Academy Award winners Henry Fonda and John Wayne star an epic of clashing wills, pointless heroism and deadly arrogance as a band of American cavalrymen fight to hold the Western outpost Fort Apache. Arizona Territory. Following the United States' Civil War, decorated Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday (Fonda) resents his transfer to the desolate frontier. He strives to impose strict military discipline on the ragged troops stationed under his command and plans to violently subdue the Native Americans he views as savage and unruly. Thursday is opposed by seasoned Western fighter Captain Kirby York (Wayne), who believes the army should be making peace with the local tribes. York is proven correct when Thursday leads his troops into a slaughter at the hands of the legendary Apache leader Cochise.]]>
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What makes this film great are Fonda and Wayne, both playing roles opposite to their norm. Fonda is wonderfully arrogant and yet vulnerable at the same time. Wayne is humble and second fiddle for a change, he comes off well being the wiser, disgruntled subordinate. What really makes this film is the scenry an production quality. John Ford was painstakingly accurate with unifroms, equippment and gear. He provides a believeable image of army life, with all its pettiness and sense of honor. Everything is accurate down to the various bugle calls and the troop commands issued to the men. While there are obvious comparisons to Custer, what makes this film interesting is the sheer study of military incompetence. Fonda's character is desperate to make a name for himself, and he sacrefices his command in order to do so. The battle scenes are exciting to watch, even the old fashion carriage chase with the Indians running about is well done. In the end what is the message of this film? There probably isn't any exactly. Fonda's character creates a military disaster, pure and simple, yet we see that Wayne is willing to carry on this legacy of heroism to inspire the regiment in its continued campaigns against the hostiles. Here we see how myths are made from the most unlikely sources. A fine film all around, and probably the best of Ford's cavalry epics.
Henry Fonda plays a Custer-like Colonel who has seen his career's meteoric rise during the Civil War end with peacetime and an assignment to a frontier outpost. He resents this, and looks for an opportunity to earn fame and glory. He finds this opportunity at the expense of the Apaches who have left their reservation for good reasons. If he can defeat the Apaches then his career will certainly be boosted. Fonda's Colonel Thursday is a brave and competent officer, who does recognize some of the injustice and indignity that the reservation system has imposed upon the Apaches, but his lust for glory blinds him to everything in the end.
John Wayne plays the competent, experienced second in command who clashes repeatedly with his superior. The film also features a love interest between a grown-up Shirley Temple and her then real-life husband John Agar. Being a Ford movie there is plenty of comic relief from various Irish NCO's, and romanticized vignettes of frontier cavalry life.
I won't dwell on the film as its the Blu ray I'm reviewing here!
First the transfer:
The transfer is excellent, rich blacks and monument valley looks stunning on a big screen TV: the best the film has ever looked. A worthy updated on the DVD which was pretty washed out.
Nothing to write home about but it's clear and not full of hiss.
A great documentary on John Ford and filming in Monument Valley which includes Fort Apache.
We could always do with more extras and behind the scenes but, all in all, as good a Blu ray release of a true classic as you could wish for.
The conflict element central to this entire story is introduced very quickly when we see Col. Owen Thursday (Henry Fonda), reluctantly arriving at Fort Apache to take up command of this outpost against his will. He has with him his young daughter Philadelphia (Shirley Temple), and almost before he is settled into his new home he comes into opposition with the local Captain York (John Wayne). York has extensive knowledge of the region and by his fairness and respectful dealings has earned the trust of the Indian population on the reservation however he immediately clashes with the unbending and unrealistic views that Col.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed all these movies tremendously I plan on buying more but I'm on a fixed incomePublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
I'm a HUGE John Wayn fan. This is one of my Many Favorite movies of his. Very good Quality movie. I orded more of his Movies to add to my Collection... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Robyn
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