Captain Apache (1971)

GP | 94-95 mins | Western | 1971

Director:

Alexander Singer

Cinematographer:

John Cabrera

Editor:

Irving Lerner

Production Designer:

Julio Molina

Production Company:

Benmar Productions, Ltd.
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HISTORY

Before the title card and opening credits, three cards appear, presenting in order the following proverbs: “The only good Indian is a dead Indian. Paleface saying.” "The only good paleface is a dead paleface. Indian saying.” and “Love thy neighbor. Source forgotten.” The title song is three verses of a mock ballad spoken by Lee Van Cleef over a montage of shots that will take place later in the film. During each occurrence of the song’s chorus, some credits appear. The action of the story begins with the third verse of the song, which is reprised about midway in the film. Most of the cast and crew credits appear after the film, during which Van Cleef sings a second song, "April Morning." During the film, several narrated flashbacks and a drug-produced hallucination are shown, often in slow motion and with tinted lighting.
       Actor Dee Pollock is listed in the onscreen credits as D. Pollock. The character played by Luis Induni is named “Ezekiel Collier” in the studio’s publicity material, but the name appears as “Harry T. Collier” on a sign in the film. Although the 3rd assistant director’s name appears as Adolfo Aristarain in the onscreen credits, HR production charts and Filmfacts list his name as Aristan.
       In Jan 1967, Publishers Weekly reported that Palomar Pictures International held film rights to the two novels that featured the “Captain Apache” character and that they were suggested by actual events. The novels were about an Indian boy who enlists in the U.S. Army during the Civil War and later serves as ... More Less

