Simple and acceptable Indian Western compellingly starred by Kirk Douglas and decently directed by Andre De Toth . It deals with an explorer called Johnny Hawks (Kirk Douglas) leading a wagon train through hostile Indian country to Oregon , 1870 . Johnny unwittingly gets involved with a Sioux chief's (Edward Franz) daughter (Elsa Martinelli) . But unscrupulous whisky traders (Walter Matthau , Lon Chaney Jr) are after the gold on Sioux land , as they blackmail Indians and subsequently originate friction . Hawks attempts to make peace with the Indian leader but a secret Sioux gold mine causes dispute and treason . Johnny tries to warn a fort of an imminent raid by the Sioux and the detachment mistake him for one of the renegades . In the Old west there are always the men who live breathe violence and the women who hold their breath .
This exciting picture tells the story of a upright scout called Johnny Hawks , finely played by the great Kirk Douglas . The film packs the sweep of ¨Red River¨, the drama of ¨High noon¨ , the violence of ¨Shane¨ and the might of Kirk Douglas as a two-fisted ¨Indian Fighter¨. Noisy action , romance between Douglas/Martinelli , thrills , fights , wonderful outdoors , all of them keep things lively . Interesting as well as stirring screenplay by Robert Richards , Frank Davis and prestigious Ben Hecht , Billy Wilder's usual . This undemanding western is plenty of suspense as the dreaded final Indian attack approaches and the protagonist realizes he must stand alone against impossible odds and nobody is willing to help him but they pursue him , while he attempts to clear his name as wrongfully accused as traitor . This enjoyable tale is almost rudimentary though full of clichés , a good guy come to narration is almost adjusted in real time from the starring arrives in the fort commanded by a tough Captain , nicely performed by Walter Abel , until the ending confrontation , when they are besieged by Indians ; as Douglas/Hawks is given a limited time to resolve the accusation as a Sioux's friend , and consequently a treacherous . The highlights of the film are the facing off between Douglas and his enemies , Walter Matthaw and Lon Chaney Jr , and the climatic confrontation on the final . Phenomenal and great role for Kirk Douglas as tough guy , he's the whole show , he plays a scout hired to lead a wagon train to Oregon . He gives a perfect acting as craggy , violent and uncompromising figure . Kirk did most of his own horse riding and, at one point , broke his nose attempting a stunt that called for him to make his horse fall . The casting of Onahti , the Indian girl , resulted out to be much more difficult than first anticipated . Though there were a number of unsuccessful auditions , it wasn't until Kirk Douglas' wife spotted a model in "Vogue" magazine that the production knew they had their leading lady , her name was Elsa Martinelli . Very good support cast , many of them usual in Western , such as Walter Matthau , Diana Douglas who married Kirk Douglas , Walter Abel , Lon Chaney Jr. , Eduard Franz , Alan Hale Jr. , Elisha Cook Jr. , Ray Teal , Frank Cady and Hank Worden in a doublé role as Crazy Bear / Guardhouse Keeper ; likewise , Harry Landers plays both Grey Wolf and also one of Captain Trask's attachés . Made in enough budget by producer William Schorr , it is an efficient film and very entertaining . The picture contains an excellent cinematography in CinemaScope , print by Technicolor by Wilfred Cline , being shot on location in Bend , Oregon , including gorgeous landscapes . Thrilling and appropriate musical score by Franz Waxman .
This typical Western was professionally directed by Andre De Toth . Being first feature from Kirk Douglas' then new production company, Bryna, named for his mother . At his beginnings De Toth entered the Hungarian film industry, obtaining work as a writer, editor , second unit director and actor before finally becoming a director. He directed a few films just before the outbreak of WW II, when he fled to England . Alexander Korda gave him a job there, and when De Toth emigrated to the US in 1942 , Korda got him a job as a second unit director on Jungle Book (1942) . Andre De Toth was a classical director , Western usual (Indian fighter, Man in the saddle , Ramrod , Last of Comanches , The stranger wore a gun), but also made Peplum (Gold for the Caesar) and adventure (The Mongols , Morgan the pirate , Tanganyika) . Probably his best known film is House of wax (1953), a Vincent Price horror film shot in 3D .
The Indian Fighter
The Indian Fighter
Johnny Hawks, a former Indian fighter, returns to the West after the Civil War. He reacquaints himself with the Indian band led by Red Cloud. Red Cloud's beautiful daughter has now grown into womanhood... Unscrupulous whisky traders are after the gold on Indian land. Hawks averts serious bloodshed by convincing Red Cloud to make a treaty... Hawks leads an Oregon-bound wagon train through Indian territory. When he slips away to see the chief's daughter, trouble between braves and whisky traders flares up anew, putting the wagon train and the nearby fort in peril...
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