4 November 2003 | Theo Robertson
They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore
Apologies for the clichéd summary above but this is a great adventure from the good old days of Hollywood . The story is very simple : Map maker Langdon Towne finds himself in a spot of bother and in a slightly unlikely turn of events is drafted into Rogers rangers who are on a mission to attack a hostile red skin stronghold . Hardly a radical plot but director King Vidor and screenwriter Talbot Jennings craft a very good film that only Hollywood in its hay day could produce .
It's not only a great adventure but a technically brilliant film for its time. Check out the wonderful cinematography where the primary colours are at the fore , rather similar to the colours used in GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ . Make up your own mind how successful the colouring is but I found it absolutely beautiful . There's also a show stopping scene where the camera follows the line of sight of a ranger taking aim at a red skin . Wonderful cinematography
There are one or two flaws though . One is that not only are some of the characters too old to be elite fighting men but they seem too old to still be alive . Honestly how old did people live to in the mid 18th century ? The rangers themselves are written as being a good bunch o blokes but I found them just a little too good to be true while no doubt the thought police will complain about the native Americans being portrayed as a bunch of blood thirsty savages , but this was made before revisionary westerns like the overrated DANCES WITH WOLVES and before Marlon Brando sent native Americans to collect Oscars , but at least King Vidor has cast real natives in the part of Indians and hasn't dressed up a bunch of white guys pretending to be injuns
Good Hollywood movie featuring the rangers . Probably brought more recruits to the regiment than SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BLACK HAWK DOWN put together