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The Deerslayer

USA 1957
produced by
Kurt Neumann for 20th Century Fox
directed by Kurt Neumann
starring Lex Barker, Rita Moreno, Forrest Tucker, Cathy O'Donnell, Jay C. Flippen, Carlos Rivas, Joseph Vitale, John Halloran, Addison Richards
screenplay by Carroll Young, Kurt Neumann, Dalton Trumbo (uncredited), based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper, music by Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter

Hawkeye, Deerslayer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Roaming the woods, Deerslayer (Lex Barker) and Chingachgook (Carlos Rivas) happen upon a trader, Harry (Forrest Tucker), who's attacked by Hurons, and they manage to save him. Harry tells them that he's on the way to Tom Hutter's (Jay C. Flippen) "fort" to bring supplies and hopefully get away with one of his daughters, Judith (Cathy O'Donnell). Feeling that Hutter's place might be in danger due to the Hurons apparently heading its way, Deerslayer and Chingachgook decide to help. At the fort, they meet Hutter, who's an uncorrigible racist who makes his living catching Indians in beartraps and scalping them, and his lovely daughters Judith and Hetty (Rita Moreno) - who eventually proves to be of Indian blood whom Hutter has stolen when she was a baby as companion for Judith. The Hurons eventually attack, but basically because they want the scalps of their fallen warriors back. The attack can we warded off, but Hutter gets captured, to be tortured to death, but Deerslayer tries to trade in his life for the scalps - only Harry tries to take off with the scalps, putting Deerslayer's rescue mission in danger. The finale has a shootout betweeen Deerslayer and his party on one side, the Hurons on the other, with Harry ultimately redeeming himself by dying a hero's death when he brings the cannon from the fort to turn the fight in Deerslayer and company's favour ...


Nothing great let alone memorable, mainly your by-the-numbers Western that was made on a modest budget but that moves along swiftly enough to at least entertain - but on the other hand downplays the darker (and more interesting) elements of the material (like Hutter's scalping habits) to deliver a streamlined story that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. It's of some interest though to see Lex Barker play Deerslayer, which was a literary model for his most iconic role (at least in German language countries), Old Shatterhand in the Winnetou movies.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD