Fort Apache

1948

Action / Adventure / Western

3
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 16250

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 13, 2020 at 10:32 AM

Director

Cast

John Wayne as Capt. Kirby York
Shirley Temple as Philadelphia Thursday
Henry Fonda as Lt. Col. Owen Thursday
Ward Bond as Sgt. Maj. Michael O'Rourke
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.15 GB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 7 min
P/S 5 / 19
2.13 GB
1472*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 7 min
P/S 7 / 24

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 10 / 10

"They're The Regiment"

I think that a list of John Wayne's five best pictures has to include Fort Apache. It's the first and best of the cavalry trilogy that he did with John Ford. Oddly enough he has less screen time here than in the other two, due to the fact that he was co-starring with another big Hollywood name in Henry Fonda.

It's first and foremost the story of a clash between two men who see the United States Army in very different terms. Fonda is a former general who's seen glory in the Civil War, but has been shunted aside. He wants to get back on top in the worst way. He's exiled to Fort Apache in the Arizona territory while the big headlines concerning the Indian wars are going to the campaign against the plains Indians which was true enough.

Wayne has also seen some glory in the Civil War. But he's a professional soldier and just wants to live long enough to retire. In fact Ward Bond who is the sergeant major at the post has also dropped down in rank, he was a major in the Civil War and a Medal of Honor winner. This was a common occurrence at the end of the Civil War. During the war, promotions came swiftly because of battlefield service. Something called a brevet rank was instituted a kind of temporary promotion. You could be a brevet brigadier general and have an actual rank of something like major. After the Civil War as the U.S. Army shrunk to its pre-war size, soldier reverted to previous ranks. This was something John Ford was keenly aware of when he made Fort Apache.

Ford's stock company was never better. Even minor bit parts are woven nicely into the whole story. And his photography of Monument Valley, it's beauty and vastness was never better even when he used color. Look at the scenes with John Agar and Shirley Temple riding and with Wayne and Pedro Armendariz on their way to parley with Cochise. Really great cinematography.

Ford had a couple of inside comments in the film. In a scene where Henry Fonda is getting an incomplete message from the post telegrapher, the telegrapher who might have strolled in from a Cagney-O'Brien film informs his commander that the message was interrupted "in the middle of the last woid." With both Irish and southern recruits in Fort Apache, a Brooklynese telegrapher would not have been out of place.

George O'Brien and Anna Lee, play Sam and Emily Collingwood who both knew Henry Fonda's Owen Thursday way back in the day. It's hinted that O'Brien had a drinking problem and that's why he's at Fort Apache, but he's looking for a transfer out. It comes as the regiment is moving out against Cochise.

Charles Collingwood was the second in command to Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar. Nelson became a British hero martyr, historians know about Charles Collingwood. When newspapermen at the end of Fort Apache remark about men like "Collingworth"not being remembered, it was John Ford making a statement about the worth of all the men who contribute their lives to defend their nations not just the leader heroes.

That remark by the way is the stage for one of John Wayne's finest acted scenes in his career. A soliloquy photographed through a cabin window about the life of the professional soldier, the camaraderie, the toughness, the bravery required of these men and how they deliver for their nation.

In a later film John Ford uses the line that in the west "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Henry Fonda's quest for martial glory was a blunder, but his story for the sake and tradition of his regiment is whitewashed and he becomes an inspiration.

Of course some of the lowbrow comedy that one expects from John Ford is here aplenty with the four drinking sergeants and their efforts to make soldiers out of the recruits. Led by Victor McLaglen, the quartet rounds out with Dick Foran, Jack Pennick, and Pedro Armendariz. See how they dispose of the contraband they are charged with destroying and its consequences.

Fort Apache also takes the side of the Indian here. Cochise played by an impassive Miguel Inclan is a figure of strength and dignity. Later on Jeff Chandler in another film brought speech to the dignity and that role launched his career. Cochise is the only true major figure in the film. He bedeviled the U.S. Cavalry for over a decade in Arizona Territory with guerrilla tactics Mao Tse Tung would have envied.

Fort Apache is a grand ensemble film and you will not be bored for one second in watching it.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 9 / 10

near perfect Cavalry Western with Fonda splendidly cast against type

In Fort Apache Henry Fonda, often the kindest but strongest of the kind figures in the movies, plays the General Custer-esquire Colonel Thursday, and John Wayne, often the one in the movies who will shoot Indians first and maybe (if he feels like it) ask questions later, plays the more level-headed/friend-of-Apache-Cochese Captain York. In any other Western the roles would be reversed, but John Ford trusted his stars as actors to not be type-casted, and particularly with Fonda he strikes some really rich ground. Part of that is in his direction (maybe some of Ford's stern and sometimes bull-headed self could identify somewhere in Thursday), but it's also Fonda being able to find certain beats or pauses or inflections that add dimension to what is a mostly stiff and unmovable Cavalry Colonel who is a gentlemen second and a military man first. Wayne is also very good here, as he often was for Ford more than any other director save for maybe Hawks, as he's more-so apart of the ensemble as opposed to a full-blown star, and there's even some subtlety where it's usually not seen by him.

The story itself is also ripe for Ford's wonderful blend of all-American warmth and critical-while-embracing of American West themes, and there's a lot of extra entertainment with the supporting cast (mostly a who's who of genial drunks and weathered first-timers and ex-Civil War soldiers). And with one exception- a poetically ironic but unnecessary scene with Mrs. Thursday getting the telegram of his transfer right before the climactic battle- there's barely a scene that doesn't register as something worthwhile for the story, or for some interesting characterization, or even something in as simple as a dance between Thursday and O'Rourke that reveals how good Fonda could be at staying in character while in a formal bit like that. We're also given the proverbial 'good' young-actor performances from John Agar as the West Point graduate young O'Rourke who's after Shirley Temple's daughter of Col. Thursday.

