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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taza, Son Of Cochise (1954)

A highly fabricated account of Taza (Rock Hudson), the eldest son of the famed Apache known as Cochise. After his father Cochise (Jeff Chandler) dies, his son attempts to fulfill his father's commitment to peace between the white men and the Apache. However, this peace is sabotaged by the renegade Geronimo (Ian MacDonald). Not surprisingly, the Douglas Sirk film is sympathetic to the plight of the Native Americans who attempt to retain their dignity while still being subjugated by the encroaching white men. Originally shot in 3D, Sirk gives only the slightest concession to the format by the occasional arrow coming at you or the tree branches in the foreground. The gorgeous landscapes as shot by Russell Metty on location in Utah's Arches National Park are as beautiful as any landscape in John Ford's western canon. The film has a nice lyrical feel for Indian life and Sirk's use of actual Indians (outside of the white actors playing Indians) in non speaking roles gives an authenticity that many a similar western lacks. Acting isn't a strong point for the film but with the exception of MacDonald's Geronimo, none of it is bad. The score by the undervalued Frank Skinner is not without interest. With Barbara Rush (who has precious little to do), Rex Reason, Gregg Palmer, Morris Ankrum and Joe Sawyer.

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