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  • Watched this film on TV. Maureen O' Hara & Jeff Chandler are the stars here, in this otherwise average western. He's a cavalry major who over- rides the opposition of fort commander John McIntire and recruits friendly native American Seminoles to help defeat hostile Kiowas.

    O'Hara plays a fiery wife of a captain who's gone missing and she's a hot shot with a rifle and doesn't mind laying a charge of dynamite, if need be. She's radiant as ever but Chandler looks a bit wooden (generally for me as an actor).

    The end shoot out against the Indians is a spirited and action-packed one and nearly makes up for an otherwise rather disappointing, slightly boring film. The direction, by George Sherman, is adequate but little more and whilst it's in Technicolor, it doesn't look as glorious as it should.

    One for serious fans of westerns, otherwise, probably not.
  • In War Arrow, Major Jeff Chandler is sent west with two trusty sergeant sidekicks, Charles Drake and Noah Beery, Jr., to implement some ideas of his own about fighting the Kiowas. His answer is to recruit some reservation Seminoles as a fighting force against the Kiowa. Seems as though the Kiowas like to raid their villages as a warm up before attacking whites and the Seminoles have no weapons to resist.

    These Kiowas led by Henry Brandon are devilishly tricky lot, almost as if they are led by someone who studied army military tactics. Turns out they are.

    In her memoirs Maureen O'Hara dismisses both of her films with Jeff Chandler, this film and Flame of Araby which makes this one look good. She said he was a nice man, but they had no chemistry together at all. Chandler probably was not terribly interested in the project, he was just beginning to fight for better roles than the action programmers he was doing under his Universal contract.

    Chandler is operating independently out of the fort commanded by John McIntire. Of course McIntire is obtuse and jealous because Chandler is romancing O'Hara who he has eyes for. Forgetting the jealousy angle, McIntire has every right to be put out about Chandler operating independently. The army chain of command is a sacred thing and any commander worth his salt wouldn't put up with it.

    Of course why the Seminoles would possibly want to go to war on behalf of the white man against other Indians is not satisfactorily explained, even with the Kiowas. It certainly would seem far more likely to team up with the Kiowas.

    On the plus side, War Arrow has some nice battle scenes, especially the climatic battle when the Kiowas come real close to capturing McIntire's fort. It also has some nice performances by Dennis Weaver and Suzan Ball playing Seminole lovers.

    But it sure won't be ranked as one of the great cinema westerns.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "War Arrow" opens with major Jeff Chandler arriving at Fort Clark, Texas, and discovering that Colonel John McIntire openly opposes the government endorsed plan to make use of displaced Seminole Indians to stop the bloody Kiowa uprising on soldiers and settlers...

    In fact, the only person at the fort who is friendly to Chandler is Maureen O'Hara, the attractive widow of Captain James Bannon...

    All the action leads to a tidy end: Chandler discovers Bannon is very much alive (at least at the climax of the movie) and is really the renegade white chief of the Kiowas...

    In the small assigned action-packed moments in this slight entrance, the pillaging Kiowas are totally controlled... For a rare change Maureen had some harsh competition in the fascinating department, which was supplied by Suzan Ball as the passionately sensual daughter of the Seminole chief...

    The film is more of an excuse to show that excellent guys, always end up with excellent girls—even when the best guy resists authority and tries to match one tribe of Indians against another... All right! But not very imaginative... don't you think?
  • War Arrow is directed by George Sherman and written by John Michael Hayes. It stars Jeff Chandler, Maureen O'Hara, Suzan Ball, Noah Beery, Charles Drake, John McIntire and Henry Brandon. A Technicolor production with exterior location work at Agoura, California, it features cinematography by William Daniels and music by Joseph Gershenson. Story is based on real events and sees Chandler as Cavalry officer Major Howell Brady, who is dispatched by Washington to end the Kiowa Indian uprising in Texas. But his mission is made doubly difficult by the obstinate commander of the post Colonel Meade (McIntire), and his feelings towards Elaine Corwin (O'Hara), whose officer husband disappeared after a scouting mission.