Fort Apache allows for all of the thrills and curiosities of watching an 'old-fashioned' Western, but there's more than meets the eye for Ford. It's all so deceptively simple; it's not quite as masterful as the Searchers, but it's very close, at deconstructing the myths of strong American men going to kill Indians and win the day inn honor to reveal the savagery underneath where logic is thrust aside. But at the same time, Ford still celebrates the valor in men in the old west, and there's something of a forerunner to the message of Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: when legend becomes fact, print (or film) the legend - albeit with some truth sprinkled here and there. Surely one of the better Ford and Wayne Westerns, and one another in the equally (or even more-so) rewarding collaboration with Fonda, here revealing a whole other side than a Lincoln or Tom Joad. 9.5/10

Reviewed by stryker-5 8 / 10

Fonda And Wayne Clash In John Ford Cavalry Pic

Lieutenant-Colonel Owen Thursday arrives at a frontier fort to take up his new command. His harsh, unbending philosophy of soldiering creates something of a stir in the regiment. His pretty daughter Philadelphia causes a rather different commotion.

The headstrong commander refuses to listen to the advice of his loyal captain, Kirby York, who knows frontier life and enjoys a rapport with the indian chiefs. The two officers are both strong characters, and their differing ideas inevitably lead to a clash.

Cochise and his braves are willing to accommodate the white man so long as their concerns are handled with diplomacy. Unfortunately, the high-handed approach of Lieutenant-Colonel Thursday cause relations to deteriorate, and conflict ensues.

In the course of the 1940's and 50's, director John Ford returned repeatedly to this subject-matter, John Wayne in Monument Valley with the US cavalry, fighting redskins and singing Irish folksongs. The stirring anthem in this movie is "The Girl I Left Behind Me", sung as the regiment rides out in full panoply to meet Cochise - although "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" gets an airing, too.

The cavalry regiment itself is a protagonist in the story, regarded as a living entity by its members. When Captain York is promoted to Colonel and commands the regiment, he makes a powerful speech stressing the continuity and tradition which have made the regiment great. The sense of hierarchy is strong. This is a world of order in which army regulations govern even the way an officer presents his calling-card. Soldiers can quote the regulations by heart. This well-regulated military force will, we feel, impose civilisation on this wild frontier.

Examples of the regiment's rigid code keep recurring. The NCOs' dance has its own elaborate protocol, which not even Colonel Thursday dares to flout. Feelings over the O'Rourke marriage reach boiling-point, but everyone adheres to the rules of military courtesy. Washington's Birthday is celebrated as a regimental occasion. The Irish sergeants are all related by blood and marriage, and as their exuberant fraternal greetings subside, military discipline asserts itself effortlessly.

"I'm not a martinet," protests Colonel Thursday, the most extreme martinet imaginable. He is inflexible in his enforcement of the military code, and too stubborn and wrongheaded to listen to the advice of his officers, who are experienced frontier campaigners. He completely misses the presence of Cochise's war party because he has no combat experience and doesn't know to watch the skyline for dust clouds. In addition, Thursday is a terrible snob. He calls young Michael O'Rourke a 'savage' for a perceived laxity of discipline, and sets his face against the marriage of Michael and Philadelphia because of "the barrier between your class and mine". He is dismayed that the son of a sergeant should have passed through West Point, and needlessly offends Cochise by talking down to him.

And yet even Owen Thursday has a human side. We gather that there is some personal secret between him and Captain Collingwood, and we almost smile when the armchair collapses under him. Most tellingly, Thursday returns to the beleaguered redoubt after he has been rescued. He redeems himself by rejoining his soldiers in the thick of the fighting.

When young Philadelphia Thursday (Shirley Temple) studies Michael O'Rourke in her purse mirror, we know that these two will be the love interest. Also, as this incident illustrates, the womenfolk of Fort Apache tend to run the show in this masculine enclave. The Thursday residence is somewhat joyless, especially when compared with Aunt Emily's cosy quarters. The women brush aside the colonel's seniority and call in Mrs. O'Rourke to refurnish the place. In one of the film's good jokes, no fewer than eight Mrs. O'Rourkes answer the call. There is a touching scene when the regiment moves out and the women are left together. Mrs. Collingwood is torn, because her husband has his safe posting back east and needn't go into battle, but she knows how important it is for him to prove his courage. The womenfolk urge her to call him back, but she reluctantly allows him to ride out.

John Ford laced many of his films with Irish humour, and "Fort Apache" is no exception. The ubiquitous Victor McLaglen plays Sergeant Festus Mulcahy, and he and the O'Rourkes run the fort - that is, whenever they are not in the jailhouse on charges of drinking and brawling. Outrageously, Mulcahy promotes a raw recruit to corporal, simply because he's Irish. Quincannon virtually lives in the jailhouse, but he has a fine tenor voice, so he is released from custody in order to serenade the young lovers with his rendition of "Genevieve". When the dishonest trader Meacham has his whisky stock confiscated and marked for destruction, the sad faces of the sergeants make a comical picture, and the subsequent 'destruction' is even funnier.

Ford is a master of composition. York rides out to parley with Cochise and is engrossed in dialogue, leaving Thursday stranded and excluded. We hear the thunder of hooves offscreen before we see the charge, and its impact is magnified accordingly. In the sequence where York and Beaufort ride to negotiate with Cochise, the screen is filled with stunning images of rock and sky. The charging cavalry are cleverly 'lost' in their own dust, which closes behind them like a curtain, ending the scene.

Wayne is curiously subdued in this film. This is partly because he plays a conscientious subordinate, and partly because the confrontation with Fonda is eclipsed by other plot developments.

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