CHIEF CRAZY HORSE—-“You would have us crawl onto the reservation like whipped dogs!? ” Hell no, not as long as Victor Mature can keep a straight face, as a 40-year old Hollywood version of the 25-year old Sioux war leader who kicked ass on the US Cavalry back in 1870s Wyoming and Montana.
As the wide-screen camera pans Vic’s face, searching for nobility–or maybe a vital life-sign–the only emotion hinted at is one of pain, as though the actor had stomach trouble on location. The rest of his tribe are played by whites, natch, with lovely Suzan Ball as his wife and the ever-snide Ray Danton as a running-dog-not-to-be-trusted.
Robert F. Simon and James Westerfield are rat-fink gun runners, and David Janssen, being groomed by Universal for public acceptance, shows up as a lieutenant who dies with his boots on. Plenty of action here, as Crazy Horse practices territorial imperative on Capt. Fetterman, Gen. Crook and Col. Custer, with the Black Hills scenery of South Dakota framing it all in sharp color.
Frank Skinner’s music score is on the corny side. Directed by George Sherman in 1955, a brisk 86 minutes gives work to John Lund, Keith Larsen, Morris Ankrum, Dennis Weaver and quite a few stuntmen. Clean-lined Eisenhower Era matinee took box office position #63 for the year, grossing a respectable $5,000,000.
Recm. reading: “The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story Of The Indian Wars for The American West”, by Peter Cozzens.