Saturday, February 13, 2010
Fort Apache (1948)
The first of John Ford's Cavalry trilogy and a great film. Big-hearted, funny, and ultimately bleak. John Wayne is very good as Captain York, taking a back-seat to Henry Fonda's portrayal of Colonel Thursday, the bigoted, dangerous leader of a regiment in Apache territory. A dark-haired teenage Shirley Temple plays Fonda's flirty, determined daughter. Like most of John Ford's films, I am most taken with the supporting cast, the colorful, eccentric characters with which Ford fills out his Western civilizations. In this film, Victor McLaglen steals the movie as a mischievous drunken soldier.