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Author Topic: The Indian Fighter (1955)  (Read 1735 times)
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« on: October 26, 2009, 04:44:44 PM »

I usually don't go for indian westerns. This is no exception. Great landscapes (shot in Oregon) but I don't care for landscapes. I go for the story and this one is unimaginative as can be. Douglas hams it as usual, Matthau is a good villain, Elsa Martinelli is beautiful no end and these are the only assets of the flick. 6\10

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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2009, 04:45:58 PM »

I forgot to include the good part played by Elisha Cook jr.

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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2013, 07:12:55 AM »

Just saw The Indian Fighter on dvd, I give it a 6/10

I'm not either particularly interested in the whites vs. Indians-themed Westerns, and this one was nothing special, just a  Indians vs. Whites/ Greedy warmongers vs. Peacelovers movie.

I always love Kirk Douglas.... I am glad they used Elsa Martinelli, she is an olive-skinned Italian and passes well for an Indian; I hate how so many Westerns just take white babe, spread mud on their her face and call her an Indian; here, Martinelli really does look like a pretty Indian girl.... The character of Susan Rodgers (that middle-aged mother of the little boy who presses Kirk Douglas for Indian stories) is played by Diana Douglas, ex-wife of Kirk, mother of Michael.  In the movie House of Strangers (made only 6 years earlier) Diana Douglas looks smoking hot; I never woulda guessed that the same woman is playing Susan Rodgers; I guess the makeup dep't on The Indian Fighter did a good job making her look like a middle-aged widow on a wagon train, ie. not very attractive.... Walter Matthau is a good villain... I didn't like the way the Elisha Cook, Jr. character was written; everything was said too clearly, like when he takes a picture and says something like "this is gonna go in the history books," that just kills the effect. Contrast that with eg. the moment in GBU where the photographer takes a photo of the Union soldiers at the train station; it's just a brief moment, but it instantly recalls the famous Civil war photos by Matthew Brady. But in The Indian Fighter, the Cook character has this endless dialogue about photography and how he used to work for Matthew Brady and how he's now documenting the Wild West etc. and it just kills any effect.

BTW, One big drawback of CinemaScope is that whenever the camera pans (eg. a big landscape shot, panning across the horizon; or even just medium shot of a few people) the image looks curved. I've mentioned this before, but I notice this every time there's a CinemaScope Western; usually, by a Western with beautiful landscapes, the wide panning shots are supposed to look pretty; but with CinemaScope they are annoying. I really don't know anything about cinematography processes, but I never notice this issue with Techniscope; I'm not sure about the other anamorphic processes, but I definitely notice it time and again with CinemaScope; I really hate it, and whenever I see "Filmed in CinemaScope" flash across the screen in the opening credits, I groan.
Maybe someone who knows about cinematographic processes can comment on this? Is this only CinemaScope or other anamorphic processes as well? It definitely doesn't happen with Techniscope

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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2013, 10:21:10 AM »

I noticed this CinemaScope distortion too. I'm not sure where it comes from. The technology of CinemaScope is, like any anamorphic technology, based on a glass cylinder inside the lens that distorts the image so that you can use all the definition available on your sensor or film while shooting images that don't have the regular ratio. Then you "undistort" your images in post or during the screening.

The weird distortion of images shot in CinemaScope may come from the cylinder they used at the time. Now, when Nolan shoots anamorphic in the Dark Knight, for example, the image is perfectly straight. Even (relatively) cheap anamorphic lenses for DSLRs don't have this problem.

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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 06:45:59 AM »

I don't like the character that Kirk Douglas plays in this. I thought that I was going to enjoy this with it's great stock of character actors in support. But Walter Matthau, Lon Chaney Jr. and Elisha Cook Jr. couldn't win me over either. It's probably me but I detected some offensiveness about the film that I just couldn't ignore.

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