THE CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER, back in 1953, thanks to the wonder of 3-D, had Frank Lovejoy spit a couple big gobs of tobacco juice right in your face (at a rattler). This profitable western also gave crew-cut Eisenhower kids a chance to get skewered by knife, spear, arrow and tomahawk, be knocked through a window and winged by a number of ricocheted slugs. Keen!
Along with the effective camera jazz, it featured Warner Bros. standard vivid sound effects (listen and hear the famous ‘Wilhelm scream’ come from three different victims), and an appropriately rolling musical score from Max Steiner.
On flat TV projection all that comes over is a standard cavalry-Indians gig, same as ever, drawn up with laughably stilted dialogue, sappy comic relief (courtesy of the insufferable Dick Wesson), and generally bad acting.
Foreleast is Guy Madison, a good bet for Most Wooden Leading Man Of The Decade (any), as the buckskinned honcho in charge of the soldiers sent to rescue some white girls from the Cheyennes. Lovejoy, Vera Miles and Neville Brand make the best of the clichés.
Directed by Gordon Douglas in a quick enough 95 minutes, with Helen Westcott, Steve Brodie, Henry Kulky, Ron Hagerthy, Lane Chandler, Onslow Stevens, James Brown, Rand Brooks, Dub Taylor. A popular film, it grossed $6,900,000, going into 3-dimensional place #34 for the year.