Wednesday, March 18, 2015

War Arrow Review

War Arrow (1953)
Dir. George Sherman
Starring: Jeff Chandler, Maureen O’Hara, Henry Brandon, John McIntire

A major and a pair of officers are sent to Indian Territory to recruit some Seminoles to fight the Kiowa tribe that has been striking the area.

This film has an interesting premise, about a couple of white soldiers enlisting some peaceful Indians to fight a larger Indian threat, but it fails to deliver on its potential. After establishing the plot and characters, the movie sets in to a routine of showing the group of heroes setting up traps for the Kiowas and fighting with them, and it got a bit repetitive. The movie will introduce something interesting, like prejudice towards the Indians or Avis seeming interested in Brady romantically, then ignore it and maybe bring it up later. The movie fills like it was written in a stream of consciousness where things would get brought up and forgotten until the writer suddenly remembered that plot point and randomly shoehorned a reference to it into a scene.  Personally I would of like to of seen a little more of the Seminoles dealing with the prejudices of the Colonel Meade and the other people of the fort.

Jeff Chandler is good in the role as Brady, and Maureen O’Hara is good at what she is asked to do, but Suzan Ball is great as Avis, the daughter of the leader of the Seminoles. The character is strong willed and proactive, and comes across as more interesting than O’Hara’s Elaine, who just wants out of the west and back to a city. One of the things that bothered me about the movie is that she and Brady spent most of the movie flirting only for her to end up with Pico (Dennis Weaver) one of the Seminoles that made an offhand remark about her romantically at the start of the film. It is kind of sad that the two best actors in the movie, Chandler and Ball unfortunately died shortly after the release of this film, and that Suzan Ball is more known as being Lucile Ball’s cousin than for her own work, which is sad since her life after this film has some interesting bits involving cancer and the loss of a leg.

It’s not a bad film (even though O’Hara was dismissive of the films she made with Chandler), but it isn’t great. It gets a little repetitive in the middle, but the short running time made it not too big of an issue. It’s a decent B western.

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