Set in Texas, ARROWHEAD stars Charlton Heston as Chief of Scouts Ed Bannon, an arrogant man raised by Apache who hates them with a vengeance. When the new Apache chief, Toriano, returns to his people after schooling in th... more »e Eastern U.S., Bannon senses the man isn't trustworthy and does not believe the Apaches will uphold the peace plan they have agreed to. With the U.S. Army anxious to send the Apaches to a reservation in Florida, they hope Bannon will not interfere.« less
This 1953 western movie is an excellent movie for its time and for all time.
The script is based on W. R. Burnett's hardcover novel, ADOBE WALLS, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1953. The western novel by Burnett is loosely based on the life of Albert Seiber exemplar frontiersman and U.S. Army Scout in Arizona Territory during the Apache Wars of the 1880s. Much of the happenings are true to the time and true also to Al Seiber's life.
Whether one cares for this movie or not, and judging by the first two reviews here they don't, any film of historical background is noteworthy. While it is true the film takes much dramatic license in many ways, if one reads on the west these items are easily spotted and do not get in the way of enjoying the movie.
The setting of the movie is realistic and the use of old Fort Davis adds an aura of authenticity to the location shots. It was acceptable in those 1950 days to have non-Indians portray Indians, and at times Hollywood dared to change history. But in many respects true lore comes through in this movie, for example, the Ghost dance with its expectation of a 'messiah' to lead in the extermination of the white man, and dancing to make the Indians impervious to bullets, and the attempt to dance back the bison and the good times, all have their basis in historical fact.
The plot also involves double dealing by some Apache Scouts, and while most were very trustworthy, a few were not and some ending up being hung. The Apache Kid turned renegade and was able to elude capture, with no white ever knowing how he ended up. Even the attempt to relocate the Apache out of the territory to Florida did in fact occur. So while there is much fiction in this movie, there is also much fact.
If one has some knowledge of the west, or just plain enjoys an interesting movie of the west, the viewer should do 'ok' watching it.
But again, as evidenced by the first two reviews here, a movie sometimes just doesn't meet everyone's expectations.
Heston against Palance in a good-looking Western!
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 11/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Any film with Jack Palance as the villain is intense and strong... This great actor is unique and classic in this respect!
His order to his braves: 'There will be no more fighting until Bannon has met Toriano!,' marks a summary of the entire motion picture: Toriano against Bannon!
But who are these two men?
Ed Bannon (Charlton Heston) is the Chief of Scouts for U.S armed forces fighting Apaches in the post Civil War... He despises Apaches: 'Anything Toriano for, I'm against!'
Toriano (Jack Palance) is the son of the Old Apache Chief Chattez (Frank Dekova). He rejects permanent confinement and refuses to accept how his warriors are gathered like cattle in their reservation...
Apache Wars were among the fiercest fought on the frontier... The U.S government attempted to limit their territories and movements...
In the film we learn that an Indian cannot touch, harm or kill a man if he comes unarmed into their encampment; an Apache leader can be mystified through the Great Spirit by ritual drum beat; when an Indian and a white man are blood brothers, the only way to break the bound was for one of the two to die-- This explains why Toriano and Bannon assigned the time and place to meet in a single combat to death at the end of the picture...
The pretty Katy Jurado is Bannon's lover, a young girl, half Indian, half Mexican, who admires Toriano as a true leader...Wanting to serve him, she keeps an eye on Bannon, spying all his moves...
Shot in Technicolor, with good directing and strong supporting cast (Brian Keith in his film debut), "Arrowhead," overcomes as a good-looking Western by the excellent acting of its stars...
Patrick Mcdermott | ERIE, PA USA | 06/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent old fashion Western from back in the days when the writting was good and gritty and the stars were real and yet larger than life. Unlike the inflatable big headed morons we get today, like Mr. Cruise and Mr. Pitt. Charleton Heston Rules the screen with a simple yet strong present. He is no pretty boy. His rugged face make you belive he did that kind of work regardless of the role instead sitting around all day getting manicure/pedicures and living a "FAKE" religion as tax/mental healt permanant commital dodge. Watah any of his performances and you will see why he won several Oscars simply because he EARNED THEM WITH HARD WORK and not through being a popular pretty boy. The rest of the cast is awesome and believable as well."
Trust an Apache?
Steven Hellerstedt | 11/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not in ARROWHEAD you don't, lessen you're one of those dunderheaded fools who reckon we can trust, and live in peace with, the bloodthirsty heathens. Charlton Heston plays the moody Chief of Indian Scouts, Brian Keith the young and naïve commander of a small unit of cavalry isolated out on the west Texas border sometime in the 1870s, and Jack Palance is college-educated Apache who comes back to the reservation with revolt, and personal glory, on his mind in ARROWHEAD, a cowboys-and-indians western from 1953.
A cowboys-and-indians western with an attitude, it should be noted. Not all that pleasant an attitude, either. The US Government, through Keith, wants to parlay with the Apaches. Heston, who grew up with `em and can read a pony trail or a smoke signal like a native, will have none of it. To Heston - and the movie, because Heston is never proven wrong - the Apaches are treacherous, back-stabbing fiends whose perfidious ways are etched in their genes. He's not a hater, though. In fact, at one point he clears that point up by saying "I don't hate `em, I know `em." Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it! My favorite line in this odd movie, though, is again uttered by Heston when a character he was on intimate terms with dies (after unsuccessfully trying to stab him in the back) by her own hands when she turns her knife on herself. You'd think this movie would be the least little curious about what motivated this sequence of events beyond the "Apache blood" excuse it uses throughout, but no. So, fresh corpse on the floor, fresh corpse of a recently intimate acquaintance, and the movie has Heston say, with undisguised disgust, `There's a dead Apache in here. Get it out.' It's amazing to think that this one came out AFTER "Broken Arrow," the landmark Jimmy Stewart/Delmer Daves film from 1950 that is usually credited with opening up movies to a sympathetic treatment of Native Americans.
A trend that wasn't stemmed much by this pretty much forgotten little oater. If you can get past the movie's mean and narrow point of view it's an alright actioner. Heston plays it with cool authority, gets to keep a couple of fort women on the string, and plumbs absolutely none of the psychological depths his Apache-raised character is filled with (to be fair, the movie doesn't seem much interested in whatever conflicts his character is experiencing, either.) Jack Palance, one of the more sinister actors in movie history, is very effective as the war-minded Apache. Recommended with (no pun intended) strong reservations.
D. Hinkle | OKLAHOMA | 04/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE BEFOR, I LIKED IT VERY MUCH I INJOY WATCHING OLD MOVIES."