The Unforgiven

Overview

One of Hollywood's most famous and acclaimed directors, John Huston guides this western with an unerring hand -- the cast of notable stars is no drawback either. Setting up the story with a series of suspenseful scenes, Huston has a mysterious stranger on horseback come into a small community in the Texas Panhandle and then proceed to cause a mini-war. The time is the mid-19th century and there is already antagonism between the white settlers in the community and the local Kiowa Indian nation. The Zachary family ...
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Overview

One of Hollywood's most famous and acclaimed directors, John Huston guides this western with an unerring hand -- the cast of notable stars is no drawback either. Setting up the story with a series of suspenseful scenes, Huston has a mysterious stranger on horseback come into a small community in the Texas Panhandle and then proceed to cause a mini-war. The time is the mid-19th century and there is already antagonism between the white settlers in the community and the local Kiowa Indian nation. The Zachary family is at the crux of the trouble. Matilda Lillian Gish is the matriarch who holds a family secret -- her adopted daughter Rachel Audrey Hepburn is actually a Kiowa child. There are three brothers in the Zachary family, and one of them, Ben Burt Lancaster is obviously in love with Rachel. Another, Cash Audie Murphy hates Native Americans, while the youngest Doug McClure is there to defend the family when they need it. The stranger on horseback has done the unthinkable, he has made it widely known that Rachel is a Kiowa -- and then the battles begin.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
John Huston's The Unforgiven is essentially John Ford's The Searchers with the plot reversed -- instead of a white family seeking to recover a young member kidnapped by Native Americans, it tells of Native Americans trying to get back a member of their tribe, taken and adopted years earlier by a white family. The parallels are no accident, since both films were based on books by the same author, Alan LeMay, and the similarities don't end there. Both movies tell tales of families seeking to restore their wholeness or to protect it, led by defiant quasi-outsiders who are fully capable of violating any law, social bond, or moral taboo in defense of those families. Burt Lancaster's Ben Zachary is one of the actor's towering portrayals and a bracing performance, as a bold, powerful, lusty male presence, almost the embodiment of the gradually civilized frontier -- Audie Murphy gives a similarly impressive performance in one of his most difficult roles, as the embittered, racist brother of the would-be hero, torn between the love of his family and his disgust for the Kiowa and anything to do with them; and Doug McClure, at the outset of his career, gives one of the best portrayals of his career as the callow youngest Zachary son, a wild but good-natured boy who could go the way of either of his two brothers. Played against them is Audrey Hepburn's Rachel, who is like a frontier version of Cathy from Wuthering Heights, irresistable in her portrayal of a vibrant, coltishly innocent girl blossoming into womanhood. Those performances are enhanced by the boldness of the overall shoot, which contains barely a false note anywhere in its 121 minutes. Huston brought the same verisimilitude to The Unforgiven, including the dust storm, the vast open spaces with their promise and threat, and the siege of the homestead, that he utilized in movies like The African Queen and The Roots Of Heaven. The overall effect is a spellbinding western drama, filled with boldly constructed shots, powerful, charismatic performances, and spread along a beautifully devised story arc, embodying the mythos of the west and such fiercely topical issues as racism. And binding the whole package together in the actual viewing was Dimitri Tiomkin's score, perhaps the most passionate and romantic of his career, recalling elements of Duel In The Sun but possessing greater sophistication.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/12/2014
  • UPC: 738329136024
  • Original Release: 1960
  • Rating:

  • Source: Kl Studio Classics
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:05:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 9,197

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Burt Lancaster Ben Zachary
Audrey Hepburn Rachel Zachary
Audie Murphy Cash Zachary
John Saxon Johnny Portugal
Charles Bickford Zeb Rawlins
Lillian Gish Matilda Zachary
Albert Salmi Charlie Rawlins
Joseph Wiseman Abe Kelsey
June Walker Hagar Rawlins
Kipp Hamilton Georgia Rawlins
Arnold Merritt Jude Rawlins
Carlos Rivas Lost Bird
Doug McClure Andy Zachary
Technical Credits
John Huston Director
Stephen B. Grimes Art Director
James Hill Producer
Russell Lloyd Editor
Ben Maddow Screenwriter
Frank McCoy Makeup
Franz Planer Cinematographer
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
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