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: Fort Utah (1967)  ( 398 )

« : March 14, 2017, 02:26:26 AM »

Utah Saints.

Fort Utah is directed by Lesley Selander and written by Steve Fisher and Andrew Craddock. It stars John Ireland, Virginia Mayo, Robert Strauss, Scott Brady, John Russell, Richard Arlen and James Craig. Music is by Jimmie Haskell and cinematography is by Lothrop Worth.

Drifter Tom Horn (Ireland) teams up with Indian Agent Ben Stokes (Strauss) to help a pioneer wagon train against army deserters and Indian renegades.

Filmed in Technicolor/Techniscope out at Vasquez Rocks and Santa Clarita in California, Fort Utah, in spite of being shot in 1966, feels like a 1950s Oater. Of course the big giveaway is that the headliners in the cast are more long in the tooth than back in the day. Yet collectively they have produced a a very decent Oater with old fashioned value.

There's plenty going on in the plotting. The Indians have had enough of the reservation living arrangements so a renegade band have fled, leaving Ben Stokes the not unenviable task of trying to locate and placate. There's a gang of army deserters - The Marrauders - led by nefarious Dajin (Brady) out for what they can get their hands on, illegally of course. Right in the middle of hostile territory is a wagon train of pioneers who unbeknown to themselves are going to need help to survive, enter Tom Horn and the Fort Utah of the title.

Pic never wants for action, Horn gets into a fight pretty much every ten minutes, be it fisticuffs or shoot-outs, there's barely pause for him to take breath, well except for when he's getting smitten with Linda Lee (Mayo a gorgeous mature at 46) that is. She's travelling with the wagon train and has a secret as well as a major cleavage that gets an airing during a ferocious Indian attack on the wagon train. Whilst unsurprisingly she's getting unwanted attention by a scallywag pioneer fellow...

Some of the stunt doubles are very poor, which sort of sits with Haskell's cheesy musical score, and the big finale features a WTF moment to close down the encounter. But with some very nice photography for the night time scenes, and the superb backdrop of Vasquez Rocks pleasing the eyes, one can't grumble about not having it all. It's not a classic of course, and it has some formulaic baggage to carry around, but for old fashioned Oater lovers this has much to recommend. 6.5/10

Viewed via UK cable

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