The Big Sky - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Big Sky Reviews

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July 15, 2016
Pretty good for the day, a bit melodramatic, but still enjoyable.
November 4, 2015
Whiskey leave me alone. Remember I must go back home.

A half man and half Native American discover an Indian woman that has a group of men out to kill her for some misdeeds she witnessed. The man and his companions rescue her and take her on a voyage back to get people where they hope to trade her. The outlaws are hot on their trail...as are the Indians.

"Where have you been?"
"I've been looking for you everywhere."
"Why didn't you look here first and save yourself some time?"

Howard Hawks, director of The Big Sleep, His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, Rio Bravo, Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, and The Dawn Patrol, delivers The Big Sky. The storyline for this picture is well written and fun to watch unfold. The action is pretty good as is the acting. The cast includes Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Hank Worden, and Jim Davis.

"A man with six wives and more youngings than he can count..."

This was recently recommended to me by Fios so I had to DVR it off Fox Classic Pictures. This was a classic western with larger than life characters and some good character interactions. I strongly recommend this to fans of classic westerns.

Grade: C+
August 27, 2014
I think I was ready for a boffo adventure story and this Howard Hawks picture, featuring a group of men traveling up the Missouri River to the Pacific Northwest to do some trading with the Blackfoot Indians, hit the spot. Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin star as a couple of rough and ready young guys who join up with Uncle Zeb (Arthur Hunnicutt) and a band of French outdoorsmen for the long journey. Hawks is great at creating a sense of community and his combination of sets and location shooting make the drama feel almost real. There are a number of different exciting episodes along the way and of course a love interest in the form of a Blackfoot maid, brought along on the trip. The relationship between Douglas and Martin - and with the woman Teal Eye - doesn't always hold together properly. Viewers likely prefer the adventure story and perhaps Hawks did too.
July 26, 2014
One of my all time favorite movies!
May 3, 2014
This was one of Hawks most loved films (please read Hawks on Hawks). It was unfortunately cut after it's opening in Chicago to accommodate requests from the theatre houses. Hawks felt that the 21 minutes that were removed harmed his work. Having just seen this film with all its' removed sections...I agree! :-)
½ May 16, 2012
Howard Hawks' "The Big Sky" could be seen as the spiritual successor to "Red River", which he made four years earlier. Both are stories of the American west, of adventure and brotherhood, and the excitement of living a life of freedom in the wild. But where Red River was more a battle of wills, Big Sky is a testament to brotherly love. In it, two frontiersmen, Jim and Boone (Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin) are fast friends seeking adventure. They find it in the form of uncle Zeb Calloway (Arthur Hunnicutt, in an oscar-nominated performance) who knows of some french traders about to travel up the Missouri river in a flat bottom boat to do some fur trading. The "big" fur-trading company in those parts has so far met with little success with the hostile indians, but this french company has a secret ace-in-the-hole in the form of "Teal Eye" (Elizabeth Threatt), a blackfoot princess whose father will surely reward them handsomely for returning her home safely. That is, if they survive their journey.

Jim and Boone live out under the open sky. They feel uncomfortable in the big city and comment on how "city men walk" and how the women are cinched up in their dresses like sacks that've been tied up too tight. There is a particular irony to Boone, who hates injuns (they killed his brother, and he carries the scalp of the one who did it, according to his uncle), yet there burns within him the desire to live as they do, simply and off the land. The indians in Big Sky are treated not as "the bad guys" as they so often were in films from this period, but as individuals and individual tribes, some good, some bad. Probably the most fair treatment native Americans had received in the movies at the time. But more than anything, it's the journey upriver that features so heavily in this film. It's a journey fraught with indians, rushing waters, rattlesnakes, fires, bullets and arrows... and it's quite a satisfying journey at that.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2012
Howard Hawks' "The Big Sky" could be seen as the spiritual successor to "Red River", which he made four years earlier. Both are stories of the American west, of adventure and brotherhood, and the excitement of living a life of freedom in the wild. But where Red River was more a battle of wills, Big Sky is a testament to brotherly love. In it, two frontiersmen, Jim and Boone (Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin) are fast friends seeking adventure. They find it in the form of uncle Zeb Calloway (Arthur Hunnicutt, in an oscar-nominated performance) who knows of some french traders about to travel up the Missouri river in a flat bottom boat to do some fur trading. The "big" fur-trading company in those parts has so far met with little success with the hostile indians, but this french company has a secret ace-in-the-hole in the form of "Teal Eye" (Elizabeth Threatt), a blackfoot princess whose father will surely reward them handsomely for returning her home safely. That is, if they survive their journey.

