In John Ford’s somber exploration mythologizing of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honor which he believes is rightfully his.
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Damn, Ford is good. Few directors could conjure images with such immediate impact, but he's also interested in a sense of community and melancholy that today's Hollywood stylists miss. I remain deeply ambivalent about his pre-modern, quasi-Confederate nostalgia—America has too much of it. But the politics here are complex: a precursor to Liberty Valance, but even more effective in light of WWII. I keep coming back.
Far from the best Ford, "Fort Apache" is a beautiful, tragic film that laughs at History as we understand it. It's also the best film from his "Cavalry Trilogy" ("Rio Grande" being the worst), and the most different one: "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "Rio Grande" are romanticized films about life in the army, duty, family and tradition. "Fort Apache" is all about that too - but how it can all fail so quickly.
The last thirty minutes makes this a great film. I didn't care for the Philadelphia subplot all that much (mainly due to the boring Shirley Temple performance), but it didn't weigh down the film that much. I loved how dark and tragic the film's ending is too.
Funny recollection: I watched the movie in the theatre, at a special Ford retrospective. There was this terrible guy a row behind me, laughing hysterically and commenting the scenes out loud. It took me a while to realize it was film director Abel Ferrara being, well... being himself. (Ferrara was at the time in Vienna to present his "Pasolini" at the film festival - november 2014).
One of Ford's best. Following Stagecoach, the combination of various cultures and classes being forced to work together brings out fascinating characters and helps expose democracy's ironies and the hypocrisy of law, becoming an interesting precursor to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend".
Altro grandioso film di John Ford,che in questa pellicola punta un pò di più sulla verbosità e sugli scontri d'opinione tra i vari protagonisti(Henry Fonda è monumentale),mentre l'azione è regalata quasi tutta nel drammatico epilogo.Forse qualche scena morta di troppo(i balletti e le schermaglie d'amore),ma tutto concorre a creare uno stupendo clima di prateria e di "frontiera",come nei migliori lavori di Zio John.