The Big Sky (1952)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Western


The Big Sky (1952) Poster

The success of the journey focuses on keeping the Indian girl alive as well as themselves to complete trade with the Blackfeet.


7/10
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Photos

  • Kirk Douglas in The Big Sky (1952)
  • Elizabeth Threatt in The Big Sky (1952)
  • Elizabeth Threatt in The Big Sky (1952)
  • Kirk Douglas, Arthur Hunnicutt, Dewey Martin, and Elizabeth Threatt in The Big Sky (1952)
  • Kirk Douglas, Buddy Baer, Steven Geray, Arthur Hunnicutt, Dewey Martin, and Elizabeth Threatt in The Big Sky (1952)
  • Kirk Douglas, Iron Eyes Cody, Arthur Hunnicutt, Dewey Martin, William Wilkerson, and Theodore Last Star in The Big Sky (1952)

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6 August 2007 | bkoganbing
9
| All That's Missing is Color
One of my favorite Kirk Douglas films is The Big Sky where he plays mountain man/trapper Jim Deakins. It's a great part for Douglas with his incredible charm and quick burn when someone does him wrong.

The Big Sky was RKO Pictures big production for 1952. I'd like to say that Howard Hughes spared no expense in making this film, shooting a good deal of it in the Grand Tetons, the actual location for the adventures of many fur trappers. But for the life of me I don't understand why Hughes and RKO after doing that, didn't spring for color.

Possibly because director Howard Hawks wanted black and white. His last epic film Red River had done well in black and white. Still I really think something was missed. RKO did use color on films with a lot less budget.

There's a lot of similarity between The Big Sky and Red River. Both films involve a group of men on an epic journey into the unknown for business reasons. In Red River, John Wayne has to get that huge herd to market and has to use a trail few have used. In The Big Sky a group of independent trappers basically want to land a nice fur contract with the Blackfeet Indians where few whites have gone up the Missouri River. Going against them is a fur trading consortium kind of like the one John Jacob Astor put together.

The trappers are mostly French Canadian Metis headed by Steven Geray, but also along is Arthur Hunnicutt who speaks the Indian language. Their ace in the hole is Elizabeth Threatt, a Blackfoot princess the trappers have rescued and are bringing back to her people in the hopes that her old man will be grateful. Hunnicutt is also the narrator of the film.

Douglas and Dewey Martin join up with the group in St. Louis and the trappers have the usual adventures as they take the flatboat up into the Missouri River country. The scenes showing journey upriver are nicely photographed.

Two others in the cast merit attention. Hank Worden does a nice job as a lost Blackfoot Indian who the trappers pick up. He may not be playing with a full deck, but he does come in handy. Jim Davis is one lean and mean villain as the company troubleshooter who wants to keep the independents out.

Arthur Hunnicutt got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role, The Big Sky proved to be his career film. Unfortunately he lost to Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata. Still Hunnicutt's folksy charm was always something to look forward to in any film he was ever in.

The Big Sky is one of the best films ever done about the mountain man era of the American frontier. If they'd only spent for color.

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Drama | Western

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