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Author Topic: Ulzana's Raid (1972)  (Read 7608 times)
Dust Devil
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2011, 02:05:48 PM »

You bet.

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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2011, 06:32:50 PM »

Thanks DD for the recommendation. Afro

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The Western genre was in full revisionist mode in 1972, when Robert Aldrich made Ulzana's Raid. This stark, brutal depiction of a minor Indian War is remarkably unique, avoiding pompous posturing for an honest depiction of a nasty time and place.

Apache Ulzana (Joaquin Martinez) escapes an Indian reservation with a handful of followers, and begins a reign of terror massacring settlers and cavalrymen. Shavetail Lieutenant DeBuin (Bruce Davison) is assigned to lead a company of cavalry troopers, including veteran scout MacIntire (Burt Lancaster), a friendly Apache (Jorge Luke) and a seasoned Sergeant (Richard Jaeckal) to track Ulzana down. The cavalry quickly uncovers Ulzana's atrocities, and the naively moral DeBuin clashes with his vengeful troopers.

Robert Aldrich's Vera Cruz (1954) was one of the earliest "revisionist" titles, a cynical shoot-'em-up that cast Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper as cold-blooded mercenaries embroiled in a Mexican civil war. Ulzana's Raid is even better, showing that neither side on the frontier held a monopoly on violence and cruelty. When DeBuin innocently asks how Apaches could be so cruel, he's told that it's just the way things are.

Ulzana's Raid is a real kick in the teeth to anyone expecting a traditional oater. At a time when Westerns generally depicted Indians as innocent proto-hippies (Little Big Man), Aldrich shows the Apache engaging in heinous atrocities: torture deaths, rape and mutilation. Nor does the cavalry come off well: In one of the strongest scenes, a cavalryman "saves" a woman from the Apache by shooting her. DeBuin's Christian pretensions are honest but foolish, as guerilla warfare drags everyone into the moral abyss. Aldrich and writer Alan Sharp aren't concerned with either side's "righteousness" when their conduct is so brutal.

Aldrich makes beautiful use of Southwestern locations, with striking photography courtesy of Joseph F. Biroc. Aldrich wisely keeps most of the actual violence off-screen; the bloody, burnt and mangled corpses are horrifying enough. The final battle, a protracted ambush in a canyon, is a wonderful set-piece, exciting and uniquely staged. The showdown with Ulzana, in particular, makes for a unique conclusion. The film flows at a wonderful pace, giving Sharp's sparse but effective script time to sketch the characters and conflicts in believable terms.

Burt Lancaster gives a strong performance, curbing his usual exuberance for a restrained, weather-beaten professional. Bruce Davison is superb, and Jorge Luke makes a strong impression as a loyal Apache scout. Richard Jaeckal (3:10 to Yuma) gets one of his best roles as a grizzled Sergeant.

Ulzana's Raid stands as Robert Aldrich's best film, and possibly the best Indian Western ever (save Devil's Doorway). Eschewing cliches, or an obnoxious revisionist message, Aldrich presents a strikingly frank and nihilistic view of the Old West. 9/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/05/ulzanas-raid.html

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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2011, 05:53:05 AM »

Yowser  Afro Afro Afro

Just a heads up. I have the Aldrich book and there are two different cuts of the film Aldrich's and Lancaster's but the differences seem minor.

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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2011, 07:10:35 AM »

I've heard of the 117-minute cut but I didn't see much, if anything, wrong with the shorter version I saw.

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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2011, 09:21:32 AM »

It is in fact about 111 min.

I hope for a DVD some day of this unofficial cut. It really is the best version.

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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2016, 04:37:34 AM »

Here are some of the scenes not to be found on the DVD, which contains the Aldrich cut, the DC. It seems one of the 4 scenes taken from a British VHS was blocked by Universal: http://awcgfilmlog.blogspot.de/2008/05/ulzanas-raid-aldrich-1972-european-cut.html

I still hope that one day the combined version of both cuts will be released on Blu. It would be something for Criterion, a 3 disc release with each version: The US version, the European version and the unofficial long version.

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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2016, 03:21:49 AM »

The link in the above post did not work, now it does.

And to correct this:

I have the Aldrich book and there are two different cuts of the film Aldrich's and Lancaster's but the differences seem minor.

No, the differences are not minor, not really substantially either, but the above linked scenes show that there was more filmed than used by Aldrich.

Which book do you have?

I recently bought this one, which does not mention the different versions: https://www.amazon.com/What-Ever-Happened-Robert-Aldrich/dp/0879101857/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476955681&sr=1-1&keywords=aldrich+robert

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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2016, 04:53:51 AM »

The link in the above post did not work, now it does.

