The Indian Fighter (1955)

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    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)

    Best Wishes
    London- England