MOVIE REVIEWS

Broken Arrow (1950)

ADD TO MY FAVORITES
7/10 NR 01 hr 33 min

July 21, 1950

Share your thoughts. We appreciate it!

By John Chard February 22, 2017

To talk of peace is not hard. To live it is very hard.

As the war rages between the American settlers and the Apache, former soldier Tom Jeffords happens upon a young Indian wounded after an attack. Taking upon himself to aid the boy, it's not long before the Apache show up intent on killing Jeffords by way of the war instincts. Pleading for Jeffords' life, the boy manages to get him spared by the Apache chief, Cochise. It's the start of a friendship that may just bring and end to the war and peace across the west.

Tho not the first "social" Western film made, Broken Arrow, it can be argued, is maybe one of the most important and telling genre films of the 50s. Showing humanist portrayals of the Apache and dealing out level headed tellings of the relationships between whites and the Native Americans, Delmer Daves' film is as relevant today as it was back on release. Adapted from Elliott Arnold's novel Blood Brother, the story follows Jeffords (a measured and fine James Stewart) as he attempts to broker peace between the warring factions. Firstly by convincing Cochise (Jeff Chandler bang on form) to allow the mail run thru the pass, something that brings suspicion and calls of Indian lover from Jeffords' own kind, and then to finally set up a peace pact at a time when violence and hatred was rife in the west.

As the friendship between the two men grows, Jeffords and an Apache girl fall in love (beautiful Debra Paget as Sonseeahray), thus giving the story a further jolt of momentum. The screenplay then really hits its stride, as Daves and his crew pit peace and inter racial love against a backdrop of bloodshed and savagery. Never glossing over just how hard peace is going to be, Broken Arrow retains intelligence and a sensitivity even as breakaway factions from both sides (for example we see Geronimo split the Apache and form a renegade front) are intent on killing off the peace process. It even has time for deep emotional kickers to reinforce the point of just how tough and unlikely peace and tolerance can be sometimes.

Broken Arrow was, and still is, a bold picture. In fact it can be argued that for the likes of Daves and Stewart, it was at the time very bold and risky career moves. But it paid off because the film stands up today as a picture of some distinction. It's themes and approach to its subjects are something that this generation, and all the future ones, will always find to be socially important. Boosted by Hugo Friedhofer's luscious score and taking advantage of the Lone Pine location shoot, Broken Arrow is a fine fine film that even non Western fans should be looking to absorb. 8/10

'Only the Brave' - The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots falls short of a heroic tribute

'Only the Brave' - The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots falls short of a heroic tribute

October 19, 2017

Josh Brolin plays Eric Marsh in the woefully inadequate firefighter tribute '...

The Foreigner – A Deep Action Film

The Foreigner – A Deep Action Film

October 19, 2017

Jackie Chan still has it and you definitely don’t want to push him too far.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women – A Slow Biopic

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women – A Slow Biopic

October 19, 2017

Now here’s a story that you probably haven’t heard of. At least I haven’t. Ev...

HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017) REVIEW

HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017) REVIEW

October 18, 2017

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! SO, I DON’T HAVE TO PICK UP THE PHONE!!!

Best new movies to see this month

Best new movies to see this month

October 17, 2017

Looking to see the best movies this month? Read Critic Reviews, Contributor R...

What Movie Should I Watch This Weekend?

What Movie Should I Watch This Weekend?

October 16, 2017

Looking for a movie to watch this weekend? Blade Runner 2049, Geostorm, Snowm...

Happy Death Day Review

Happy Death Day Review

October 16, 2017

From Blumhouse Pictures and the minds behind the Paranormal Activity franchis...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – A Smart Dysfunctional Family Dramedy

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – A Smart Dysfunctional Family Dramedy

October 14, 2017

Netflix has been hitting it out of the park this year with their original fil...