And to correct this:

No, the differences are not minor, not really substantially either, but the above linked scenes show that there was more filmed than used by Aldrich.

Which book do you have?

I recently bought this one, which does not mention the different versions: https://www.amazon.com/What-Ever-Happened-Robert-Aldrich/dp/0879101857/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476955681&sr=1-1&keywords=aldrich+robert

That's the one.

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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2016, 07:29:41 AM »

That's the one.

And there is any mentioning of the Lancaster cut at all?

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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2016, 05:09:31 PM »

And there is any mentioning of the Lancaster cut at all?

I think that is where I first read about it, but it's been a while.

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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2017, 01:45:28 AM »

Finally got back around to watching this after being told about it by Stanton. I originally stopped watching it after a couple of scenes, thinking it was a weak Walt Disney type film. I was wrong...lmao  The action was VERY unexpected.  The tight script was very unexpected. 

1. Cinematography.  On point. The technicolor, camera work, everything was on point.

2. Acting.  Nobody really stood out, but it was ok.  Lancaster got kinda repititive with his correcting of the Lieutenant, but it was ok overall.

3. Script.  Very tight. No extra fluff. Straight to the point and a interesting take on the guerilla warfare that the Apache fought.

4. Musical Score. Surprisingly, pretty good.

Verdict.  I would give this a 7 out of 10.  Its worthy of being in your DVD collection.

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« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2017, 02:55:35 AM »

You'll definitely have to check out Lawman too, it's probably my favorite Lancaster Western

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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2017, 10:18:31 AM »

You'll definitely have to check out Lawman too, it's probably my favorite Lancaster Western

Ok. Gonna check it out. Good looking out...Smiley

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« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2017, 07:21:19 AM »

Noodles, could you check what versions the French Blu of Ulzana's Raid contains?

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« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2017, 10:12:20 AM »

Superb picture from a superb director.

Maybe you don't want to think of the white man being savage like the Apache?

Apache renegade Ulzana goes on a murder raid, hot on his trail is a posse of cavalrymen. Led by the young and inexperienced Lt. Garnett DeBuin, the cavalrymen in order to survive and defeat Ulzana, must rely on the help of tough old scout McIntosh and his trusty Indian friend, Ke-Ni-Tay.

Directed masterfully by Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen & The Longest Yard), Ulzana's Raid is just shy of being an uncompromising masterpiece. There is no pandering to political correctness here, this is showing the bitter hostility of the Indian war, torture and murderous inclination is the order of the day. The allegories to Vietnam are hard to ignore as our band of men are struggling out in the wilderness against Ulzana's hostile raiders, the sprawling mountainous landscape another tool to the already handily equipped Apache.

What lifts Ulzana's Raid high above many of its contemporaries is its on the money dialogue. A wonderfully complex script from Alan Sharp manages to make all the characters intriguing and deserving of further delving. The Apache are savage, and Aldrich doesn't flinch from showing this, but they are afforded respect, and crucially, understanding. Ulzana's Raid could quite easily have been a one sided blood letting exercise in Western folklore, but it isn't. The motives and attitudes of the white man party is there for all to scrutinise, with much attention to detail given as the many conversations bring rich and rewarding results to the discerning viewer. From the off it's evident that McIntosh & DeBuin have vastly different views of Ulzana's actions, but as the film moves forward; all manner of questions leap out, be it Christian values, racial hatred or merely imperialistic trust; all parties involved are hurtling towards the final reckoning.

Burt Lancaster is perfect as McIntosh, grizzled and carrying a frame made for such a rigorous terrain. Playing DeBuin is Bruce Davison, boyish charm fused expertly with unwanted bravado, while stealing the film is Jorge Luke as Ke-Ni-Tay. A performance of great depth that holds and binds the picture brilliantly. Sadly this film has been a victim of much interference over the years, (studio and Lancaster himself to blame), so much so there is thought to be about 6 cuts of the film out there in the home entertainment world. Thankfully we are now able to get a cut of the film that is almost complete, but still there remains to this day no definitive full cut of the film. German (the version I own) and Australian releases proclaim to have it uncut, but that's not accurate because there is still some three minutes missing from the very first cut of it: including a quite crucial sequence involving Sergeant and Trooper Miller. Still, it has to be said that even with 3 minutes chopped out of it, Ulzana's Raid is still a grim and brilliant piece of work. Showing the savagery from both sides of the fence, Aldrich and his team refuse to cop out and pander to formula. 9/10

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