22 August 2010 | Michael_Elliott
Worth Watching for the Ending
Conquest of Cochise (1953)
** (out of 4)
Another Castle Western from Columbia certainly sticks to its "B" origins but there are a few interesting ideas that make it worth sitting through, although no one should expect a classic. Set in 1953 Arizona, Maj. Tom Burke (Robert Stack) wants to avoid a war between whites and Indians but a greedy Mexican wants both sides to fight and kill each other off. Indian Cochise (John Hodiak), on the other hand, wants peace but his people begin to pressure him into fighting this war. This film certainly doesn't have enough going for it to recommend to all people but I think those who enjoy "B" Westerns might find enough entertainment in its 70-minutes to make it worth watching. The film has way too much talk during the early parts but the final fifteen-minutes really pick up and end up packing a very strong punch. We start off when Cochise is sentenced to three tortures with one being bathed in hot steam and another impressive sequence where he's tied to a pole while the other Indians ride their horses up to him and slice him up with knives. This sequence doesn't contain anything too graphic but the editing and way it was directed makes it quite effective. We fall this up with a big battle scene that has the expected gunshots, bodies falling and of course the wild horse chases. Director Castle is best known for his horror films and most of them were in B&W but these early Westerns he did at Columbia gives you the chance to see him work in color and he certainly takes advantage of it. This movie looks like a coloring book because of all the vivid colors that are constantly on display. Whenever a set is on display it's got as many colors as they could possibly put in and this is a plus as there's always something to look at. Stack is pretty good in his role as I enjoyed the laid back approach he brought the character. It seems like the majority of the budget went to painting Hodiak red but he too is good in the role and gives it a certain passion that you can feel. The rest of the cast are pretty much what you'd expect in a film like this in terms of performances and character. Sam Katzman served as producer so that should pretty much tell you everything you'd need to know. Again, there's nothing overly special here but the final fifteen-minutes are well worth watching.