The Indian Fighter (1955)

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    There is 1 reply in this Thread. The last Post () by ethanedwards.

    • The Indian Fighter (1955)




      Plot Summary
      Johnny Hawks, a former Indian fighter, returns to the West after the Civil War.
      He reacquaints himself with the Indian band led by Red Cloud.
      Red Cloud's beautiful daughter has now grown into womanhood...
      Unscrupulous whisky traders are after the gold on Indian land.
      Hawks averts serious bloodshed by convincing Red Cloud to make a treaty...
      Hawks leads an Oregon-bound wagon train through Indian territory.
      When he slips away to see the chief's daughter, trouble between braves
      and whisky traders flares up anew, putting the wagon train and the nearby fort in peril...
      Written by David Woodfield

      Kirk Douglas ... Johnny Hawks
      Elsa Martinelli ... Onahti
      Walter Matthau ... Wes Todd
      Diana Douglas ... Susan Rogers
      Walter Abel ... Captain Trask
      Lon Chaney Jr. ... Chivington (as Lon Chaney)
      Eduard Franz ... Red Cloud
      Alan Hale Jr. ... Will Crabtree (as Alan Hale)
      Elisha Cook Jr. ... Briggs (as Elisha Cook)
      Ray Teal ... Morgan
      Frank Cady ... Trader Joe
      Michael Winkelman ... Tommy Rogers
      William Phipps ... Lt. Blake
      Harry Landers ... Grey Wolf / Captain Trask Attaché
      Hank Worden ... Crazy Bear / Guardhouse Keeper
      and more...

      André De Toth ... (as Andre de Toth)

      Writing Credits
      Robert L. Richards ... (story) (as Ben Kadish)
      Frank Davis ... (screenplay)
      Ben Hecht ... (screenplay)

      Samuel P. Norton ... associate producer
      William Schorr ... producer
      Kirk Douglas ... executive producer (uncredited)

      Franz Waxman

      Wilfred M. Cline ... director of photography (as Wilfrid M. Cline)

      Kirk Douglas did most of his own horse riding and, at one point,
      broke his nose attempting a stunt that called for him to make his horse fall.
      Instead of leaning back in the saddle when yanking the horse's head around to the side,
      Douglas leaned forward and took the full force of the horse's heavy head right in the face.

      Hank Worden, who has a substantial role as the Indian Crazy Bear,
      also does a cameo appearance as the jailer at the cavalry fort guardhouse;
      likewise, Harry Landers plays both Grey Wolf and also one of Captain Trask's attachés.
      In Worden's case, the deception is aided by having him dubbed when he plays Crazy Bear,
      while using his own voice as the jailer.
      (Perhaps not coincidentally, three years earlier, Worden played another crazy Indian
      with a dubbed voice in another Kirk Douglas vehicle, "The Big Sky.")

      First feature from Kirk Douglas' then new production company, Bryna, named for his mother

      John Wayne turned down the lead and a payday of $400,000.

      There are three "Juniors" in the cast--Lon Chaney, Alan Hale and Elisha Cook--
      though by this time all three had dropped the appellation from their billing.

      The flaming arrow special effects were created by Ted V. Mikels,
      who appeared as both an Indian and a soldier.

      The casting of Onahti (the Indian girl) turned out to be much more difficult than first anticipated.
      Though there were a number of unsuccessful auditions, it wasn't until Kirk Douglas'
      wife Anne Douglas spotted a model in "Vogue" magazine that the production
      knew they had their leading lady.
      Her name was Elsa Martinelli, an Italian model on the verge of becoming an international star.
      Douglas, in his autobiography "The Ragman's Son", describes how he and Matinelli
      had constant sex during the filming of the movie. So much for gratitude.

      Average Shot Length (ASL) = 6.8 seconds, fast for an early CinemaScope film.

      In the beginning of the film, after Red Cloud shows to Johnny Hawks two men hung by the feet,
      Hawks stands talking to Red Cloud and Grey Wolf.
      Then his hands appears either grabbing the holster or by his sides,
      alternately, when it cuts from one shot to another.

      Right before the Indians tie Todd to the tree with the intention of burning him,
      he's having a conversation with Johnny. During this conversation,
      Johnny's left arm repeatedly changes positions, from being stretched out against the tree,
      to holding his hat in front of him and back to stretched out against the tree.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Bend, Oregon, USA

      Watch the Movie

      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • The Indian Fighter is a 1955 American CinemaScope and Technicolor Western film directed by
      Andre DeToth and based upon an original story by Robert L. Richards.
      The film was the first of star Kirk Douglas's Bryna Productions
      that was released through United Artists.
      The film co-stars Elsa Martinelli, Walter Matthau, Lon Chaney, Jr.
      and Kirk Douglas's wife of the time Diana Douglas.

      Apart from Kirk Douglas, Look out for Duke's, 'Pals', Lon Chaney Jr. and Hank Worden

      User Review

      Exciting and Colorful Outdoor Adventure
      23 October 2001 | by bsmith5552(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

      bsmith wrote:

      "The Indian Fighter" was filmed entirely in the outdoor beauty of Oregon. The scenery and color are breathtaking. The action scenes are expertly staged and executed, particularly the Indian attack on the fort.

      Kirk Douglas stars in the title role as a scout who is hired to guide a wagon train through Indian Territory to Oregon. Walter Matthau (in an early role) and Lon Chaney (wasted again) play the villains of the piece who start up an Indian war by trying to steal gold from their land. Eduard Franz plays Red Cloud the Sioux chief who tries to keep the white man from encroaching on his people's land.

      Elsa Martinelli is an Indian maiden who becomes Douglas' main love interest and Diana Douglas (Kirk's wife at the time and mother of MIchael) plays a settler woman with designs on Kirk but who has to settle for hard-working Alan Hale instead. I wonder how Diana Douglas felt about Kirk rolling around in a creek with Ms. Martinelli?

      Rounding out the cast are a number of familiar faces. Walter Abel plays the army captain, Elisha Cook a frontier photographer and Ray Teal, Frank Cady and Lane Chandler as various settlers.

      "The Indian Fighter" rises a step above similar westerns through its beautiful scenery and exciting action sequences. It is a truly exciting and colorful outdoor adventure.
      Best Wishes
      London- England