23 August 2011 | jhkp
solid western entertainment
This is the kind of western that was turned out often, to satisfy the many fans of outdoor films, back in the day, and is not to be confused with the big ones. It's just a regular, everyday western, but with good acting, Technicolor, the solid direction of George Sherman, and a fine screenplay by the effective John Michael Hayes (of Hitchcock fame), it delivers enjoyable entertainment for the length of its running time, and should keep you hooked until the action-packed ending.
The premise is an interesting one, and the relationships of the characters - especially Chandler's with his commanding officer, John MacIntyre, and his sweetheart, Maureen O'Hara, are more interesting than in the usual standard western.
Also interesting is the way Chandler, as an Army officer, tends not so much to defy authority as to ignore it, when it doesn't suit his (and what he perceives as the Government's) purpose.
I thought Chandler and O'Hara were excellent leads, with good chemistry - with MacIntyre, Charles Drake, Noah Beery, Jr., and (cast as Indians) Suzan Ball, Henry Brandon, and Dennis Weaver extremely effective, as well.
A drawback was that some of the dialogue was difficult to pick up (though that could have to do with the DVD transfer, not the film itself), and the denouement was kind of sudden and the ending rushed.
And, as usual with some of these films, the whole thing seems a little bit modern, with well-lit (supposedly by candlelight and oil lamps), perfectly decorated rooms at the fort (plenty of fresh flowers everywhere) - and Miss Ball in a dress she supposedly constructed herself - her first try at dressmaking - which fits her as if it was executed by Universal's dressmakers (it was). But you have to figure they did their best on a typical budget and with the usual time constraints. Their best is pretty good.
The action is good, the story is interesting, the relationships are well-developed, and the plot keeps you guessing. So I recommend this film, for western fans.