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Soldier Blue
Das Wiegenlied vom Totschlag

USA 1970
produced by
Gabriel Katzka, Harold Loeb, Joseph E. Levine (executive) for Katzka Loeb, AVCO Embassy
directed by Ralph Nelson
starring Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, Donald Pleasence, John Anderson, Jorge Rivero, Dana Elcar, Bob Carraway, Martin West, James Hampton, Mort Mills, Jorge Russek, Aurora Clavel, Ralph nelson, Ron Fletcher, Barbara Turner, Marco Antonio Arzate, Conrad Hool, Lance Hool
screenplay by John Gay, based on the novel Arrow in the Sun by Theodore V.Olsen, music by Roy Budd

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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1864: The Cheyenne have just attacked a money transport and killed pretty much everybody only to get their hands on the money (which they need to buy weapons from white arms dealers). Only two whites have survived the massacre, Honus (Peter Strauss), a naive soldier, and Cresta (Candice Bergen), a woman who has lived with the Cheyenne for years and has learned to fend for herself.

The two of them decide to head for the next fort, and much of the screentime is spent with showing just how naive and unused to life in the wilderness Honus is and how capable of simply surviving Cresta is in contrast. Of course the two eventually fall in love, even though he can't let go of his belief that all the Indians are savages while she is always sympathetic to the Indians' cause - which makes her a traitor in his eyes.

Eventually, the two of them bump into a trader, Q.Cumber (Donald Pleasence), who turns out to be an arms dealer the Cheyenne buy from. But when Honus and Cresta find that out, Q.Cumber sees no other alternative than to tie them up. Of course they manage to free themselves, and Honus blows up his wagon full of guns - which prompts Q.Cumber to try and hunt them down, and he even manages to shoot Honus in the leg before Cresta - always the handy girl - finds a hide-out for the two of them. Not able to find them, Q.Cumber eventually gives up his search.

Eventually, Cresta decides she will try to make it to the fort alone to fetch help - but when at the fort, she learns about a plan to attack the Cheyenne the very next day, and thus heads for the Cheyenne village to warn them. and she is taken seriously too, since she was once the wife of their chieftain Spotted Wolf (Jorge Rivero), who actually wants nothing but peace.

In the meantime, Honus has found a horse and has made it to the fort as well, and when he hears about Col. Iverson's (John Anderson) plans to attack the Cheyenne, he tries to (unsuccessfully) dissuade him from it, all of a sudden being sympathetic to the Indians' cause (don't ask what made him change his mind, please).

Even though chief Spotted Wolf carried a white flag and an American flag when approaching the enemy to avoid any kind of bloodshed, the army attacks the Cheyenne village quite brutally, indiscrimintately killing men (including Spotted Wolf), women and children, plus doing a bit of raping on the side and ultimately setting the village on fire, all while Honus is running through the battleground sobbing and shouting "Why ? Why ?", but seemingly nobody cares to attack him.

In the end, both Honus and Cresta have survived the massacre, but Honus has now become a prisoner to his own army, while Cresta has decided to stay with what's left of the Cheyenne, and ... the end.

 


A post-modern, revisiionist Western that wants to come across as oh-so-intelligent: Here most of the roles are pretty much reversed, It's the Indians who are the good guys while the US army is a bunch of no-good invaders, rapists and killers, and it's the female who is well-adapted to life in the wilderness (and who swears and burps a lot) while the male wouldn't survive a single hour on his own. Now don't get me wrong, these are messages I can totally support - but the film tries to hammer them home in such a relentless and at the same time superficial and clichéd manner that it before long becomes nothing short of annoying - made all the worse by the fact that most of the film is just Candice Bergen and Peter Strauss walking and talking, and let's face it, both of them are not all that great actors, and they are totally not helped by some truly blatant dialogue. Donald Pleasence adds some colour to the proceedings, but unfortunately his role is much too small to save much. True, there are two well-staged massacre scenes inthe film, one at the beginning the other at the end, but everything that happens in between is about as boring as it is annoying ...

Not worth your time and money.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD