Jacob Latimore, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett star in director Kasi Lemmons' seasonal drama.
On Film4: 17 Dec 11:00AM
John Ford's landmark western starring a young chap called John Wayne. Wonder what ever happened to him?
John Wayne guns down the Apaches in John Ford's rip-roaring Western about a mixed coachload of stock characters - the tart with a heart of gold, the whisky-slugging doctor, the prudish small-town woman - dodging the attacks of Geronimo and his friends.
In taking an ensemble cast on a perilous journey across back-projected landscapes, Ford anticipates the slew of 1970s disaster movies that sent complements of stars on similarly dangerous trips. But here the notion seems as fresh as a prairie daisy. The politics, however, were as naive and thoughtless then as they are now, and demonstrate the director's unblinking attachment to a mythical version of 19th-century American history: a comforting dream from which, in the 1960s and 1970s, audiences were forced to awake.
But heck, this is 1939, so love the thing for what it is: the maiden voyage of a celebrated cliche - with a climax that's one of the great masterpieces of editing.
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