Re: Geronimo

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Posted by Tom on July 06, 1998 at 22:52:39:

In Reply to: Re: Geronimo posted by Jo on July 06, 1998 at 16:29:31:

: Marcia wrote:
: : It would be pretty boring if we all felt the same way, wouldn't it?

: : MMMMarcia

: Marcia:
: My feelings exactly; what is this board all about; if not our feelings, even if they don't match!
: To ToM:
: So; ToM; what is "Ulzana's Raid" or am I the only one not to have heard of it?
: What my LOTM hubby and I have heard is the great music of Ry Cooder on the "Long Riders"; a definate plus.

: Post again; ToM; always great to hear from a new voice!
: Jo


I wholeheartedly agree. What I wrote last night is my own opinion and do not expect others to agree with it. The funny thing is that despite my criticism of "Geronimo" I have probably watched it more often than anyone here. (I have had it on tape for over three years and was in fact watching parts of it last week.) I like it. It's a western and it's about a heroic figure from our past which are definite pluses from my point of view. Yet I feel it is not a particularly well-made movie. It is too slow moving and the "college film major" direction is really annoying at times (the black and white dream sequences, the herky-jerk movement of the camera during the battle scenes, and other such stylized silliness.) I mentioned what I liked about the film in my previous post but I guess it bears some repeating. My favorite part is the opening sequence with the beautiful sight of the US cavalry charging into battle and desperate Apache warriors riding forth to meet them in order to protect their families. One of the many minor historical details found in the film is also evident during these scenes with Gene Hackman's Gen. George Crook riding a mule. Unfortunately the incident described above probably rarely, if ever, occured during the Apache Wars: a dirty, vicious affair of raids and counterraids which was brought to end only by the Army's heavy use of Apache scouts who hounded the renegades into starvation and forced them onto the reservation.

"Ulzana's Raid" is arguably the most accurate depiction of the Indian wars ever done for film. This 1972 film stars Burt Lancaster as an Al Sieber-like scout, Richard Jaeckel as a hardened cavalry sergeant, and Bruce Davison as a green cavalry lieutenant. In spite of these character stereotypes the film is anything but a typical cowboys and Indians shoot-em up. It's about an Apache leader, Ulzana, who breaks from the reservation to start a raid during which the sole goal is to gain "power" through death and plunder. The cavalry has the hopeless job of trying to deter the raid since the Apaches are almost impossible to catch. Although all the film's characters and events are fictional; the movie does give an idea of what the Indian wars were really like. Neither the cavalry nor the Indians are portrayed as stainless heroes: men are cruelly tortured, women gang-raped, and the dead mutilated. The Apaches are portrayed as superior to the cavalry in every way except for numbers- Ulzana commanding less than ten men. This a terrific rough jem of a movie and obviously Walter Hill thought so too since he included an entire sequence from it in "Geronimo"-- the part in which Robert Duvall's Al Sieber singlehandedly takes on a small Apache raiding party is virtually entirely taken from a Burt Lancaster sequence in "Ulzana's Raid." If you get chance; watch "Ulzana's Raid" then watch "Geronimo" and you will see exactly what I am talking about since it is so very obvious. Hill also did this in "The Long Riders" in which there are parts, including some dialogue, taken from the Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda film "Jesse James."

As for "The Long Riders" I have been looking for the soundtrack on CD for years without success. Unfortunatly I don't think it was ever put on CD and tape versions seem to be out of print. But if anyone knows if there is such a product available I would love to hear from you.

Also I am not particurarly new this forum. I was an irregular poster for months and then I just stopped coming about five months ago. Yesterday's showing of LOTM on TNT gave me the urge to check in on the old board and see what's up. The next thing I know I am writing long posts on Walter Hill movies, trashing Dances with Wolves which is always fun, and describing Ulzana's Raid. Reminds me why I used to post here-- it is simply fun.

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