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USA 1955
Directed by
André De Toth
88 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Indian Fighter

Starring and produced by Kirk Douglas who takes the lead role as a scout leading a wagon train through hostile Indian country, this well-meaning but ho-hum Cinemascope Western based on a story by Ben Kadish and co-scripted by Frank Davis and Ben Hecht makes a stab, so to speak, at showing the sorry history of relations between Native American Indian and white settlers. Like a historical painting in which the canvas is too big for the subject the film fails dramatically (most of it is shot from mid-to-long range) whilst the attempt to sympathize with the Indian situation is given a typically 50s sanitization by the casting of Elsa Martinelli as the Indian chief's daughter, object of Douglas’s amorous attentions, not to mention the latter’s pearly white heroics.

From today’s perspective the film is is more successful in portraying the Indian’s harmony with nature and their environmentally-sustainable value-system in contrast to the white man's purblind ways, not that that had any great effect but for its day it was something.

 

 

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