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: 7th Cavalry (1956)  ( 366 )

« : February 08, 2017, 08:34:39 PM »

Yellow Hair and the real meaning of Horsepower.

Set after the Battle Of Little Big Horn, 7th Cavalry sees Randolph Scott playing Captain Benson, who returns with his future bride to his post commanded by Indian fighter, Colonel Custer. Custer however was gone, he had taken the famous 7th Cavalry to war with the Sioux at Big Horn and lost badly. Guilt ridden and tarnished by whispers of cowardice, Benson volunteers to lead a dangerous mission back to Big Horn to reclaim the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

There doesn't appear to be much much love for this 1956 Columbia Pictures Oater. Seems it's either damned for being too talky, or on the flip side, it's too hokey within its plotting to actually merit worth. Well that's a shame for this has something of a vintage feel to it, the themes of guilt and redemption are Western standards, whilst the story also takes in interesting arcs such as religious beliefs and spiritual meanings. Yes this is definitely a "talky" picture - aside from some mano mano action and single horse pursuits that is - but it's a well thought out screenplay by Peter Packer (adapting from Glendon Swarthout's story). Instances such as a military enquiry and an exchange between Benson and a young Indian warrior are intelligent passages in the story (with Scott doing fine work in the process). What it lacks in gusto action it more than makes up for with the characterisations.

Other plus points are that it's also nicely shot in Mexico, the Technicolor doing justice to the splendid costumes on show. Backing Scott up in support are admirable performers such as Jay C. Flippen, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon, Michael Pate and Harry Carey Junior. Although the ladies (Jeanette Nolan & Barbara Hale) aren't given too much to do and the score conducted by Mischa Bakaleinikoff is at odds with the tempo of the film, 7th Cavalry still deserves a better reputation than it currently has. If you prepare for a work of fiction that is most assuredly dialogue driven, then hopefully your expectations will at the least be met. 7/10

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