    Brady's Bunch

    A pleasant surprise, although mired in the formula than ran through many a B Western that featured Cavalry and Indians, War Arrow packs an intelligent punch and features acting to match. The strength in the narrative comes from Brady's coercing of the peaceful Seminole Indians to fight alongside the white man against the rampaging Kiowa. Having had to flee their Florida homes, the Seminole are willing to be trained by Brady and his crew on the promise of land and supplies from the government. With Brady meeting resistance from stuffy Colonel Meade, these promises are on shaky ground, but the training sequences are most interesting for their tactical value and the Seminole are nicely drawn as a race of people. The latter of which, unsurprisingly, is not afforded the Kiowa who are rank and file blood thirsty marauders, but the balance is right, and with the Henry Repeating Rifle the weapon of choice, the action and stunt work, particularly for the siege on the fort finale, is high on excitement.

    They say that a wild plant doesn't live too long indoors

    Into the mix is a romantic triangle, which isn't overplayed and creates a number of jealousies from both male and female characters. Either side of Brady is Elaine and Avis (Ball), with curmudgeon Meade pacing the edges of the triangle. Also enjoyable is the light relief that comes from the Sergeants played by Beery (Red River/Decision at Sundown) and Drake (Winchester '73/No Name on the Bullet), who are both excellent. Chandler offers up a big presence, while turning in one of his more committed Western performances, and O'Hara brings the class while Ball brings the smoulder. McIntire is suitably mean yet still giving Meade an elegant officious quality, and Brandon turns in a good one too. In named back up support are Dennis Weaver and Jay Silverheels. Daniels' (The Far Country/Night Passage) Agoura exteriors are pleasing, though the print of the film isn't doing it justice, and the prolific Gershenson (the go-to guy for Cavalry Vs Indians flavouring) scores it in standard, but easy listening, thematic beats.

    With Sherman's (Chief Crazy Horse/Big Jake) direction unfussy, War Arrow, in spite of mixed reviews on the internet, is a B Western I personally recommend to like minded Western fans. 7.5/10
  • 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.
  • Cavalry officer Jeff Chandler trains a peaceful tribe of displaced Seminoles to fight against a warring tribe of Kiowa, while at the same time butting heads with stubborn commanding officer John McIntire and romancing pretty "widow" Maureen O'Hara, who's husband may or may not still be alive as the leader of the renegades.

    This B-western has some okay, but short and clumsy action scenes. The plot is a bit far-fetched and the romance seems a little contrived, with O'Hara and Chandler having very little chemistry.

    Still, it's not boring. War Arrow is fast-paced enough, with a compact running time.

