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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on May 21, 2007, 04:10:00 AM

Title: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: cigar joe on May 21, 2007, 04:10:00 AM
One of the last of the great Jimmy Stewart Westerns finally being released on DVD May 22.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Leone Admirer on May 21, 2007, 05:58:16 AM
Another to add to the old shopping list  O0
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: cigar joe on June 03, 2007, 08:12:25 AM
Directed by Delmer Daves and starring Jimmy Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debora Pagent, Arthur Hunnicut, Will Greer, Iron Eyes Cody, Jay Silverheels, John Duchette.

Watched it on new DVD release.

Not a bad CI (Cowboys & Indians) Western, it actually is based on a true story about Cochise (Chandler) and Tom Jeffords (Stewart) and the peace efforts with the Apaches in Arizona, this is the genesis of the split of Cochise's band with Geronimo (who continued the fight). It shows the Native Americans in a positive light and has a lot of Apache ceremonies and customs explained, there are some action sequences against some breathtaking scenery. Not your shoot 'em up Western. You notice Jay Silverheels as Geronimo, and spot Iron Eyes Cody as one of Cocheise's sub chiefs, has a nice love story for the ladies.

Will Greer plays a doublecrossing rancher. Hunnicutt the agent for the pony express line.

Its a good addition to a Stewart Western Collection.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Groggy on June 05, 2007, 05:27:03 AM
I think it was a pretty good film, if not one of my favorites. It was an interesting attempt to look at the Indian angle of things.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on August 13, 2008, 02:09:39 AM

I just picked this up. I look forward to watching it.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Groggy on August 13, 2008, 04:21:52 AM
Pretty good, if a bit melodramatic. It scores points for having a fair depiction of Native Americans (personified by the great Jeff Chandler) without completely demonizing white society like, oh, Dances With Wolves.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on August 13, 2008, 12:20:22 PM
Pretty good, if a bit melodramatic. It scores points for having a fair depiction of Native Americans (personified by the great Jeff Chandler) without completely demonizing white society like, oh, Dances With Wolves.

That's cool. I'm probably going to watch it sometime this weekend. I'll post my thoughts here.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: titoli on November 28, 2009, 08:30:21 AM
Great visually, this should be seen on the big screen. Of course, there's too much idealization and the squaw character is almost untolerable in her duets witn Srewart. 7\10
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Groggy on May 21, 2010, 12:06:43 PM
I rewatched this about a week ago and I liked it a lot more than I remembered. Interesting companion to Devil's Doorway; this movie is a lot more conventionally liberal but it's as good, perhaps better.

Broken Arrow is an excellent revisionist view of Native Americans. Long before Dances With Wolves, it argues that Indians are people worthy of respect, without engaging in too much preaching on the subject.

Army scout Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) rescues a young Apache wounded by cavalrymen. Though taken hostage, Jeffords is released by Chief Cochise (Jeff Chandler) after witnessing the ambush of white scalphunters. Jeffords is used as a go-between for the whites and Apaches to try and negotiate a peace: he befriends both General Oliver O. Howard (Basil Ruysdael), a deeply-religious military man, and Cochise, as well as falling for Apache girl Sonseeahray (Debra Paget). The two sides negotiate an uneasy peace, but it's interrupted by renegade Apache Geronimo (Jay Silverheels) and a gang of white racists led by rancher Ben Slade (Will Geer).

Along with the Nazis, Native Americans were the go-to villain for Classic Hollywood, faceless monsters to be exterminated by the forces of good. Aside from John Ford's Fort Apache (1948), few films acknowledged that the Indians were human beings, let alone had legitimate grievances against white expansion. Later films would overbalance the ledger, portraying Nazi-like cavalry slaughtering helpless Natives. Finding a middle ground is wrought with incredible difficulty, and bound to piss someone off.

It's to the immense credit of Daves and screenwriters Albert Maltz and Michael Blankfort (working on an Elliott Arnold novel) that they depict Cochise and his tribe as balanced, believable people. Cochise is a wise man but a stern ruler, befriending Jeffords and summarily executing disloyal tribesmen. We see the Apache as a noble and proud people, but also see their war-like side, ambushing mailmen and torturing hostages, and their internal dissent over the truce. The romance between Jeffords and Sonseeahray is sweet and tastefully handled. It's easily the most balanced portrait of Native Americans in Hollywood history.

By the standards of later revisionist Westerns - Cheyenne Autumn, Little Big Man - Broken Arrow is fairly tame. Manifest Destiny is criticized only implicitly. There is ample racism among Jeffords' white colleagues, but the noble General Howard represents the US government. The movie opts for an even-handed "both sides have extremists" view, true in an immediate sense but not indicative of the big picture. Not to sound like a bleeding heart liberal, but one side was actively working to expel a people from their land, and the other wasn't.

Still, enough films have made this point that Daves can be forgiven for foregoing it. Certainly the film's balanced portrayal is preferable is preferable to the preachiness of Cheyenne Autumn, Dances With Wolves, or (God forbid) Avatar. Daves's primary goal isn't to decry white colonialism, but to show Apaches as human beings, and at this he succeeds marvelously.

Daves handles a brilliant production, making full use of Ernest Palmer's striking Technicolor photography and beautiful Arizona and California locations. The movie deftly mixes plot and action, with excellent shootouts and battle scenes, and an epic scope balanced out by intimate character scenes. Maltz and Blankfort's script is mostly good, and Hugo Friedhoffer contributes a fine, sensitive score.

James Stewart gives one of his best performances here, a perfect mixture of tough and thoughtful. Jeff Chandler is equally strong, making Cochise a balanced, believable personage. Debra Paget is beautiful and sweet as Jefford's wife. The supporting cast is full of fine performances: Will Geer (Jeremiah Johnson), Arthur Hunnicut (El Dorado), Basil Ruysdael (Jubal), Jay Silverheels (The Lone Ranger), John War Eagle (The Man From Laramie). (
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: T.H. on November 23, 2010, 08:14:04 PM
I agree with Groggy for the most part but I thought it moved a little too slow for my liking. It looked great, Stewart was good but there was too much talking about the same thing. Very good movie though. I prefer Devil's Doorway and Run of the Arrow.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: Dust Devil on December 11, 2010, 02:37:20 AM
This is a good W, for the most part, well balanced, albeit predictable to a point. I agree with most said by CJ, titoli and Groggy: good and bad. I'll just remember the scene of the body of a dead (white) man being carried by the current down the stream. You can notice how it was done, but it's still impressive, must have been hard as hell.

Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 26, 2012, 08:51:10 AM
Not a very good movie.
Title: Re: Broken Arrow (1950)
Post by: dave jenkins on November 28, 2016, 04:10:27 PM
Coming to Blu in a 2K transfer: