“You call that life? If an Apache cannot live in his home mountains like his fathers before him, he is already dead!”
When Rose and I got back from Arizona and the Apache Trail … I sat down in my living room and turned on the TV. Guess what’s playing? ??? Apache … of course – on Turner Classic Movies.
Interesting that foreign posters are often better than domestic.
But all they would have had to do was stick a pic of Jean Peters on the
poster and the theatres would have been full.
Jean … with a bullet
Well, I’ve known about this movie for some some, but never gotten around to seeing it. But since this was such a coincidence (I don’t believe in coincidences), I figured I better watch it. I’ve also known for a long time that my attraction to Sedona and Arizona country was due to past lives that I had spent here as a native in times that pre-dated the coming of the Whiteman. Much of Apache is filmed around Sedona and though I have no clear recollection of being Apache in particular, Apache is a very large and board label that covers many tribes in the American Southwest.
Apache is not high on the list of most Western Movie fans, and I don’t consider it to be a major Western classic myself. But it still has some interesting and noteworthy features. For starters, it stars Burt Lancaster – one of the greatest Western Film actors of all time.
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_(film)) says:
“The film was the first in a series of movies Lancaster made for United Artists (under the Hecht-Lancaster studio)
It was originally budgeted at $742,000.
The film was a big hit, earning over $3 million in its first year of release and $6 million overall.”
A study of the film industry gives is a study of inflation: The recent The Lone Ranger (starring Johnny Depp) cost approximately $250 million to make.
Besides Lancaster as Massail, it also has other notable casting: Jean Peters as Nalinlel; John McIntire as Al Sieber; Charles Bronson (as Charles Buchinsky) as Hondo; John Dehner as Weddle; Paul Guilfoyle as Santos; Ian MacDonald as Clagg; Walter Sande as Lt. Col. Beck; Morris Ankrum as Dawson; Monte Blue as Geronimo.
Charles Bronson billed as Charles Bruchinsky
Jean Peters, John McIntire, Charles Bronson, John Dehner, Ian MacDonald would all be well recognized actors even today.
From AllMovie : http://www.allmovie.com/movie/apache-v2657/review
Another 1950s pro-Indian Western featuring Caucasian actors in brown body paint speaking pidgin “Native,” Apache nevertheless manages to dispense more than the standard revisionist bromides. Showcasing his energetic style, director Robert Aldrich doesn’t stint on the violence perpetrated by either the whites or by star Burt Lancaster‘s athletic blue-eyed brave Massai, while Massai’s rough handling of Jean Peters‘ Nalinle makes him tough to admire. Nevertheless, Massai’s trip from Florida to his ancestral lands early in the film concisely and potently sums up the ruinous spread of white “civilization” across indigenous tribal territory, turning him into a Machiavellian hero saved by the agrarian ideal and Nalinle’s familiar instincts. As Aldrich figured, that salvation rings jarringly false, but the powers that be overruled the relatively inexperienced movie director’s artistically sound yet commercially difficult instincts. Aldrich’s first collaboration with producer/star Lancaster, Apache was also the director’s first hit and the beginning of Lancaster’s fruitful run as a Western action hero. According to historical accounts, the actual Massai’s eyes really were a Lancasterian azure.
Director Robert Aldrich
The film is directed my none other than Robert Aldrich – who also directed The Big Knife (1955), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and The Longest Yard (1974).
Aldrich further directed the Western Classic Vera Cruz (1954) that featured Lancaster, Gary Cooper, Cesar Romero, Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine … among others.
Other Westerns directed by Robert Aldrich:
- 4 for Texas (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg, Ursula Andress, Charles Bronson, Richard Jaeckel, Jack Elam, and The Three Stooges. (Yep, you’re reading correctly – obviously a comedy.)
- Ulzana’s Raid (1972) starring Burt Lancaster, Richard Jaeckel, Bruce Davison and Joaquin Martinez. The film, which was filmed on location in Arizona - portrays a brutal raid by Chiricahua Apaches against European settlers.
- The Frisco Kid (1979) – another Western comedy with Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford …
Apache – Cathedral Rock in background, Sedona Arizona