“An epic Western which has nothing to do with cowboys, rustlers, dishonest sheriffs or pretty schoolteachers…. It is one of the few motion pictures to bring to the screen American Indian life with complete authenticity,” Fuller said at the time of the film’s premiere, his first picture after fulfilling a six-year studio contract, and he was able to return to full creative independence, this time under the auspices of the newly established Globe Enterprises. Bitter soldier O’Meara (Rod Steiger as a newcomer) is unable to accept the defeat of his beloved South. Immediately after the Civil War’s end, he heads west toward the continent’s original inhabitants; like him, they do not respect the government of the United States. After surviving the “run of the arrow,” an Indian ritual that has him fighting for his life, he becomes one of the Sioux by marrying an Indian woman. But the hand of fate holds onto his past, and he once again meets the man he shot on the last day of the bloody war. Despite his dogged efforts to protect his new identity, he undergoes a difficult trial. Fuller distances himself from the canon of studio films not only through a free application of generic rules, but also through an unconventional visual conception that favors constructive editing, namely an unorthodox ordering of scenes. While this may sometimes complicate viewer orientation, it strengthens the resulting dramatic punch. –KVIFF
Noted for his tabloid-influenced storytelling style, breathless camera work, and extreme close-ups, Fuller was a pugnacious, tough-as-nails man whose movies reflect a uniquely personal vision; obsessed with themes of falsehood and deception, his films illuminated the cultural divisions at the heart of American society, depicting a grim, immoral world far removed from the placid surface typically on display in more mainstream fare. Celebrated as a genius by his fans, and denounced as a sensationalist by his detractors, Fuller was a deeply patriotic man quick to criticize his country’s flaws, as well as a raw, anarchic filmmaker capable of moments of inexpressible beauty; such contradictions fueled and ultimately defined both him and his body of work, which continues to exert tremendous influence over such prominent filmmakers as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Jim Jarmusch. Samuel Michael Fuller was born August 12, 1912, in Worcester, MA, and raised in New York City; at the age… read more
Harsh indigestible hairball of a movie with racial hatred, the male aggressive drive & allegiance each taking a star turn. What's amazing is that though theres ample opportunity to reduce the structural to personal which Hollywood loves to do the film never succumbs to that temptation (eg hatred between O'Meara & Crazy Wolf or between him & Driscoll is not overdeveloped) Abrasive but by the same token brilliant.
I finally had the opportunity to obtain a copy of Fuller’s neglected ‘Run of the Arrow’. The print was a little fuzzy and the sound was not always clear but the film was still well worth the wait… read review