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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Escape From Fort Bravo (1953)

In 1893 Arizona as the Civil War rages on, an isolated Union prison camp in the desert doesn't worry too much about its Confederate prisoners trying to escape as hostile Mescalero Indians roam the countryside. But when a beautiful visitor (Eleanor Parker) arrives at the fort and attracts the eye of the fort's Captain (William Holden), her intentions aren't quite what they seem. An early effort from director John Sturges, who would go on to direct classics like THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, this is a first rate western. The film is divided into two halves. The first part is devoted to Parker's seduction of Holden and her treachery while the second half is an intense and lengthy showdown with the Mescalero's trapping a small handful of soldiers, prisoners and the woman in a gully. The screenplay by Frank Fenton doesn't insult our intelligence and he's created a believable triangle between Holden, Parker and John Forsythe. The action scenes are exciting and well executed. Even if you're not a fan of westerns, you should find much to like here. With Polly Bergen, William Demarest, Richard Anderson, William Campbell, John Lupton and Carl Benton Reid.

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