Jim and Boone live out under the open sky. They feel uncomfortable in the big city and comment on how "city men walk" and how the women are cinched up in their dresses like sacks that've been tied up too tight. There is a particular irony to Boone, who hates injuns (they killed his brother, and he carries the scalp of the one who did it, according to his uncle), yet there burns within him the desire to live as they do, simply and off the land. The indians in Big Sky are treated not as "the bad guys" as they so often were in films from this period, but as individuals and individual tribes, some good, some bad. Probably the most fair treatment native Americans had received in the movies at the time. But more than anything, it's the journey upriver that features so heavily in this film. It's a journey fraught with indians, rushing waters, rattlesnakes, fires, bullets and arrows... and it's quite a satisfying journey at that.
½ May 4, 2012
Plutôt lent et ennuyeux durant la première heure, Hawks nous livre néanmoins une version méconnue mais intéressante et différente de "l'habituelle" conquête de l'Ouest.
½ February 12, 2012
This movie is a great forgotten western. It is one of my favorites.
February 10, 2012
howard hawks directs this action westerner
January 11, 2012
The extended cut of this (or rather the original cut) is quite interesting. However, the quality of the print is so poor due to the fact a 16mm source of the extra footage had to be used. I found it too distracting especially since the film aims for great visuals. As for the film itself, it's an intriguing and often eclectic film that almost prefigures Werner Herzog's Aguirre The Wrath of God at times.
October 28, 2011
Great production, music and lot of characters. Take on indians is this kind of "there are the good indians and bad indiands". I feel the characters would have been a bit more accessible and remain caricatures. Not brilliant but entertaining enough.
February 23, 2011
The Big Sky is a proper boys own adventure and that fact shouldn't be surprising when one knows it was directed by Howard Hawks. The fact that the 'boys' would more likely be Truffaut and Godard rather than the freckled boy scouts of America prove the cinematic drive behind the film is equal to the story it tells. But what a story. Herzog's Fitzcarraldo is only a shade mor epic in scope than this production that was filmed almost in its entirety by the banks of and in the Missouri river from St Louis to the north-west of the country. Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin play mountain men loners Jim Deakins and Boone Caudell who start a friendship that takes them to St Louis to find Boone's uncle Zeb. When they find him, Zeb is on the eve of a great journey into Indian territory with a crew of French traders headed by the charismatic Jourdonnais (Steven Geray) and add the two huntsmen to their crew. Over the next two hours, everything you could expect happens to the boat and its men, along with a burgeoning attraction for the ship's biggest asset, Teal Eye, a member of the Black Crow tribe who the traders are returning to her tribe. Her affections are of course fought most fiercely over by Deakins and Caudell and this is a typically Hawksian device which delivers a near unsolvable problem until brotherhood intervenes and makes things ok again. The best performance in the film is Arthur Hunnicutt as Zeb who plays the Walter Huston role of humorous sage nut all the players are on good form as the film veers from one scrape to the next. Not Hawks' best but one typical of the great director.
February 19, 2011
Bechdel Test Score: 0 out of 3.
½ August 17, 2010
Exceptional Hawks' film with Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin as fur traders making their way up the Missouri River in the 1830s. The film focuses on the relationships between the individual characters - fur traders and Native Americans. The script is drawn from exceptional source material - the AB Guthrie novel of the same name. A treat to watch.
½ August 3, 2010
Un peu daté, un peu long, un peu trop de musique. Mais c'est parce que le film date de 1952. L'amitié est virile, les Indiens ne sont pas si méchants, et les hommes sont toujours aussi avides : de fourrure, d'argent, de femmes. Kirk Douglas est convaincant, le souffle de l'aventure transparaît et l'on est transporté au temps des pionniers.
½ July 26, 2010
Plutôt lent et ennuyeux durant la première heure, Hawks nous livre néanmoins une version méconnue mais intéressante et différente de "l'habituelle" conquête de l'Ouest.
½ March 29, 2010
a thoroughly enjoyable movie. douglas, martin and hunnicutt made a memorable trio. their escapades, albiet, of the era and rough around the edges, were both varied and entertaining. in the rag man's son, douglas recounts his conquest of elizabeth threatt along the river bank during a shooting break. she played the beautiful indian girl tealeye.
Dracula787
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2009
I?ve begun to have my reservations about the works of Howard Hawks, his work always just seems kind of silly to me, especially when compared to what John Ford was doing. This is a pretty good western, but not the greatest. First of all, the film?s treatment of Indians is a little better than some of the other movies of the time (not that much, but a little). Secondly, there?s a lot of good scenery here, and the technical filmmaking is pretty good. All of that makes this worth seeing, but I can?t recommend it too strongly. I just didn?t connect with the story very much, and Kirk Douglass seems a bit out of place in this setting. Also it has a very annoying voice over.
June 15, 2009
The Belcourt, the local independent and classic theater, mentioned in their advertising for this how rare it was, especially to have in a print. Having seen it, I think I understand why. The Big Sky is an almost spectacularly dull film; it's as if it goes out of its way to avoid scenes in which anything interesting happens (at one point, it starts into an action sequence only to cut away to a scene of men cooking), and constantly reminds us of the slow flow of time. Coming from an arthouse director, this might work, but coming from someone like Hawks, who's a blockbuster man, the result is just interminable, especially at 140 minutes long. There's some interesting bits here, especially with the many different languages spoken - it's nice to see a classic Western that lets the French speak in their own language, let alone the Native Americans. And, yes, there's a more realistic, less good/evil take on the relationship with the Native Americans. But none of that makes up for a film that drags on and on, ultimately feeling like it goes nowhere and takes the dullest route to get there.
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