Apache (1954)

86, 87, 89 or 91 mins | Western | July 1954

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Bronco Apache . The picture opens with the following written prologue: "This is the story of Massai, the last Apache warrior. It has been told and re-told until it has become one of the great legends of the Southwest. It began in 1886 with Geronimo's surrender." The first part of the film is based on the historical surrender of Geronimo, chief of a band of Chiricahua Apaches, to U.S. Gen. Nelson Miles on 3 Sep 1886. Following the surrender, the U.S. government violated its agreement and transported nearly 450 Apache men, women and children, some of whom had had no part in Geronimo's escape, from the San Carlos Reservation to Fort Marion and Fort Pickens in Florida.
       Although a HR production chart lists Phil Van Zandt , Morris Ankrum, David Hoffman, John Dehner, Frank Ferguson and Johnny McGough in the cast, their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. According to a 16 Mar 1956 letter written by Robert Aldrich and contained in the Aldrich Collection of the DGA, Aldrich noted that a considerable amount of the social comment in the film was eliminated. According to a modern source, Aldrich wanted to end the film with the U.S. Cavalry shooting Massai in the back but United Artists favored a more peaceful finale. Aldrich filmed both endings, but in the final print, Massai remains unharmed and lives happily ever after.
       According to a NYT news item, production was delayed for one month due to injuries suffered by Burt Lancaster in a riding accident while on location in Sonora, CA. Other location scenes ... More Less

The working title of this film was Bronco Apache . The picture opens with the following written prologue: "This is the story of Massai, the last Apache warrior. It has been told and re-told until it has become one of the great legends of the Southwest. It began in 1886 with Geronimo's surrender." The first part of the film is based on the historical surrender of Geronimo, chief of a band of Chiricahua Apaches, to U.S. Gen. Nelson Miles on 3 Sep 1886. Following the surrender, the U.S. government violated its agreement and transported nearly 450 Apache men, women and children, some of whom had had no part in Geronimo's escape, from the San Carlos Reservation to Fort Marion and Fort Pickens in Florida.
       Although a HR production chart lists Phil Van Zandt , Morris Ankrum, David Hoffman, John Dehner, Frank Ferguson and Johnny McGough in the cast, their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. According to a 16 Mar 1956 letter written by Robert Aldrich and contained in the Aldrich Collection of the DGA, Aldrich noted that a considerable amount of the social comment in the film was eliminated. According to a modern source, Aldrich wanted to end the film with the U.S. Cavalry shooting Massai in the back but United Artists favored a more peaceful finale. Aldrich filmed both endings, but in the final print, Massai remains unharmed and lives happily ever after.
       According to a NYT news item, production was delayed for one month due to injuries suffered by Burt Lancaster in a riding accident while on location in Sonora, CA. Other location scenes were filmed in Sedona, AZ, along the CA-NV state border and at Burro Flats, Solemit Canyon, Vasquez Rocks and the Agoura Ranch in CA. Charles Buchinsky, who played the role of "Hondo," adopted the name Charles Bronson shortly after this film was released. According to a Nov 1960 DV news item describing a 1957 law suit filed on behalf of cinematographer Stanley Cortez, Cortez was fired from the picture and replaced by Leonard Doss. The court ruled that Cortez was entitled to partial pay for his work on the film. The film was ranked twenty-third in Variety 's list of "1954 Box Office Champs." For information about films featuring Al Sieber, a real-life Cavalry scout, See Entry for Arrowhead . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Jul 1954.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jun 54
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1960.
---
Film Daily
7 Jul 54
p. 10.
Harrison's Reports
3 Jul 54
p. 107.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 53
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Jul 54
p. 49.
New York Times
27 Dec 1953.
---
New York Times
10 Jul 54
p. 7.
The Exhibitor
14 Jul 54
pp. 3786-87.
Variety
30 Jun 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Hecht-Lancaster Presentation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
SOUND
Sd eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
STAND INS
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Broncho Apache by Paul I. Wellman (New York, 1936).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Bronco Apache
Release Date:
July 1954
Premiere Information:
Chicago premiere: late June 1954
Production Date:
mid October 1953--mid January 1954 at Keywest Studio
Copyright Claimant:
Linden Productions
Copyright Date:
30 June 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4003
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
1.75:1
Duration(in mins):
86, 87, 89 or 91
Length(in feet):
8,030
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16783
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1886, Geronimo, chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, finally surrenders to the U.S. Cavalry. As he carries a white flag to the victors, however, Massai, a young warrior who refuses to accept surrender, shoots at both the flag and the assembled soldiers. Massai is soon subdued, and as cuffs are placed on his hands, Indian fighter Al Sieber scoffs, "You're not a warrior any more; you're just a whipped Injun." Geronimo, Massai and the other warriors are separated from the women, children and old men of the tribe and herded onto a train bound for Florida. Near St. Louis, the train stops for water, and a photographer takes a picture of the Apaches. As the photographer focuses on Weddle, an Indian hater who falsely claims to have captured Geronimo, Massai quietly slips from the train and begins running. Massai is alternately baffled and fascinated by city life in St. Louis, but he is forced to flee when a group of citizens sees his handcuffs. Massai moves on until, in Oklahoma territory, he meets a Cherokee Indian who owns his own farm. When Massai angrily accuses him of living like a white man, the Cherokee explains that after years of fighting and running, his people finally realized that rather than living on a reservation, the Cherokee must grow their own food and live in peace with the white man. Massai looks skeptical, but as he works his way back to the mountains of New Mexico, the idea begins to take hold. The new chief, Santos, and his daughter Nalinle are surprised when Massai appears in their dwelling. After listening to his ... +