    As the Seminole chief's daughter, Suzan Ball is very beautiful (even more so than Maureen O'Hara!), even if her character is rather unlikable. On the other hand, Noah Beery Jr. is an always likable comic foil.
  • The premise of this film is based on fact. During the Indian Wars of the late 1800s, the U.S. government hired Seminole Indians from Florida to help fight the Kiowa Indians of the Southwest. Using one group of Indians to fight another wasn't new even back then--it was, after all, how the Army finally managed to subdue the Apaches--and it would make a good film, but this one isn't it. Director George Sherman was an old hand at making westerns, having churned out dozens of them during his days at Republic, and Jeff Chandler and Maureen O'Hara had done more than their share of them. They all had an off-day here. Whatever failings Sherman's westerns may have had, he at least knew how to keep them moving. This one just pretty much sits there and nothing really happens. There are a few action scenes spread throughout the picture, and a fairly big one--an attack on a fort--at the end, but they are for the most part pretty listless affairs, lacking the energy that Sherman usually brought to them. O'Hara for some reason looks out of place here, and I can't quite put my finger on why she does, but she does. On the other hand, Suzan Ball is smokin' as a sexy Indian girl, so maybe that's why O'Hara looks uncomfortable. In any event, this is pretty much a below-average effort from all concerned. Henry Brandon, who did such a good job later on playing the evil Scar in "The Searchers," doesn't acquit himself nearly as well here--not that he's given all that much to work with--as a Seminole warrior, and Dennis Weaver is about the most un-Seminole-looking Seminole there is, with his bony frame, prominent nose and Missouri accent. Everyone involved with this had done better work previously, and would do better work later. You'd be better off watching any of those efforts than this one.
  • This picture has the novel approach of the U.S. cavalry enlisting peaceful Seminoles to help them fight warring Kiowas on the southern plains. The Seminoles, now farmers instead of fierce warriors, are trained by Jeff Chandler's troopers in military tactics to stand up to the Kiowa raiders. Problems abound during the experiment, mainly distrust among the army brass who scoff at the fighting ability of the Seminoles and tensions at the outpost escalate to the point of mutiny. Chandler is solid throughout the picture and is well paired with Maureen O'Hara as he romances the pretty widow. The supporting cast is good, especially John McIntire and Hanry Brandon. Suzan Ball does well as an Indian maiden and seemed to do her best work in this type of role. The film takes its time with character development and is rather uneven, with the main action taking place near the end of the film.
  • This Cavalry vs. Indians Western deals with Major Howell Brady (Jeff Chandler) supported by two colleagues (Charles Drake , Noah Beery Jr.) are sent by Washington to end the Kiowa uprisings in Indian territory . As they are assigned to go to Texas and recruit peaceful tribes Seminoles relocated from Florida to aid the army in bitter fighting the savage and hated Kiowas . As US cavalry and Indian tomahawk (led by Maygro : Henry Brandon who starred the unforgettable Indian ¨Scar¨ in ¨The Searchers¨) , though initially hostile , they subsequently join army and saber fighting side-by-side for the glory of the West . Nevertheless , Col. Jackson Meade (John McIntire) is reluctant to this unusual alliance and distrusts having Indians as allies . Then , Brady leads his regiment on a wild chase across the plains and hills in this saga of the old west . Brady and his US cavalry squares off rampaging Kiowas commanded by Satanta who refuses to surrender himself . Along the way Brady tries to win the heart of a widow who married a Confederate officer whose body was never found , and may still be alive .

    This moving movie is an epic portrait of the historic story about celebrated Indians Seminola and Tomahawk against the Kiowas . The picture gets Western action , shootouts , a love story , breathtaking raids on a Yankee fort and results to be quite entertaining . It's a medium budget film with good actors , technicians , production values and pleasing results . At the ending , when takes place the Indian assault , possesses all the sweep , grandeur and noisy action of the greatest Westerns of an age long past . Nice acting from a great cast . As Jeff Chandler is good as Army Major Brady who attempts to vanquish Kiowas and to keep the peace between US cavalry and Indians . Chandler gives stature to the role , providing sincerity and bravura . Chandler was famous , until his early death , for playing Indian chief Cochise , a dignified portrait well shown in : ¨Broken arrow¨ , ¨Battle of Apache Pass¨ and ¨Taza , son of Cochise¨ . Although Chandler also played all kinds of genres , such as : ¨Return to Peyton Place¨(drama) , ¨Flame of Araby¨ (adventure) , ¨Merrill's marauders¨ (wartime , in his last film) , until his early death at 42-year-old . Mauren O'Hara as gorgeous and pleasant widow Elaine Corwin , proves to be a great actress , as usual . And other wonderful woman , Suzan Ball as Indian Avis , who also died early at 21 by cancer , being these ¨War arrow¨ and ¨Chief Crazy Horse¨ both of them directed by George Sherman , his last films . And support cast is frankly excellent , such as : Noah Beery Jr. , Charles Drake , Henry Brandon , Dennis Weaver , Jay Silverheels , Jim Bannon , Lance Fuller and special mention for the veteran John McIntire . This thrilling and stirring Western was beautifully shot by William Daniels , Greta Garbo's regular cameraman . And an original and shining score from William Lava and Herman Stein , though uncredited .

