FRONTIER RANGERS(director: Jacques Tourneur; screenwriters: Gerald Drayson Adams/based on the novel by Kenneth Roberts; cinematographers: Harold E. Wellman/William W. Spencer; editors: Ira Heymann/Frank Santillo; music: Raoul Kraushaar; cast: Keith Larsen (Major Bob Rogers), Buddy Ebsen (Sgt. Hunk Marriner), Don Burnett (Langdon Towne), Philip Tonge (General Amherst), Lisa Gaye (Natula), Angie Dickinson (Rose Carver), Lisa Davis (Elizabeth), Larry Chance (Black Wolf), Pat Hogan (Rivas), Claude Akins (Caleb Brandt, Trapper), Emile Meyer (Ben Klagg); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Adrian Samish; MGM; 1959)
“Colorful frontier adventure film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Colorful frontier adventure film about Rogers Rangers battling the Algonquin Indians during the war between the colonies of great Britain and New France, with the Algonquins as allies of the French. The war lasted seven years and took place from 1754-1763 and was fought along the frontiers separating New France from the British colonies from Virginia to Nova Scotia. It’s based on the novel by Kenneth Roberts and written with an eye for comedy and action by Gerald Drayson Adams. Director Jacques Tourneur (“Experiment Perilous”/”Out of the Past”/”Cat People”), in one of his lesser films,keeps it madly ridiculous, but fills the screen with delicious looking scenic location shots of upstate New York in the fall and blood-curdling close-up battles.
Gung-ho militaristic-minded American colonistMajor Bob Rogers (Keith Larsen), an expert with the hatchet, formed a special op-like army to protect the upstate NY colonists from Indian raids, and teams with his loyal first-sergeant, the illiterate but brave Hunk Marriner (Buddy Ebsen), and a Harvard grad map maker (Don Burnett), to remove traitors from around the fort, stop Indian ambushes and in the future map out the Northwest Passage all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The men wear green uniforms that look like something Robin Hood would wear to a diverse culture party in the Village. The Rangers are stationed at Fort Crown Point, located near Lake Champlain, on the border between modern New York State and Vermont, under British General Amherst (Philip Tonge), the commander of the British garrison.
The adventures include the Rangers trapping the half Indian village gunsmith Rivas (Pat Hogan) as the traitor helping Algonquin leader Black Wolf (Larry Chance) get info on where to raid the settlers; freeing three lady criminal bonded indentured servants from England, who are cruelly treated by New Hampshire innkeeper Ben Klagg (Emile Meyer) their owner and forced to marry undesirable men; and overcoming Black Wolf in a surprise raid on his campsite before he kills a few captive white settlers. The Rangers also free Natula (Lisa Gaye), the fiery squaw of Black Wolf, who is a white woman going completely native. Natula was captured as a child in a raid by the Algonquins and raised by them as a savage, and is now conflicted about returning to live with whites.
REVIEWED ON 4/5/2012 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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