Before the title card and opening credits, three cards appear, presenting in order the following proverbs: “The only good Indian is a dead Indian. Paleface saying.” "The only good paleface is a dead paleface. Indian saying.” and “Love thy neighbor. Source forgotten.” The title song is three verses of a mock ballad spoken by Lee Van Cleef over a montage of shots that will take place later in the film. During each occurrence of the song’s chorus, some credits appear. The action of the story begins with the third verse of the song, which is reprised about midway in the film. Most of the cast and crew credits appear after the film, during which Van Cleef sings a second song, "April Morning." During the film, several narrated flashbacks and a drug-produced hallucination are shown, often in slow motion and with tinted lighting.
       Actor Dee Pollock is listed in the onscreen credits as D. Pollock. The character played by Luis Induni is named “Ezekiel Collier” in the studio’s publicity material, but the name appears as “Harry T. Collier” on a sign in the film. Although the 3rd assistant director’s name appears as Adolfo Aristarain in the onscreen credits, HR production charts and Filmfacts list his name as Aristan.
       In Jan 1967, Publishers Weekly reported that Palomar Pictures International held film rights to the two novels that featured the “Captain Apache” character and that they were suggested by actual events. The novels were about an Indian boy who enlists in the U.S. Army during the Civil War and later serves as troubleshooter in the Southwest, but who is shunned by Indians and looked down upon by the mainstream culture. Although Publishers Weekly reported that Polomar intended for the novels to be the source of at least one feature film and a television series, Captain Apache was the only adaptation of the novels.
       A Feb 1969 DV news item reported that Dimitri de Grunwald of London Screenways planned to produce Captain Apache as one of eight films that would be distributed by an international distribution consortium, which was set up in Jul 1968 and involved thirty-four countries. According to the news item, the film would be the first film to be made in the U.S. with British money and would be produced by Milton Sperling and star Yul Brynner and Richard Widmark. An Apr 1969 DV reported that British financier Morgan Grenfell was Grunwald’s partner and that the film would be made in either Mexico or New Mexico. An Aug 1969 HR news item reported that Milton Sperling had signed Gerald Gaiser as screenwriter, and that the film would be a Motion Pictures International--Dimitri de Grunwald Production. Gaiser was not listed in the onscreen credits and his contribution to the final film, if any, has not been confirmed.
       According to a Nov 1970 Box news item, Scotia International, which was formed in 1970 by financier Bobby Marmor and filmmakers S. Benjamin Fisz, Bob Goldstein and Philip Yordan, would produce Captain Apache , marking the company's second film. An Oct 1970 DV news item reported that Benmar Productions was a subsidiary of Scotia.
Captain Apache was shot at the then-new Estudios Madrid 70, in Madrid, Spain. Modern sources add Max Slaten and Victor Israel to the cast. Both HR and Var reviews described the humor of the film as intentionally "tongue-in-cheek." The Var review stated the film seemed to parody the conventions of the Western genre and that "the script and direction demand that the characters be played for laughs." Captain Apache marked the final feature film of Sperling, who subsequently produced television progams and who died in 1988. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Nov 1970.
---
Cue
6 Nov 1971.
---
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1969.
---
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1969.
---
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1969.
---
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1970.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1970.
---
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 581-82.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1970
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1971
p. 11.
New York Times
28 Oct 1971.
---
Publishers Weekly
23 Jan 1967.
---
Variety
20 Oct 1971
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3rd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Focus asst
Stills cam
Chief grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Des asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward master
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp
Cond and arr
Guitar solo
SOUND
Sd ed
Assoc sd ed
Ed asst
Rec
Mixing rec
Boom op
Rec eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Chief of spec eff
Spec eff man
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Prod asst
Prod secy
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novels Captain Apache and Change of Command by S. E. Whitman (New Jersey, 1965 and 1966).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Captain Apache" and "April Morning," music by Dolores Claman, lyrics by Richard Morris.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 26 October 1971
Production Date:
9 November 1970--early March 1971 at Estudios Madrid 70, Madrid, Spain
Copyright Claimant:
Scotia International Film Distributors, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
10 October 1971
Copyright Number:
LP40969
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor London
Widescreen/ratio
Franscope
Lenses/Prints
Fotofilm Madrid
Duration(in mins):
94-95
MPAA Rating:
GP
Countries:
United Kingdom, Spain, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After Harry T. Collier, a beloved commissioner of Indian Affairs, is murdered in late March during the1880s, Captain Apache, an Indian graduate of West Point, is assigned by the army to investigate the crime. Suspecting that O.J., the sheriff of a town bordering the reservation may be involved in the killing, Apache travels there and finds the sheriff dining with his mistress Maude at the Paradise Saloon. Before Apache can question him, however, O.J. abruptly departs and rides out of town with Apache in pursuit. When Apache apprehends him, O.J. swears that he did not kill Collier and relates that the agent’s dying words were “April Morning.” Meanwhile, Griffin, a wealthy landowner and six of his henchman deliver guns across the border to a corrupt Mexican general who is bent on overtaking the province by force. When Griffin then demands that the general now “fulfill his part of the bargain,” the general orders him killed, unaware that his lieutenant, Sanchez is in Griffin’s employ. Rather than killing Griffin, Sanchez shoots the general, and after promoting himself to the post, promises Griffin that he will cross the border in time for “April Morning.” When O.J. is found murdered, Apache questions Maude, who reveals that O.J. traveled to a Mexican cantina monthly. Apache then rides to the cantina, where he is met by a cavalry patrol led by Sgt. O’Rourke. Upon learning that the cantina owner has recently been killed, Apache demands that the man’s widow, Rosita, take him to Rodriguez, her husband’s employer. Rosita then introduces Apache to a Mexican sergeant who allegedly knows where Rodriguez can be found. ... +