    The motion picture was professionally directed by George Sherman in B-style , though has some flaws . Sherman made reliable low-budget fare for Columbia between 1945-48, then moved on to do the same at Universal for another eight years , where he directed this ¨War Arrow¨ . Sherman specialized almost exclusively in "B" westerns there , including the "Three Musketeers" series, which featured a young John Wayne. George directed lots of Westerns as ¨The Last of the Fast Guns¨ , ¨The Lone Hand¨, ¨Santa Fe stampede¨ , ¨Red skin¨ , ¨Chief Crazy Horse¨ ¨Calamity Jane¨, ¨Relentless¨ , ¨Comanche Territory¨ , ¨Dawn at Socorro¨, ¨Border River¨ and many others . He also made occasional forays into action and horror themes, often achieving a sense of style over substance . The only "A"-grade films to his credit were two westerns starring John Wayne: ¨Comancheros¨ (1961) (as producer) and ¨The big Jack¨ (1971) . His last films were realized in Spain as "Find That Girl" , ¨The new Cinderella¨ and ¨Joaquin Murrieta¨. War Arrow rating : 6/10 . Acceptable and passable . Well worth watching .
  • Jeff Chandler plays a major in the U.S. Calvary who wants to train the peaceful Seminoles to help the Army fight the savage, marauding Kiowas; Maureen O'Hara is a flirtatious widow whose captain-husband (found burned beyond recognition, yet still possessing his identification papers!) may be alive, having defected to fight alongside the Indians. Unconvincing Universal western with fine Technicolor photography but a flimsy, ridiculous script. No attempt is made to show why the Kiowas are so bloodthirsty; by the end, they are also portrayed as mercenary and stupid. Suzan Ball has the silliest role, that of a citified Seminole (and feminist!) whose education has apparently taught her the only way to get what she wants is by using her feminine wiles. There's the strong suggestion that Ball and Chandler have a one-night-stand, which is intriguing in and of itself, though screenwriter John Michael Hayes only utilizes the implication to drive cool-but-quickly-thawing O'Hara into Chandler's arms. A few interesting details, otherwise an assembly-line massacre for non-thinkers. *1/2 from ****
  • Surely the best line of the film is when Jeff Chandler "forcibly" kisses Maureen O' Hara (after she tells him she doesn't love him) and she responds by telling him: "I'm genuinely impressed."

    Very interesting Western, possibly overstating the lead character's sympathy for the native American, but this is ahead of its time for a 1953 movie. Note the scene in the fort commander's office, where he says "It's difficult to prove how many raiders you've killed." The implication here is that the lead character refuses to collect scalps - i.e. the "proof". There are lots of other little not so obvious details in this film which kept me hooked!
  • Jeff Chandler plays an army major who heads west in order to help an obstinate colonel quell a local Kiowa uprising. He has the idea to train some uprooted Seminoles to help the army defeat the Kiowa using some of the same hit-and-run tactics the Kiowa use to attack white settlers. The Kiowa are also helped by an army deserter who also happens to be Maureen O'Hara's ex. That complicates the love interest between Chandler and O'Hara.

    It's pretty standard stuff. The battle at the end in the fort didn't look too exciting although I've seen worse. Dennis Weaver as a Seminole indian looks unconvincing and John McIntire as the stubborn colonel can be a little too hard to believe at times. It's only when the Kiowa attack the fort and he gets shot that he comes around and believes Chandler's tactics were right, all along.

    The full-screen Universal DVD is pretty clean with little, if any film damage but the only extra is a trailer. No digital artifacts that I could see. In full Technicolor.

    They're are so many better westerns than this that Universal could have released on DVD. All those Audie Murphy oaters for example, so I hope they get around to doing it.

    At least at 78 minutes, this one had the benefit of not going on too long.

    Average.

    5 out of 10
  • Uriah4316 December 2012
    At one time the Seminoles were fierce fighters in their native habitat of Florida. However, after years of a notably successful war against the U.S. Army they finally agreed to peace and have been relocated from the swamps of Florida to the prairies out west. Without weapons they have been forced into a submissive posture against the warlike Kiowas. At the same time, the United States has a nearby fort which has also suffered harassment from the Kiowas as well. Determined to correct this situation, an Army major named "Howell Brady" (Jeff Chandler) is sent to the fort in an effort to rearm the Seminoles to augment the troops at the fort. When Major Brady arrives he meets an obviously frustrated Colonel Jackson Meade (John McIntre) who harbors resentment toward the major because of his own inadequate handling of the situation. Major Brady also meets an attractive widow named "Elaine Corwin" (Maureen O'Hara) who welcomes a new face in the middle of nowhere. At any rate, filmed in color this film was obviously geared for the drive-in movie crowd and probably filled that niche quite well. But it has nothing outstanding or noteworthy about it. The acting was adequate but nobody really stood out except maybe Maureen O'Hara. In short, this was an average Western. No more and no less.
  • You can always tell a bad Maureen O'Hara movie. If she is top billed, it's P U Stinky. Her main acting skills involve a mane of red hair and large bosoms.

