COMANCHE (director: George Sherman; screenwriter: Carl Krueger; cinematographer: Jorge Stahl; editor: Charles L. Kimball; music: Herschel Burke Gilbert; cast: Dana Andrews (Jim Read), Kent Smith (Quanah Parker), Linda Cristal (Margarita), Nestor Paiva (Puffer), Stacy Harris (Art Downey), Mike Mazurki (Flat Mouth), John Litel (Gen. Miles), Lowell Gilmore (Commissioner John Ward), Reed Sherman (2nd Lt. John French); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carl Krueger; United Artists; 1956)
“Purports to be based on the true way these bloody incidents with the Comanches, the cavalry and the raids into the Mexican border towns actually happened and why they did.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
George Sherman directs and Carl Krueger provides the entertaining script for this sympathetic Western to the Native Americans. It shows there are baddies on both sides. The bad whites are scalphunters who sell the Indian scalps to make dolls. Filmed in the Old Mexican territory of Durango. It’s set in 1875. The film opens and closes with its theme song “A Man is as Good as his Word,” as sung by The Lancers.
Jim Read (Dana Andrews) is an earnest frontier army scout in the southwest who hopes to make peace with the Comanches. He’s supported by General Miles (John Litel), but runs into opposition when the bigoted Commissioner John Ward (Lowell Gilmore) is sent by President Grant as his special emissary on Indian affairs as Washington’s concerned over all the Indian raids. Ward views all Indians as savages and calls for force to get them to the peace table. Ward takes a liking to the whites who are causing all the problems, Art Downey (Stacy Harris) and his gang of scalphunters. The Indians go berserk over the scalphunters and go on raiding parties across the border in Mexico where Comanche scalps are sold. In one such raid they take a little Mexican girl and her mother Margarita (Linda Cristal) who bought her a doll with real Indian hair. Comanche chief Quanah Parker (Kent Smith) is an honorable warrior who wants to make peace but has to put up with the hotheaded warrior Black Cloud (Henry Brandon) who wants to kill all the whites.
The centerpiece scene has Ward, stirred up by the advice from Downey attacking Black Cloud, who goaded him into the attack by murdering some cavalry troops on the day that Quanah agreed to sign the treaty. It ends up with Quanah and the troops led by Miles and Read encircling Black Cloud after he wipes out the regiment led by Ward and the green Lt. French.
Purports to be based on the true way these bloody incidents with the Comanches, the cavalry and the raids into the Mexican border towns actually happened and why they did.
REVIEWED ON 8/5/2005 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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