Sunday, March 21, 2010

Broken Arrow (1950)

Broken Arrow (1950). Director: Delmer Daves. Cast: James Stewart and Jeff Chandler. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won a Golden Globe award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding. It made history as the first major Western since the Second World War to side with the Indians.

In 1870, Tom Jeffords, a former soldier in the Union Army, is called to Tucson by Colonel Bernall. While riding through the territory of the Chiricahua Apache,(who have been at War with the settlers), Tom crosses paths and saves the live of an injured fourteen-year-old Chiricahua boy.

When Machogee is well enough to travel, he gives Tom a necklace in friendship and says that he must return home because he knows his mother will be wondering what happened to him. Tom for the first time learns that Apache mothers cry for their children. Then Machogee's father, Pionsenay, and a group warriors, finds them. The warriors capture Tom, then release him after they learn that he helped Machogee. At first, Tom believes that they may become friends, but soon changes his mind when they tie him to a tree and gag him while they kill the approaching miners.

Now back in Tucson, Bernall is convinced that he can win the war against Cochise in six months, but Tom believes that Cochise, will put up a good fight..Tom decides to negotiate with Cochise to allow the mail to pass through Apache territory unharmed.

Tom travels to Cochise's home in the mountains. During his meeting with Cochise, Tom agrees that the Americans have done the Apache harm, but believes they can live together as brothers. Cochise invites Tom to stay for a ceremonial dance and is pleasantly surprised by Tom's knowledge of the sunrise ceremony. Cochise introduces Tom to the beautiful Sonseeahray, who will be honored at the sunrise ceremony. Will the Settlers and the Indians be able to put their grievance and hatred behind them?

I thought broken arrow was a beautiful movie. Stewart gives a wonderful performance. The romance between Stewart's Indian maiden is totally believable. Jeff Chandler was wonderful in his performance as Cochise.
Broken Arrow Movie Clip.

Filmed in Sedona Arizona.

At 41, James Stewart was 25 years older than Debra Paget, who was barely 16 at the time of filming.

Filmed in 1949 but released after Stewart's next western, Winchester '73(1950).

The film was considered groundbreaking because it portrayed the Native American Indians in a humane light, something that had scarcely happened since silent days. However, years later the film was criticized because the Indians were still played by white actors.


Paul 2 said...

Dawn, this is the film that put Jeff Chandler on the map. The movie was spun off as a TV series in the mid 50's on ABC with John Lupton as Tom and Michael Ansara(who was s married to Barbra Eden at the time) as Cochise. I saw the TV series long before I saw the film, Love them both.

Dawn said...

Paul, I will have to think a minute on TV series. I'm not sure I watched it.

monty said...

I never knew about the spin off TV series Paul. But I have seen the movie which I thought was really good.

Tom said...

Great review. I didn't realize Debra Paget was that young.

Dawn said...

Tom, I was suprised too. She did a wonderful performance as, Sonseeahray. Sonseeahray, is the Indian word for, Dawn.