Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow

4.0 2
Director: Delmer Daves

Cast: Delmer Daves, James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget

     
 

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Indian scout Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) is sent out to stem the war between the Whites and Apaches in the late 1870s. He learns (through an uncomfortably close encounter) that the Indians kill only to protect themselves, or out of retaliation for white atrocities. Befriending the sagacious Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), Jeffords ensures safe passage for… See more details below

Overview

Indian scout Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) is sent out to stem the war between the Whites and Apaches in the late 1870s. He learns (through an uncomfortably close encounter) that the Indians kill only to protect themselves, or out of retaliation for white atrocities. Befriending the sagacious Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), Jeffords ensures safe passage for white mail-carriers through Indian territory. As he becomes closer to his Native American "brothers," Jeffords falls in love with and weds a pretty Apache girl (Debra Paget). This being a 1950 film (miscegenation was frowned upon by the Production Code), you can guess what happens to her. Jeffords wants to avenge his bride's death at the hands of white renegades, but it is the so-called "savage" Cochise who advises him not to. Having learned much from each other, Jeffords and Cochise symbolize the white/Indian detente with the traditional broken arrow. This superb, non-condescending film has been criticized in some circles because of the alleged depiction of Cochise as an Indian "Uncle Tom," and because actor Jeff Chandler was not a genuine Native American. Nonetheless, Broken Arrow stands the test of time far more successfully than the later, politically correct Dances with Wolves. In 1956, Broken Arrow was adapted into a TV series starring John Lupton as Jeffords and Michael Ansara as Cochise.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Broken Arrow is a good Western, but it's more important historically as one of the early films to attempt a more balanced view of native Americans on film. Seen today, it seems a bit naïve and some of the efforts at fairness come off as heavy-handed, but all in all the basic story and the production are strong enough to offset this. And it's quite impressive to see a film from 1950 in which a white man marries a non-white woman, even if the mores of the time did insist that the marriage had to end tragically. Some will also object to the fact that the leading native American roles are played by white actors, another standard practice at the time. At the time, Jeff Chandler's Cochise was highly praised, with the actor even winning an Academy Award nomination. Today, his performance is less impressive, although this is more due to the stilted characterization demanded of the script than by flaws in Chandler's performance. As might be expected, however, it is James Stewart's performance that really is the one to watch. Freed from the demands placed upon Chandler to represent the nobility of an entire race, Stewart is free to create a living, breathing, thinking, feeling individual, and he does this with the rare grace and talent that is the hallmark of his best work. Delmer Daves directs with a careful hand, and his handling of the action sequences is noteworthy.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/1998
UPC:
0086162131035
Original Release:
1950
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart Tom Jeffords
Jeff Chandler Cochise
Debra Paget Sonseeahray
Basil Ruysdael Gen. Howard
Will Geer Ben Slade
Joyce MacKenzie Terry
Arthur Hunnicutt Duffield
Raymond Bramley Col. Bernall
Jay Silverheels Goklia
Argentina Brunetti Nalikadeya
Robert Adler Lonergan
Harry Carter Miner
Robert Griffin Lowrie
Billy Wilkerson Juan
Mickey Kuhn Chip Slade
J.W. Cody Pionsenay
John War Eagle Nahilzay
Charles Soldani Skinyea
Iron Eyes Cody Teese
Edwin Rand Sergeant
John Doucette Mule Driver
Trevor Bardette Stage Passenger
Chris Willow Bird Nochalo
Nacho Galindo Barber
Jack Lee Bocher
John Marston Maury

Technical Credits
Delmer Daves Director
Michael Blankfort Screenwriter
Julian Blaustein Producer
Bernard Freericks Sound/Sound Designer
Hugo W. Friedhofer Score Composer
Arthur Hogsett Art Director
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry M. Leonard Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Albert Maltz Screenwriter
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Ben Nye Makeup
Ernest Palmer Cinematographer
Fred J. Rode Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
J. Watson Webb Editor
Lyle Wheeler Art Director

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