Joel McCrea is William Frederick Cody, "Buffalo Bill" to generation of Americans, cavalry scout, buffalo hunter, Indian rights activist and Western hero, Maureen O'Hara is the well to do beauty from the East who falls in l... more »ove with him, and must choose bet« less
B. Cathey | Wendell, NC United States | 05/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well,so this Western biopic is wildly off from an historical point of view, but, nevermind, as entertainment it fills the bill and more. BUFFALO BILL is the kind of wholesome, patriotic film that fifty years ago provided solid good entertainment with good production values--and we kinda miss its kind today. McCrea never did a bad job of acting in any of his films, and here he keeps the action going, even when it becomes a bit desultory during the second half of the movie. He really is a pleasure to watch and hear...so easy in the saddle and with his lines. So, lay back and enjoy this film, and with family."
Hero of War Bonnet Gorge
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rule #1 - If you want history, read a book. William Wellman's BUFFALO BILL (1944) stars Joel McCrea as the western army scout Buffalo Bill Cody, hero of dime novels and owner and star of a legendary Wild West show. Two-thirds Hollywood hokum and one-third kind of accurate, it's nonetheless entertaining. What more can we ask from a movie? The movie opens in an US army outpost somewhere on the western edge of the great plains. Cody acts as scout for the army, as well as liaison with a local Cheyenne tribe. Cody has been a friend of one of the tribes chiefs, Yellow Hand (Anthony Quinn), since they were children. In fact, the movie tells us, Cody saved his life and, as such things go in westerns, incurs a lifelong debt from the grateful Yellow Hand. (NB - The Yellow Hand character is based on a Cheyenne chief named Yellow Hair, who, after Custer's fateful trip up the Little Big Horn, Cody "shot, stabbed, and scalped in about five seconds." Yellow Hair (Hand) is a real character in the Buffalo Bill myth only because he was immortalized in an act in the Wild West show. The act was titled `Buffalo Bill's First Scalp for Custer.' Hardly a way to treat a childhood friend, even in the wild and wooly west.) Buffalo Bill and Yellow Hand do have a showdown scene in the movie, although it's rather honorable and, thankfully, scalping-free. While an outpost scout Cody meets and marries Louisa Frederici (Maureen O'Hara), with whom he has a son. (The movie omits the fact that the real Buffalo Bill sued his wife for divorce in 1905... okay, I'll quit now. You get the idea.) While there he also meets the mellifluous pulp author Ned Buntline (Thomas Mitchell.) With newborn in tow and Buntline presumably back east creating a legend, Buffalo Bill is presented with his first great decision - the outpost is being abandoned and the soldiers are going to link up with a force in the Sioux Territory: Does Buffalo Bill leave the soldiers to grope their way north through hostile territory and probable slaughter, or does he abandon his wife and child to return east to civilization and safety alone? If BUFFALO BILL plays a little fast and loose with the facts, its heart is in the right place. Its sympathetic to Yellow Hand's Cheyennes, presenting them as a people who are starved to violence by the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo. "The Cheyenne had no choice," Buffalo Bill says at one point. "It's a bad thing for a man to starve." It's not a sentiment you normally see in a western from 1944. Buffalo Bill does finally make it to the east, and we track his progress from the Astor House to command performances before the crowned heads of Europe. Although it fails as history BUFFALO BILL is pretty entertaining. Joel McCrea had an easy-going screen persona that works well here, and the beautiful Maureen O'Hara is always a pleasure. Quinn does well (this was well before he began to seriously over-act), and Edgar Buchanan delivers as a crusty old calvary sergeant. The only anchor in the cast is poor, beautiful Linda Darnell as schoolmarm/Indian princess Dawn Starlight. Darnell was not a very strong actress, and her character is a bit of a mystery. She seems to bear an unrequited lover for Buffalo Bill, but it doesn't read right. All the dots don't connect with her character and it looks like some of her scenes, scenes which might have made sense of things, were left on the cutting room floor. The print was in very good condition, and the colors were quite vibrant. High recommendation for this one, especially for fans of traditional westerns. "
A Good Way To Pass The Time on a Saturday Evening...
Steven Hellerstedt | 08/13/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good film for all ages indeed. Growing up in Stonewall, Texas (birthplace of Lyndon Baines Johnson), I remember seeing this film with my parents in the theatres when I was 15. The cast is perfect with heavy supporting players such as Anthony Quinn and Linda Darnell. So what lowers my rating by one star you ask? Well, the length. Although it couldn't be more that 100 minutes, there is slightly a tad less action than there is verbal communication and the picture sticks to the same theme too long (i.e. Buffalo Bill's friendship with the Cheyenne Indians). If only the dialouge was a little more fast paced, this film would be of more entertainment. Yet as my headline reads, if you have not too much to do on a Saturday evening and feel like passing the time with a historic movie, watch this then."
F. J. Harvey | Birmingham England | 06/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is standard movie biography of a legendary figure of the old West and modern showbiz and it follows the sanitised version of Cody's life perpetuated by dime novel writers such as Ned Buntline .It does not ecplore the gap between myth and legend but instead follows the advice of the editor in the Ford classic " The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance " -namely "When the facts conflict with the legend -print the legend "
The Cody of this lavish and colourful movie does not have feet of clay but is presented in an uncomplicatedly heroic and mythic mode which may have gone down well when it was made but which now comes across as horribly simplistic and patronising .
Cody is written and played as a plaster saint -handsome ,deeply moral and a spokesman for the cause of the Native American and one who earns their respect by defeating their war chief in hand to hand combat.The first half while inaccurate has vigour and pace and is entertaining enough but interest sags when Cody leaves the West for Washington and thence to a career as a world travelled circus proprietor
Macrae does a decent job in the title role bringing a quiet gravity to scenes showing the character being reduced to a humiliating side show attraction astride a rocking horse before his return to fame and fortune .There is a customarilly peppy performance from the great Maureen O'Hara and a zestful cameo by Thomas Mitchell as the ebullient Buntline ,Cody's chronicler .
Not to be taken seriously as history but a decent if dated movie shot in lustrous colour and which should please lovers of the Western"
Thomas Magalhaes | Bloomfield, New Jersey United States | 09/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"its a well done movie, good entertainment,Joel McCrea's a good actor, and I can't think of him doing a bad movie"