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.

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