    In this movie, O'Hara, once again, plays a fiery redhead who likes to tell the man she loves that she wants nothing to do with him. This was her sole role in movies until she got too old. Then she just got cranky with everybody.

    Jeff Chandler was second billed. The movie revolves around his character. He gets more screen time and all the action, but he is sadly lacking in the mammary department.

    They have plenty of Indians in this movie. Too many perhaps. It looks like they didn't all get outfitted in the same wardrobe department. Perhaps some of them simply wandered over from another movie.

    The plot is solid as a rock. There are a bunch of Indians who always attack in small groups. And there is another bunch that are peaceful. So the Army teaches the peaceful bunch how to fight in small groups like the other bunch. And then there is a big battle where everybody forgets their roles and just attacks everybody else en masse.

    And finally Maureen O'Hara gets to model a cool outfit.

    The end.

    This movie gets two stars: One for Ms. O'Hara's physical qualities, and one for her lack of screen time.

    I almost deducted a star for Dennis Weaver's portrayal of an Indian, but it was a relief to see the man walk around without a stick tied to his leg.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Jeff Chandler and Jay Silverheels, who played Cochise and Geronimo, respectively, in "Broken Arrow" and "Battle at Apache Pass", return for this one. Silverheels is a chief of the rampaging Kiowa, although apparently subservient to the revengeful ex-confederate Captain Corwin! Chandler, as Major Brady, has a role somewhat like that of John Wayne in "Fort Apache", except that here it's the sitting fort commander(Meade), rather than the new guy from the East, who goes strictly by the book and doesn't know how to subdue the Indians. The legendary Indian fighter Ranald Mackenzie took 20 Seminoles with him in his illegal foray across the Rio Grande to bloody the noses of a mixed tribal group, which had been raiding into Texas. It happens that Mackenzie was headquartered at Fort Clark: the fort in the present story, during most of the 1870s, when the present story apparently takes place. Seminoles were moved to near this fort in 1872. In this film, the fictional Brady took this a step further, training the Seminoles to be the primary fighters against the raiding Kiowa, rather than just scouts. Fort commander Meade(John McIntire) sarcastically called them 'Brady's bunch', and wrongly predicted that they would prove no match for the Kiowa. Well, we can't really blame him for this reasonable prediction. However, he forgot that the Seminoles were given the powerful Henry repeater rifles, which their opponents lacked.

    Despite Hollywood films, such as this, Plaines Indians very seldom attacked well built forts, as they typically resulted in too many casualties. Here, the Kiowa were talked into attacking the fort by Corwin, who had an unsound desire to destroy this symbol of Union victory in the late war. What initially appeared to be a Kiowa victory, once they penetrated the fort door(much too easily without dynamite in the wagon!), later turned into a turkey shoot as they tried to escape. As Corwin tussled with Brady, he was shot dead, apparently by Chief Satanta(Silverheels), presumably miffed that Corwin had led his tribe into this disaster. Satanta was then quickly dispatched, symbolizing a probable end to Kiowa raids.

    There is a bizarre detail to the battle in the fort. Brady decided to shut the women and children in the fort powder magazine room. He then made a snake fuse of black powder leading to the door of this room, and lit the end. The idea was that, if the Kiowa won the battle, the women and children were better off blown to bits than to experience what the Kiowa had in store for them. Fortunately, Maureen's character sensed that the Kiowa would eventually lose, and broke out to destroy a part of the 'snake'.