After Harry T. Collier, a beloved commissioner of Indian Affairs, is murdered in late March during the1880s, Captain Apache, an Indian graduate of West Point, is assigned by the army to investigate the crime. Suspecting that O.J., the sheriff of a town bordering the reservation may be involved in the killing, Apache travels there and finds the sheriff dining with his mistress Maude at the Paradise Saloon. Before Apache can question him, however, O.J. abruptly departs and rides out of town with Apache in pursuit. When Apache apprehends him, O.J. swears that he did not kill Collier and relates that the agent’s dying words were “April Morning.” Meanwhile, Griffin, a wealthy landowner and six of his henchman deliver guns across the border to a corrupt Mexican general who is bent on overtaking the province by force. When Griffin then demands that the general now “fulfill his part of the bargain,” the general orders him killed, unaware that his lieutenant, Sanchez is in Griffin’s employ. Rather than killing Griffin, Sanchez shoots the general, and after promoting himself to the post, promises Griffin that he will cross the border in time for “April Morning.” When O.J. is found murdered, Apache questions Maude, who reveals that O.J. traveled to a Mexican cantina monthly. Apache then rides to the cantina, where he is met by a cavalry patrol led by Sgt. O’Rourke. Upon learning that the cantina owner has recently been killed, Apache demands that the man’s widow, Rosita, take him to Rodriguez, her husband’s employer. Rosita then introduces Apache to a Mexican sergeant who allegedly knows where Rodriguez can be found. Unaware that the sergeant is Rodriguez disguised as a soldier, Apache follows him to a church where the priest claims that Rodriguez has claimed sanctuary and is therefore immune to the law. To gain access to the church, Apache purchases a coffin and has it delivered to the sanctuary, but when the undertaker informs Rodriguez that Apache is hiding inside the coffin, Rodriguez arranges for the coffin to be buried after a hasty funeral. When the priest, who is actually one of Rodriguez’s cohorts posing as a cleric, returns to the church, he finds Apache waiting for him there. After Apache forces the priest to reveal that Collier was killed because he knew about “April Morning,” Apache casually suggests that the coffin be unearthed. Inside is Rodriguez, who once rescued, shoots the priest. With his leads exhausted, Apache tracks down the Indians under Collier’s jurisdiction, who although they are innocent of killing the agent, have gone into hiding for fear that they will be blamed for his death. Before answering his questions, the Indians demand that Apache remove his uniform. Once he strips to his loincloth, however, they refuse to let him leave, fearing that he will disclose their hiding place. Rescued by Moon and Snake, two Indians who work for Griffin, Apache is taken back to the Paradise, where Griffin demands to be told the meaning of “April Morning.” After Apache convinces him that he does not know the significance of the phrase, Griffin offers to frame Snake and Moon for Collier’s murder. Their conversation is interrupted by J. P. Soams, who claims that he came from Tucson after receiving a message about “April Morning.” When Soams refuses to divulge the meaning of the term, Griffin kills him. Later, Maude, who has become attracted to Apache, tells him that Freddy, the town’s telegraph operator, sent for Soams. Meanwhile, at the telegraph office, Moon and Snake have murdered Freddy to prevent him from talking, and when they encounter Apache on his way there, they drug him, hoping that in his drug-induced state he will reveal the meaning of Collier’s last words. Instead, Apache envisions that Collier was killed by O. J. and his deputies. After being revived by Moon and Snake, Apache escapes, and when Moon and Snake pursue him, he kills them both. When the deputies discover that Apache intends to arrest them for murder, they ride across to the border to ask for Sanchez’s help, but Sanchez, who is afraid the deputies will reveal the circumstances of Collier’s death, kills them instead. Apache, who has secretly followed them, witnesses the murder and wonders why Sanchez wanted them dead. Apache then returns to Paradise, arriving on the last night of March. Soon after, Gen. Ryland arrives and congratulates Apache for solving Collier’s murder. When Apache informs the general that the meaning of Collier’s last words is still unknown, Ryland dismisses his concerns and grants him leave. Determined to unravel the mystery, Apache proceeds to the telegraph office in order to investigate. He finds O’Rourke guarding the office, and after knocking him out, finds a telegram addressed to Maude hidden in O’Rourke’s pocket. When Apache shows Maude the telegram, containing the message “April morning on schedule,” Maude claims that she never received a copy, but if she had, she would have passed it along to Griffin. Later that night, Apache follows Griffin as he boards a train bound for Tucson. Also on the train are Maude, O’Rourke, Rodriguez, Rosita, Sanchez and Ryland. When the train stops to add a private car, Apache spots Sanchez riding away with his band of Mexicans dressed as Indians and discovers that the name painted on the car is “April Morning.” After the train continues on its journey, Apache discovers that the passengers have debarked and sees a headline on an abandoned newspaper reporting that President Ulysses S. Grant is touring the Southwest. When O’Rourke unexpectedly attacks Apache, Apache kills him, then climbs across the top of the train and looks down into the private car, where he sees Ryland with several distinguished looking gentlemen. Apache climbs into the car, and after Ryland admits that Grant is on the train, Apache surmises that Griffin arranged for the Mexicans to assassinate the president and place the blame on the Indians, and that Collier was murdered because he uncovered the plot. Ryland, who is in on the assassination attempt, then tries to kill Apache, but is shot by Maude, who has turned against Griffin. Maude takes Apache to the car where Griffin and his henchman are donning Indian clothing. In the ensuing fight, Apache kills Griffin and several of his henchmen but collapses before he can fend off the attack by Sanchez and his men. The bandits are surprised, however, when the door of a baggage car slides open and soldiers concealed inside the car begin to fire their Gatling guns, forcing Sanchez to surrender. Upon reviving, Apache learns that Grant, aware that there would be an attempt on his life, remained in Tucson while a decoy took his place on the train. Collier’s replacement then explains that once the Indians were blamed for Grant’s assassination, Griffin intended to buy up all their reservation land at bargain prices. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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