|THE HALF-BREED (director: Stuart Gilmore; screenwriters: Charles Hoffman/Harold Shumate/Richard Wormser/novel by Robert Hardy Andrews; cinematographer: William V. Skal; editor: Sam Beetley; music: Paul Sawtel; cast: Robert Young (Dan Craig), Jack Buetel (Charlie Wolf), Reed Hadley (Frank Crawford), Janis Carter (Helen Dowling), Barton MacLane (Marshal), Tom Monroe (Russell), Connie Gilchrist (Ma Higgins). Damian O'Flynn (Capt. Jackson), Porter Hall (Kraemer), Sammy White (Willy Wayne), Judy Walsh (Nah-Lin); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Herman Schlom; RKO; 1952)|
well-intentioned but inept attempt to show
Indians as victims of white man's deceits."
by Dennis Schwartz
well-intentioned but inept attempt to show Indians
as victims of white man's deceits. The easy to watch
in lush Technicolor western is derivative of Broken
Arrow (1950). Former editor Stuart Gilmore ("The
Virginian"/"Target"/"Hot Lead") directed only five
feature films, this might be his only miss. The
liberal pic is routine, predictable and listless. The
titled character is wooden in his half-breed role. The
former Billy the Kid opposite Jane Russell, would soon
retire from acting to sell insurance in Oregon. The
dialogue written by Charles Hoffman, Harold
Shumate and Richard Wormser is trite. It's
based on the novel by Robert Hardy Andrews.
go west in droves after the Civil War. In the peaceful
dusty town of San Remo, Arizona, the unscrupulous
businessman Frank Crawford (Reed Hadley)
pines for the valuable land of the reservation Indians
because there's rumored to be gold buried in its
hills. He schemes to start an Indian uprising so the
Indians will break their peace treaty and give him the
opportunity to seize their land. When Crawford
arranged for the crooked Indian agent (Porter Hall) to
not provide the reservation with their promised
monthly shipment of food by the government, the
half-breed Charlie Wolf (Jack Buetel)
stops his Apache tribe from going to war with the
whites and comes to town to talk to the white leaders
for a peaceful solution. The only one Charlie trusts
to pow-wow with is the newly arrived drifter big-time
gambler, an ex-Confederate major, Dan Craig (Robert
Young), who arranges for the calvary
to appoint a new Indian agent.
subplot has Craig and gorgeous traveling show girl, Helen Dowling
(Janis Carter), begin a romance and make plans to some
day meet in San Francisco. Craig is busy helping
Charlie Wolf avert an Indian war, and shows us his
card, gun, lover boy and people skills. But things
look bad when Crawford murders Charlie's sister (Judy
Walsh) and an Indian uprising seems
inevitable. It's up to the gambler to come up with a
winning hand to save the day.
Barton MacLane is an agreeable marshal. Damian O'Flynn is the honest cavalry leader. Tom Monroe is the dim-witted goon used by the villain to instigate the Apaches to attack.
REVIEWED ON 3/25/2015 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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