In 1886, Geronimo, chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, finally surrenders to the U.S. Cavalry. As he carries a white flag to the victors, however, Massai, a young warrior who refuses to accept surrender, shoots at both the flag and the assembled soldiers. Massai is soon subdued, and as cuffs are placed on his hands, Indian fighter Al Sieber scoffs, "You're not a warrior any more; you're just a whipped Injun." Geronimo, Massai and the other warriors are separated from the women, children and old men of the tribe and herded onto a train bound for Florida. Near St. Louis, the train stops for water, and a photographer takes a picture of the Apaches. As the photographer focuses on Weddle, an Indian hater who falsely claims to have captured Geronimo, Massai quietly slips from the train and begins running. Massai is alternately baffled and fascinated by city life in St. Louis, but he is forced to flee when a group of citizens sees his handcuffs. Massai moves on until, in Oklahoma territory, he meets a Cherokee Indian who owns his own farm. When Massai angrily accuses him of living like a white man, the Cherokee explains that after years of fighting and running, his people finally realized that rather than living on a reservation, the Cherokee must grow their own food and live in peace with the white man. Massai looks skeptical, but as he works his way back to the mountains of New Mexico, the idea begins to take hold. The new chief, Santos, and his daughter Nalinle are surprised when Massai appears in their dwelling. After listening to his plan of negotiating a "warrior's peace" with the white man, as the Cherokee had done, Nalinle tells Santos that Massai will again breathe life into the tribe. Santos, disheartened and muddled from drinking too much aguardiente, binds and gags Nalinle and then turns Massai over to Sieber. Believing that Nalinle loves a traitorous Apache named Hondo, Massai assumes that she helped her father and vows revenge on them both. Weddle is again ordered to transport Massai and several other Apache men to Florida, but this time, Weddle gives his prisoners an opportunity to run away as an excuse to shoot them all. Massai catches him off guard, however, and the Indians escape. Consumed by hatred, Massai launches a private war against white civilization, destroying telegraph lines, causing cattle stampedes and damaging the fort. The Apache kidnaps Nalinle, forcing her to travel for days without food or water. When Sieber and the soldiers approach, Nalinle warns Massai and he lets her go. Nalinle wants to remain with Massai, but he angrily orders her to return to the reservation. Exhausted and bleeding, she crawls up a hillside after him, whereupon he finally accepts her love. Sieber and his soldiers later find signs of the couple's marriage: Nalinle's beads placed carefully on a rock pile. This deeply disappoints Hondo, who swears that she soon will be a widow. Some time later, Nalinle informs Massai that she is pregnant, and the two decide to spend the winter in the western mountains. Although the mountains offer them refuge from their pursuers, it is bitterly cold, and there is little food. Nalinle tries to persuade Massai to end his war and plant the Cherokee corn, but he protests that because he is the last remaining Apache warrior, he must continue to fight. In the spring, the couple moves to warmer ground, and Nalinle steals more seed corn from the nearby trading post. Angry at first, Massai finally joins her in planting the corn. By this time, the Cavalry wants to call off the search for Massai, but Sieber insists on tracking the Apache. When Sieber learns that an Indian stole seed corn from the local merchant, he contacts the fort for reinforcements. Massai sees the troops coming and returns to the hut just as Nalinle goes into labor. She urges him to go out and die a warrior's death, whereupon he leaves the hut and charges some of the soldiers. Shot in the side, Massai takes refuge among the corn stalks. Sieber crawls in after him, but Massai tricks him and points a gun at his head. Just then, a baby cries, and Massai is mesmerized by the sound. Slowly he returns to the hut, throws down his rifle, and goes in. The colonel remarks that no Apache has ever grown corn before, adding that the war has been called off. Regretfully, Sieber replies that "it was the only war we had." +

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

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