    Young Suzan Ball takes on Maureen O'Hara's frequent role as a feisty independent-minded woman, whereas Maureen's character is rather bland, hobbled by uncertainty whether her estranged husband(Corwin) is still alive, and if so, whether she would want to receive him back into her life, given his known collusion with the Mexican government to promote Indian unrest in Texas. Nonetheless, she provisionally reciprocates Major Brady's obvious interest in her, hoping that he will eventually provide a ticket out of this desolate fort and landscape, ideally setting her up in some large Eastern city. Suzan Ball, as poor but ambitious Seminole maiden Avis, has similar goals. She has the advantage of having been to school in San Antonio, and in being the Seminole chief's daughter, which gives her temporary access to the soldiers in the fort, whom she can impress with her beauty. However, early on, we are assured by Brady that he has no intention of marrying her(too bossy and demanding?) and only has eyes for Elaine(Maureen's character). After she's given up trying to snare Brady, she completely changes her thinking; using her position in the fort to help in Brady's battles with the fort commander and deserting Seminoles. This change in attitude, culminating in her changed attitude toward the previously derided Pino, just doesn't ring true.

    Chandler and Ball were the male and female leads in "Yankee Buccaneer". However, Ball didn't end up romantically with Chandler's character in either that film or the present one. She would die of cancer at age 21, but not before playing Chief Crazy Horse's main wife. She was much more subdued in that role, perhaps because one leg had been amputated in an effort to halt the cancer spread.

    John McIntire is OK as the overly pessimistic fort commander, who too often resents the opinions and actions of the upstart Major Brady. My favorite of his film roles is the charismatic villainous Gannon, in "The Far Country".

    Noah Berry and Charles Drake are OK as Brady's two loyal, somewhat knuckleheaded, sidekicks, reminding me of the pair of sidekicks played by Alan Hale and 'Big Boy' Williams in "Santa Fe Trail"

    Dennis Weaver hardly looks convincing as a Seminole(Pino).He came across much better as the Navajo chief in "Column South".

    Look for this film on YouTube.
  • It's by no means an awful film and these should be out there and not banned but be that as it may. It's overtly racist. If there is a love story in here, it's mixed. The Native woman had more chemistry and Maureen did. This isn't her worse. Actually none of her movies are bad but Don't think I'll watch it again. That and alot of bad acting kind ruin the film anyway ... Boring? no. Racist? yes!!

    Quality :4/10 Entertainment : 6/10 Re-Playable 3/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This B-Western follows US Cavalry officer Major Howell Brady who has been sent to Fort Clark in Texas to try a new method of fighting the local Kiowa tribe; he intends to recruit Seminole Indians who had been forcibly relocated to the area after their defeat in Florida. He has two immediate problems; the fort's CO, Col Meade, doesn't believe the Seminoles will be of any use and the Seminole chief, Maygro, has no desire to fight. His people are a little less reticent and when they see how good the latest army rifles are they decide that they will fight on condition that the non-fighting members of the tribe will be supplied with food while they are gone. Brady sets about training the men and soon they out performing the regular army. There is also a romantic subplot involving Brady and the widow of a captain apparently killed by the Kiowa and Maygro's daughter Avis; as the film continues we learn that the captain isn't as dead as was thought and is in fact helping to lead the Kiowa attacks... ultimately there will be a battle between the Army and Brady's Seminoles on one side and the Kiowa on the other which will determine who controls that corner of Texas.

    The main story was well handled and contained plenty of good action although like many films of its time it used made-up Europeans to play the Native Americans which made them somewhat less believable which was a pity. Jeff Chandler did a decent job as Major Brady however the lack of chemistry between him and leading lady Maureen O'Hara rendered the romantic subplot somewhat of a distraction from the main story. That said the twist of having her husband be a traitor was quite a good surprise that I hadn't seen coming. Some comic relief is provided by Brady's two sergeants and for a change the comic relief did raise a chuckle more than once. Over all this isn't a classic but is well worth watching on television if you are a fan of the genre.
  • The setting of 1953's "War Arrow" is Fort Clark in West Texas near Brackettville during the Indian Wars of the late 19th century. Major Brady (Jeff Chandler) arrives from D.C. to utilize a small band of transplanted Seminoles to aid the US Army against the marauding Kiowas. Brady conflicts with the Colonel of the fort (John McIntire) and romances a redheaded widow (Maureen O'Hara) while a Seminole woman takes interest in him (Suzan Ball).

