Broken Arrow (Daves, 1950)

Broken Arrow (Delmer Daves, 1950)

What this western lacks in depth, it makes up for in story. What I most enjoy about classic westerns nowadays that I had never noticed in my younger moving watching years are the subtle layers of character detail and actions. This movie mostly stays on the surface level. There’s a nice establishment of the central conflict as we see early on (thanks to Ernest Palmer’s great cinematography) just how much brutal hate there is between this film’s set of cowboys and Indians. What results is a realistic amount of non-traditional and unforced tension later on. Unfortunately, once we move past that tension, characters’ actions are a result of where the plot needs to move and it’s painfully obvious how unimportant actual human behavior is going to be. But the story of a man fed up with violence and hatred who takes a big risk of both physical danger and potential backlash from his own people to put a stop to it (and begins a cute little romantic relationship along the way) was entertaining and enough of a step away from the norm to be captivating despite the flaws.  8/10

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