Directed by: Alf Kjellin
Starring: Burl Ives, Brock Peters, David Carradine
Wow, this movie had both David Carradine and his wrinkly old father John Carradine! David plays a native american and John plays a white priest, but still. I wonder how many other movies the both of them had been in together? Too bad IMDb doesn’t have a cross-referencing tool, that’d be really handy. Also, you get some bonus Jack Palance as an angry one-armed Confederate soldier. Nice.
Brock Peters, a black Union soldier, comes back home to The South after the Civil War is over and buys some land from his adoptive father (Ives). None of the racist white guys around want to work his land, so he hires some local native americans, and even marries one of them. Racist guys just can’t resist that combination, though, and do all sorts of horrible beating and raping and torturing stuff to the happy couple, which forces Peters to retaliate by killing them. After he barely survives one such attack, he tries to get the indians to help him get back his land, and they refuse, telling him that he really is a “white man” who just doesn’t get the message they’ve been trying to get through to him the whole movie about how the land owns people, not the other way around.
This was an all right movie, I guess. I like Brock Peters, even though he’s usually just a character actor who does “angry black senator”, and the rape and torture scenes are actually really uncomfortable and realistic feeling, which is what you should be trying to do with a movie like this. I guess my problem was that there are just so many films with this same basic premise, The McMasters didn’t feel like it really contributed anything new or interesting to the genre. I don’t know how it was in 1970 when the film came out or anything, but from the only perspective I have, it didn’t seem that different. Racism is bad, I think is what they were trying to say.
So, that’s the end of my Burl Ives challenge! What did I learn about the rotund old man? Well, he pretty much just plays fat old guys and he can act pretty well. I’ve certainly learned a lot today.