    Chandler was 33 during filming and is great as the masculine protagonist with Hollywood looks, but his greying hair makes him look at least a decade older. Sadly, he'd be dead in less than ten years due to a botched surgery. McIntire as the by-the-book and jealous CO is odious, but maybe redeemable.

    The women, O'Hara and Ball, are another highlight. Maureen was 32 during filming and looked great, but she's one of those women who became more exquisite as she got older (to a point, that is). In the early 60s she was one of the most beautiful women to walk the face of the planet. In "War Arrow" she hadn't reached her voluptuous peak yet and she was hardly a good actress at the time, but it is interesting to see her when she was younger. Just as beautiful – and perhaps even more so – was the rising brunette Suzan Ball. She was only 18 during filming and is just stunning as the Seminole Avis. Sadly, she would pass away a mere two years after "War Arrow" was released due to cancer.

    Another positive for me is the Agoura, CA, locations, which – surprisingly – are a decent stand-in for West Texas. In any event, the film has a great Western "look."

    Unfortunately, the film loses points due to using white actors in the main Native roles, like Dennis Weaver as the Seminole brave who loves Avis and Henry Brandon as Avis' father, Maygro, not to mention Ball as Avis. But this is forgivable since this was the standard practice of the time and there were no Native actors available. Less forgivable is the stereotypical portrayal of the Indians (the haltingly way they speak English, dancing around the fire and the music), but actually it's not as bad as you would think.

    The biggest negative is the old-style of filmmaking of Westerns at the time. This is clearly a Hollywoodized portrayal of the Old West that could never be mistaken for reality. Yet there are a number of Westerns that broke out of the these limitations of the era, like 1950's excellent "The Sundowners" (not to be confused with the 1960 film of the same name) and 1956's "The Last Wagon," both of which rank with my favorite Westerns of all time. I point this out to show that some Westerns rose to the top in the 1930s thru 1950s, but "War Arrow" wasn't one of them. Still, it's certainly worth catching for the positives noted above. For me, it's like going back in time and it's enjoyable for this alone.

    The film runs 78 minutes.

    GRADE: C+
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An army sergeant comes across an arrow while on his way to a fort within Seminole territory. The sergeant is thrilled by the discovery, but is told by another member of the party that pretty soon, he'd be able to collect them from his back. That sets up the plot for this lighthearted and easy going western that top bills gorgeous redhead Maureen O'Hara over army officer Jeff Chandler, heading to the fort to make sure that the Seminoles and their rivals, the Kiowas, are kept in line. "Conquest in the face of the American army always seemed so civil", I once heard in an analysis of the American takeover of the west, and if the gentility of a birthday party filled with discussions of their determination to keep the natives down seems one sided and a re-write of the truth in history, then this movie gives its viewer to check out what facts exist for themselves.

    What is good here is the efforts it shows between the peaceful Seminoles and the brutal Kiowa's. The script makes it clear that they only laid down their weapons was because of a treaty and promise of protection, although it's obvious how they lost their land. Suzan Ball is unbelievable as a Seminole maiden who is treated with kindness by O'Hara and only looks on her with contempt. O'Hara proves once again her ability to take on any man, here more verbally than physically, and certainly able to survive in the wilderness with the soul of any man without even cringing over the presence of a rattler found in her living room.

    For the romantic story between Chandler and O'Hara, this is certainly worth watching, and for the beauty of the land, really stunning. It makes an effort, at least half heartedly, to treat the natives with compassion, but reminds me of the wicked past of a part of American history that doesn't put it in the shining light that the history books pretend to proclaim as necessary.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I just happened to catch this rare gem on TV. I was very plesantly surprised.

    The action scenes are plentiful and brilliant including several ear blasting shootouts and an epic scale battle sequence which makes excellent use of sharps buffalo rifles, springfield rifles and cannons.

    The plot is nice and simple as it mainly involves a cavalry officer training a group of discraced semihole indians to fight against some other western indians.

    I really enjoyed this movie and it is one of the best B westerns out there. Its only available on region 1 but if its ever on TV again i highly recommend you watch it.