headernacouk2.jpg


Film Review:Day of the Evil Gun,
Jerry Thorpe, 1968

'You ever kill a man?' Warfield
'Why?' Forbes
'Well, suppose before this thing is over, you have to kill a few Indians?' Warfield
'I'll manage. It's not the same thing as men gunning
each other down in the middle of the street.' Forbes

'Glenn Ford will impart a note of realism, intensity and ambiguity
to the most simple moral tale'
Philip French, Westerns, 1988, p37


Day of the Evil Gun, Jerry Thorpe, 1968


Back to:
Home
Film

Film Review:Day of the Evil Gun,
Jerry Thorpe, 1968

This is well worth watching, for it is a well acted and plausible story which, like The Searchers, The Missing and Two Rode Together, explores the theme of the rescue of white women captives from their native American abductors.

Like the others this film is an odyssey type of Western in which the main characters develop in relation to each other during their interplay. When Warfield ( Glenn Ford) returns home after a few years' absence he finds his wife and children missing. Owen Forbes ( Arthur Kennedy), his neighbour, informs him that they have been kidnapped by Apaches two months previously. He also tells Warfield that he was to have married Angie as she had given up on Warfield for dead.

As the plot develops one senses that once Angie finds out that Warfield is very much alive then Forbes will be out of the equation. Warfield, a grizzled ex gunman, is a hard nut, tired of gunslinging but unafraid to track his wife into Apache country. In contrast Forbes is a leech, clinging to Warfield in the desperate belief that Angie will reject Warfield in favour of him. He exploits Warfield's gritty determination and streetwise experience to search for the missing family.

The characters develop well during a series of scrapes including brushes with the Apache. The Apache act in a controlled but cruel manner which is much more consistent with what one might expect than the usual mindless savage of the Hollywood stereotype. They react rationally in pursuing a wagon containing arms rather than incomprehensibly attacking for no particular reason as in countless other films like Winchester '73.

However, they are still the stereotypical faceless Indians whose characters are not developed in any way. It is the white characters that are developed. The Apache remain the White Man's Indian, they act in unison as background figures, their fearsome facelessness corresponding to the term 'otherness'. While this is disappointing and unacceptable, otherwise the film is a very good one.The ending has a great twist.




Back to:
Home
Film


If you have a question or comment click here.


E-Mail



urlhttp://www.nativeamerican.co.uk
Chris Smallbone February 2009

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional