Thursday, 13 June 2013
Fort Apache 
Fort Apache was the first chapter in John Ford’s renowned ‘Cavalry Trilogy’, the ambitious saga based on James Warner Bellah’s stories that chronicled the armed territorial struggles between the US Cavalry and Native Indians from the former’s point of view. Arguably the best of the lot, it depicted a devastating self-destructive battle led by a stubborn and blinded commander of a post, only for him to be, ironically, labeled as a great hero by the media upon his death courtesy an honorable lie. In that respect one might draw parallels with Ford’s marvelous myth-breaking The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday (Henry Fonda), a decorated and vainglorious veteran of the Civil War, is assigned, much to his disdain, the command of the far-flung outpost of Fort Apache. The men, both commissioned and otherwise, had expected the practical and respected Captain Kirby York (John Wayne) to be given the job, but acquiesce to Thursday’s stern presence. The opportunity for a much needed peace with the Indians arrives on account of Kirby’s intervention; however, Thursday’s quench for war takes precedence over Kirby’s moral stand as well as his tactical advices. Consequently when the inevitable battle occurs, Thursday and his men become sitting ducks to their shrewd opposition leading to a complete massacre. Meanwhile, the blossoming love affair between Thursday’s lovely daughter (Shirley Temple) and a young West Point graduate (John Agar) formed a key sub-plot. The sympathetic and impartial portrayal of the natives counterpointed by Fonda’s unsympathetic turn, the theme of pig-headed and foolish heroism, depiction of camaraderie, excellent cinematography, and fine soundtrack made this a highly engaging watch.
Director: John Ford
Genre: Western/Cavalry Western/War