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Author Topic: Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)  (Read 5617 times)
The Peacemaker
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« on: August 02, 2007, 03:35:40 PM »

TCM will be playing this on Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern Time.


I know that a few members here wanted to see this.

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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2007, 09:42:32 PM »

Its a Western set around the same time frame as GBU, a Union prison camp Ft. Bravo somewhere in that part of the New Mexico Territory known at the time as "Arizona".  Its Confeds against Union and both against the Apache. William Holden & John Forsite star.

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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2007, 10:15:35 PM »

Anything with William Holden, I'm there. How good is this?

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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 07:18:36 PM »

Its good

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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2007, 03:44:53 PM »

I watched a little bit of the film today (fifteen-twenty minutes), it was definitely an influence for "Major Dundee". Besides the very basic plot and setting, you have Yanks and Rebs teaming up to fight Apaches at one point, and I watched a scene where Confederate prisoners assembled for role call whistle Dixie like the recruitment scene in "Dundee".

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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2011, 10:56:42 AM »

This has the gimmick of the Indians acting like an artillery squad. It has the usual great Holden (a mystery why he wasn't given his credit until later years) but it is rather slow as to plot. I don't understand how long it takes to the "coward" to go to the fort and bring in the cavalry to the rescue. If the mileage is 100 miles it should take the cavalry a few hours to get there instead of a whole day.
Anyway, it is funny to compare the face of Blondie after the desert tour and that of the escapee confederate soldier brought back to the fort by Holden. Anyway, 6\10.

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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2011, 11:52:45 AM »

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I don't understand how long it takes to the "coward" to go to the fort and bring in the cavalry to the rescue. If the mileage is 100 miles it should take the cavalry a few hours to get there instead of a whole day.

By car yea,  the record distance traveled by a US cavalry troop was 170 miles in just over 3 days (without loosing a horse), usually a cavalry troop covered 20-25 miles a day distance determined by good camping spots with grass and water. They also usually stopped once an hour dismounting so the horses could rest.

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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 12:41:22 AM »

By car yea,  the record distance traveled by a US cavalry troop was 170 miles in just over 3 days (without loosing a horse), usually a cavalry troop covered 20-25 miles a day distance determined by good camping spots with grass and water. They also usually stopped once an hour dismounting so the horses could rest.

The 100 miles are to be divided in two legs: it is 50 for the soldier to get to the fort and another 50 for the soldiers to arrive to the rescue.

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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 04:45:51 AM »

The 100 miles are to be divided in two legs: it is 50 for the soldier to get to the fort and another 50 for the soldiers to arrive to the rescue.

That's pushing it but doable I thought it was 100 miles one way, haven't seen the film in a while  Wink

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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2011, 02:33:12 PM »

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John Sturges's Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) is an underwhelming film with an intriguing premise. Everything's in place for a crackerjack Western, but loopy plotting and forced characterization result in an uneven film.

Captain Roper (William Holden) is the tough second-in-command at Ft. Bravo, a cavalry outpost in New Mexico during the Civil War serving as a POW camp. He's constantly having to tangle with Confederate Captain Marsh (John Forsythe) and his escape-minded prisoners, but his harsh methods earn him the enmity of the fort's commander (Carl Benton Reid). Feisty Texas girl Carla Forester (Eleanor Parker) arrives at the fort and strikes up a flirtation with Roper, helping Marsh and his men escape. Roper tracks the Rebels down, but the arrival of hostile Mescalero Apaches forces the Yanks and Rebs to work together.

Escape from Fort Bravo was a milestone in the career of John Sturges, allowing him to break free of grunt work on cheesy programmers (For the Love of Rusty, anyone?). Sturges built an impressive CV of Westerns (The Magnificent Seven) and action flicks (The Great Escape) that are slickly made and undemanding, with a shade more characterization and depth than average genre fare.

Escape from Fort Bravo has an intriguing premise but doesn't add up. The film is incongruous as its mixture of impressive Death Valley locations and obvious painted sets, morphing from a fairly mooted prison camp drama to an action film. The camp scenes are static and largely devoid of tension: the POWs seem to get along with their guards (heck, Marsh and another officer are invited to the regimental ball!) and the escape far too easy. In the last 30 minutes, the film settles into a Lost Patrol-style siege which can't help but be compelling, but the overall effect is disappointing.

A particular gripe is writer Frank Fenton's shoddy characterization. We're told again and again that Roper is a real hardass, but after his intro dragging a sunburned POW into camp, he does nothing to justify this assessment. Carla starts out as a resourceful frontier gal, fighting off Indians with a derringer and using her feminine wiles like a proto-femme fatale, but her devolution into blubbering arm candy by the final reels is inexcusable. Painfully on-the-nose dialogue spells out character relations and scenarios that are already obvious. Show don't tell is a rule this film constantly violates.

In crunchtime, Sturges is primarily an action director and Fort Bravo delivers here. There are several inventive set pieces, including a cavalry patrol's tense trot through a canyon (sans musical accompaniment). The Indians aren't pop-up targets but a clever, dangerous enemy; in the final siege, a clever bit involves the Apaches "bracketing" the troopers with lances for an arrow strike. Sam Peckinpah clearly used the film as a touchstone for his much better Major Dundee, borrowing the setting and lifting several scenes wholesale, namely the POWs defiantly whistling Dixie during role call.

William Holden makes a fine two-fisted hero. It's an undemanding role for the star of Sunset Blvd. but Holden's assured performance almost lives up to the script's hype. Eleanor Parker (Mission to Moscow) is fetching but can't handle Carla's lousy character arc. The wooden John Forsythe (In Cold Blood) makes a dull antagonist and his lack of chemistry with Parker doesn't help. William Demearst (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) and William Campbell provide an amusing doubles-act as agitated Rebel prisoners. Richard Anderson (Seven Days in May) makes an impression as Holden's lieutenant and Polly Bergen (The Long Gray Line) has a bit part.

Escape from Fort Bravo makes for an uneven Western. The film has its moments, but overall it feels like a lot of wasted potential. 6/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/10/escape-from-fort-brav o.html


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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2011, 04:48:53 PM »

If we're looking for Leone references Titoli, there's the early scene where Holden gets chewed out by his commanding officer over his brutal methods, only to brush the older man off.

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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 04:11:12 AM »

Just saw the film for the first time.

Your last line says it all, Groggy: The movie makes for an uneven Western The film has its moments where you believe it has potential, but disappoints. I rated it a 5.75/10

The painted scenery is ridiculous. And how about the pristine, gushing waterfall right in middle of the desert!... So the Reb Femme Fatale falls for the Yank who is imprisoning here fiance', right? puhleeeez.

Sometimes I wish no women were ever allowed as love interests in Westerns, ever. It may take away a few decent roles, but it would make sooooooooo many decent Westerns good, or bad Westerns decent. (That line is not anti-women; it's anti-awful writers). But what's new...

Anyway, that's 98 minutes I'll never have back....

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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 06:07:15 AM »

5.75/10
Why not 57.5 out of 100?

Weasels! There are weasels posting to this board!

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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2011, 12:12:45 PM »

I like it more than you guys. Well done entertainment with well done action scenes. 7/10

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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2011, 01:53:01 PM »

Why not 57.5 out of 100?

Weasels! There are weasels posting to this board!

I was actually gonna give it 5.625.

First a space alien, then a weasel? I guess I'm movin up in the (dj's) world  Wink

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