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Apache (1954)


Diversity is a troublesome moniker as yet – Robert Putnam concealed the results of his study for years for fear of alienating his leftist paymasters:  it doesn’t work, communities fail, charity nosedives and people don’t thrive. Effectively, we all do better amongst our own. (It’s not rocket science, bub.) In terms of how Indians were dealt with as a cinematic phenomenon it was tackled afresh and quite radically in a series of Fifties westerns – how to reconcile opposing cultures on the same piece of land. Geronimo surrenders and one of his braves Massai (blue-eyed Burt Lancaster) would prefer to be given an honourable death rather than carry on as a whupped Indian living between two distinctly different worlds.He goes on the run from a prison train with Nalinle (Jean Peters) and battles it out with his own as well as the Army. The original ending to the screenplay adapted by James R. Webb from Paul Wellman’s novel was too tough even under the direction of legendary Robert Aldrich – Massai is shot in the back by federal troops. So a more uplifting lie was created, what we call a Hollywood Ending. Sometimes the truth is just a plain picture. With a notable performance by John McIntire and an early appearance by Charles Bronson (Buchinsky), Lancaster produced with Harold Hecht. Not for the PC crowd.


About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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