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Author Topic: The Last Wagon (1956)  (Read 4896 times)
tucumcari bound
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« on: August 18, 2008, 12:52:08 PM »


When a handful of settlers survive an Apache attack on their wagon train they must put their lives into the hands of Comanche Todd (Richard Widmark), a white man who has lived with the Comanches most of his life and is wanted for the murder of three men.

I came across this film and it caught my eye being not only a western but the cast. I like Richard Widmark and I seen that the beautiful Felicia Farr starred in it as well from "3:10 to Yuma" fame. Has anybody ever seen this? Thoughts?


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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2008, 03:16:15 PM »

It has its good points, but there's this whole Don't-be-a-racist sermonizing that runs through the picture and ruins it for me. I don't need my entertainments to be object lessons.

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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2008, 03:35:06 PM »

It has its good points, but there's this whole Don't-be-a-racist sermonizing that runs through the picture and ruins it for me. I don't need my entertainments to be object lessons.

I know what you mean. I'd still like to check it out though. Thanks jenkins.

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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2009, 08:10:40 PM »

Nothing special but entertaining on a certain mediocre level. Richard Widmark's role is nothing to write home about, but still miles ahead of the supporting boys and girls. (There are some badly overacted scenes in this.) Also too much prevarication for my taste, with those racial meddling, and ''I wanna trust in my fellow man'' messages. Good thing they didn't show the happy little wedding in the end, in a cottage near a stream, with flowers near the fence.


6/10

« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 07:52:08 PM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2010, 02:25:46 PM »

Yeah, it has too many sermons. But this must be seen on a big screen to be judged fairly and it's hard to find many westerns as beautifully photographed as this. Widmark is little persuading in this as a renegade and Nick Adams as the unreedemable idiot. But most of the shots are breathtaking pictures, so I give it 8\10.

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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2010, 03:19:25 PM »

your only saying that because your watching on the big screen now...... Wink

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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 04:20:29 PM »

your only saying that because your watching on the big screen now...... Wink

But it's the truth. I think that opinions (even mine!) on many movies  will have to be revised once these are watched on the big screen.
Anyway I forgot to add that the initial scene might have been a remote inspiration for the one in FFDM in which a man kills an unknown rider from a distance.

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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 11:30:49 PM »

Just saw this movie. It has everything that I have zero interest in: lost of children as main characters, many of whom are terrible; lots of Indian stuff; lots of personal/touching/stop-the-action-for-a-cute-bit-of-speechifying-as-the-slow-music-plays moments; the big courtroom sermon at the end..... and yet somehow, it kind of works and keeps you entertained. Maybe it's just cuz of Widmark. And the beautiful location (Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona, according to the utterly unreliable imdb). The boy actors are awful; the girls are only mildly better. (I was particularly hoping that the oldest boy would die just so he could shut the hell up already; and he has this heavy Brooklyn accent in "Arizona 1873"  Roll Eyes. He belonged in a bad gangster movie, not a Western).

I give the cliche'd "final courtroom scene with the sermonizing of the movie's theme" credit for one thing: it actually manages to sermonize about THREE different points: how there isn't any difference between a) war violence and individual violence, b) legal justice and individual justice; and b) White Law and Comanche Law .

Somehow I was able to hold my nose/ laugh/roll my eyes through the NUMEROUS bits of speechifying and actually enjoy myself somewhat. This movie may have sucked if it didn't have a lead actor/performance like Widmark. Oh, and that big speech he gave Felicia Farr on top of the mountain -- the "this is my desperate attempt to  find the right words to convince you that you would be the happiest woman alive if only you allowed me into your pants" speech -- I got a real kick out of that bit of dialogue; for some reason, I almost laughed as hard as I did during Lee Marvin's speech to the woman in the covered wagon in Seven Men From Now  Grin Grin Grin

(I think every guy can relate to having that moment: where the realization just hits you, that "This is IT -- if  only, right this second, I can find the right words to convince this babe that it would be in her best interests to feel how i feel -- something good may happen....  Wink)

« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 11:40:20 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 05:50:19 PM »


SPOILER ALERT

I was just thinking, maybe the shootout at the end of this movie inspired the end in My Name is Nobody, with one guy using dynamite to kill hundreds of people?

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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 08:23:23 AM »

Adding review.

He'll be safe. The first time he don't look safe, he'll get dead.

We open with a pursuit of a man across Canyon Of Death {Oak Creek Canyon}, the man being pursued is Comanche Todd. Todd is a white man with Comanche blood coursing thru his veins, he's also a wanted man, wanted for the murder of three men. After his capture by Sheriff Bull Harper, Todd and his captor run into a wagon train of Christian settlers who suffer an attack by the Apache. Severely depleted and ill equipped to deal with the terrain and threat of further attacks, the remaining settlers must put their trust in Todd to hopefully steer them all to safety.

The Last Wagon is one in a long line of Westerns that feature a similar plot, but this Delmer Daves {Dark Passage & 3:10 to Yuma} picture is a touch above many of the others due to having a few things in its favour. Primarily the picture's major draw card is the performance of Richard Widmark as Todd. In what could have been a by the numbers character, Widmark fills the role out with a sort of resentful angst. Resentful and angry angst that is coated with delicate flecks of romanticism! With the romantic plot strand here being no hindrance at all. In fact the romance here with Felicia Farr's {delightful performance} Jenny is sexy and mixes well with the dramatic core of The Last Wagon's being. As a character study of a group of people under duress, Daves and his co writer, James Edward Grant, have excelled and broken away from maudlin tendencies so rife in films of this ilk. Virtues and vices come under the microscope, as does the art of being humanitarian, regardless of circumstance and being armed with basic facts or foolishly acting on hearsay.

Also containing some beautiful location work at the afore mentioned Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona {filmed in Cinemascope and Technicolor}, it's most certainly looking like a film that has apparently been forgotten outside of the Widmark and Western purists. And that's a damn shame, because although the ending doesn't quite sit right with all that has gone before it, it's a fine Western picture just begging to be discovered by any prospective newcomers to an often derided genre. 8/10

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