Wonder why it's more expensive on UK Amazon?


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Banjo on December 13, 2008, 09:03:32 AM
Problem is with postage and the poor current exchange rate of Sterling it wouldn't be any cheaper for me to get this from the USA. :(


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Dust Devil on October 29, 2009, 07:59:34 AM
Saw it, and was disappointed. Horrible acting from pretty much all the cast, disgustingly bad music, shameful just-write-something-to-fill-the-time story, and, bah, I don't know, there must be something else that sucks too. The initial 10 minutes are good, the final 20 minutes are movie anthology. The heinous atrocities of war are so graphically powerful even if severely trimmed, and deserved, first of all, a better screenplay, and second everything else. Cause this cheap mess is a real shame, this is something you'd expect to find in a SW whose budget was a 1000 $. Out of respect for the victims if anything else. But, you know, here obviously everybody was so riled up preparing for the final gorefest they thought they can as well serve the audience anything they can find/quickly come up with before.

A great shame such powerful scenes were wasted on such a shitty movie.


4.5/10


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2011, 07:10:32 AM
You guys are nuts. This film is awful with a capital FU.

Quote
This tasteless, tacky piece of filth probably represents the nadir of revisionist Westerns. Ralph Nelson's Soldier Blue (1970) is yet another attack on America's mistreatment of the Indians, getting so caught up in righteous anger that it doesn't bother with minor things like storytelling or quality.

A detail of soldiers escorting white woman Cresta Lee (Candice Bergen) is ambushed by Cheyenne Indians, leaving only Cresta and green trooper Honus (Peter Strauss) alive. Cresa leads Honus on a bizarre odyssey to the nearest cavalry post, teaching him how to survive and deflating his pretensions of civilizing the West. Turns out Cresta is the former wife of Indian chief Spotted Wolf (Jorge Rivero) and is all wise to the ways of the Indian. They arrive at the fort, where Colonel Iverson (John Anderson) is preparing a murder raid on Spotted Wolf's village.

Soldier Blue embodies everything wrong with revisionist Westerns. We don't know the Indians because the movie focuses on the two white people; they're only presented as savage warriors at the beginning, then, bizarrely, crop up towards the end as a hippie-like village of innocents waiting to get slaughtered. Nelson and writer John Gay don't shy away from anachronism, with Cressa sporting hippie-like garb, the Colonel mumbling about "kids these days" and the blatant My Lai imagery in the finale. Most Westerns are very much of their time, but Soldier Blue openly embraces its Vietnam-era radicalism. It's like Billy Jack without roundhouse kicks.

Really the only reason Soldier Blue hasn't faded into obscurity is its infamous final massacre. Loosely inspired by the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, it nonetheless borders on vulgar exploitation: a woman is decaptitated onscreen, children are shot, everything with breasts is raped and soldiers gleefully wave severed limbs around. This is presented so cartoonishly as to be laughable: I was reminded of Rambo, with its Burmese soldiers throwing babies into a fire. Nelson adds bizarre touches, like Honus wandering around screaming "WHY!?!" and the Colonel target-shooting from a chair (!?!), that only make things improbably crass.

Accounts of the real massacre aren't very pretty, but surely there's a less ridiculous way to present it? Little Big Man's depiction of Custer's Washita Raid gets across the horror of frontier warfare without veering into obscenity. As it is, this whole storyline doesn't even begin until the final half-hour, so who cares? With the carnage happening to people we barely know, it comes off as a lame effort to pound its audience into submission. Still harbor allusions about the Old West? Let's see you deal with this!

Divested of its message and carnage, Soldier Blue is absolutely worthless. Between the book-end massacres is a bizarre Old West comedy-of-manners, with Cresta "educating" the naive Honus in the ways of the West as they wander through the wilderness (beautifully captured by Robert B. Hauser). It plays like Pocahontas if Pocahontas were white, dressed like a Whitechappel hooker and swore like a Marine Drill Sergeant. Rest assured, we get lots of dialogue explaining why white people are evil and how square values like patriotism are a lie.

Besides insulting its audience's intelligence, all this jabberwocky is neither interesting nor helps the story. You can only hear so many righteous sermons before you go batty, and this film has little else to offer. An encounter with unfriendly Indians is over before it begins, and our protagonists' wanderings quickly grow repetitive. A bizarre interlude with a crazy gun-runner (Donald Pleasance) only muddles things further. When we finally arrive at the denouement it seems like an entirely different movie. Who cares what happens to the Indians after we've spent two hours with pretty young white people?

Candice Bergen (The Wind and the Lion) proves yet again that, while very attractive, she is a terrible actress. She's even less appealing as a gutter-mouthed frontier gal than usual. Peter Strauss is a complete bore. Donald Pleasance (Halloween) is ridiculously hammy, even by his standards. The "Indian" actors are completely forgettable, especially Jorge Rivero (whom MSTies will recognize from Werewolf). Oddly, the one actor to make a positive impression is John Anderson (Ride the High Country), who as a perennial Western baddie makes perfect casting for the John Chivington surrogate.

Soldier Blue is one of the most obnoxious examples of "politically aware" cinema to crawl out from the '70s muck. Compared to the craft and skill of other pro-Indian films - Broken Arrow, Devil's Doorway, Geronimo: An American Legend - it plays as a really bad joke, the Duel in the Sun of Indian Westerns. 2/10


http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/05/soldier-blue.html (http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/05/soldier-blue.html)


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2011, 07:16:45 AM
Before Jenkins bitches I'll add that the score is one of the worst I've ever heard. Though Buffy St. Marie is marginally better than Coven.


Title: Re: Soldier Blue (1970)
Post by: stanton on May 26, 2011, 12:37:19 PM
Joe Hembus on Soldier Blue:

The cruelty of the film, which means the extensive and detailed portrayal of the massacre, is neither covered by its moral nor its formal qualities.

Can't say it better. 4/10

(But it sounds better in German)