Broken Arrow Reviews
Tom (James Stewart) heals a wounded Apache boy of 14-years on an Indian Territory, for this generous act he is released by the Apache. Tom befriends Cochise (Jeff Chandler), and takes him into confidence to allow stagecoaches, mail to pass-through, with mutual coexistence. However, not all on White-side believe in such truce.
This is an average classic western film, but it's pure in its struggle to define three sought-after words in proper western movies 'tolerance', 'harmony' and 'equality. I loved watching Jeff Chandler and Jimmy Stewart together. While, John Ford and John Wayne and many in their footsteps realized very late about portraying Native-Americans negatively, James Stewart did it quite early in his times. It is first post World-War-II film to depict Native-Americans in positive way, showing their courage of tolerance, and intention to live in harmony, while coping with loss of loved ones. Movies do play major role in brainwashing immature audience, and since the silent movies, there were many of such movies, which would often preach words like 'Barbarians' or 'Savages' for Native-Americans, forgetting to be noticed that at the end of the film "white community triumphs". But I always get excited when former foes make truce to be friends and work shoulder-by-shoulder. Some of us are bad some of us are good, and thus we must always endure pain to make all good.
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations.
Regretably, it was typical back in the 50 and 60's and beyond, as white people played many of the parts as American native indians, especially Italians who seemed to corner the market on the roles in television.
Very recommended, as is most anything with James Stewart, in my very humble opinion.
NOTEs about the film:
1 At 41, James Stewart was 25 years older than Debra Paget, who was barely 16 at the time of filming.
2 Screenwriter Albert Maltz did not receive a credit when the film was released because he was blacklisted. Instead, the script was credited to Michael Blankfort.
3 The film was considered groundbreaking at the time because it portrayed the native American Indians in a humane light, something that had scarcely happened since silent days. However, years later the film was heavily criticized because the Indians were still played by white actors.
4 The movie's world premiere was held in the Nusho Theater in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
5 The broken arrow, which signals an end to fighting, is in fact a Blackfoot Indian symbol, not an Apache symbol. The Blackfoot are native to Montana and Alberta, Canada.
James Stewart ... Tom Jeffords
Jeff Chandler ... Cochise
Debra Paget ... Sonseeahray ('Morningstar')
Basil Ruysdael ... Gen. Oliver 'The Christian General' Howard
Will Geer ... Ben Slade, Rancher
Joyce Mackenzie ... Terry, Scatfly Proprietress (as Joyce MacKenzie)
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Milt Duffield, Mail Superintendent
Director: Delmer Daves
Writers: Elliott Arnold (novel), Albert Maltz (screenplay)
Sound Mix:Mono (Western Electric Recording)