Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cry Blood, Apache (1970)



Low-budget crap riddled with amateurish editing, godawful dubbing, and vapid performances, this violent Western was presumably made to kick-start the moribund acting career of Jody McCrea, a second-generation performer who spent the ’50s and ’60s playing supporting roles in forgettable movies (including various Frankie-and-Annette Beach Party flicks). The son of famed cowboy actor Joel McCrea, Jody McCrea stars in and co-produced Cry Blood, Apache. The picture begins when a group of outlaws massacre the residents of an Indian village while searching for the location of hidden gold. The criminals abduct a survivor, pretty squaw Jemme (Marie Gahva), but one of the hoodlums, Pitcalin (Jody McCrea), tries to protect her from abuse. Meanwhile, an unnamed Indian brave (Marcus Rudnick) returns to the village and discovers the carnage, so he sets out to find the killers and exact vengeance. (The scene of Rudnick screaming in pain after finding his family dead is so overwrought that it’s unintentionally funny.) Right from the start, the picture makes zero sense. If Pitcalin’s such a nice guy, why is he hanging around with killers? And since Indians of the Old West era didn’t value gold, why not simply cooperate with the heavily armed whites and avoid the slaughter? Anyway, such logical considerations are immaterial, because nothing about Cry Blood, Apache merits close inspection. Most of the movie comprises tedious scenes of the criminals trekking across the prairie, with one member of the group, Deacon (Jack Starrett), giving long-winded religious speeches. (Starrett, who also directed the picture, was a prolific helmer of offbeat exploitation films throughout the ’70s, with subsequent credits including 1973's Cleopatra Jones and 1975's Race With the Devil.) Aside from the drab story and the lifeless acting (Jody McCrea being the worst offender), the most pathetic aspect of Cry Blood, Apache is the soundtrack, because nearly every line of dialogue sounds like it was looped in a wind tunnel. FYI, Joel McCrea turns up at the beginning of the picture to play his son’s character as an older man, then exits the movie as quickly as possible. Smart move.

Cry Blood, Apache: SQUARE

1 comment:

Temple of Schlock said...

This film was shot in 1967 but didn't get released until 1970. By then, Starrett had redeemed himself with RUN, ANGEL, RUN (1969) and THE LOSERS (1970), both box-office hits. He only took over as the director of CRY BLOOD, APACHE after writer-director Sean MacGregor was relieved of duty, presumably because he didn't know how to make a synch sound movie (and evidently still didn't when he made NOVEMBER CHILDREN and CAMPER JOHN a few years later). The movie stinks, but it got Starrett's foot in the door.

Cast & crew trivia: Rick Nervick and Carolyn Stellar are the parents of Leif Garrett, and his sister Dawn Lyn appears as an Indian child. Leif and Dawn later co-starred in DEVIL TIMES FIVE, another movie MacGregor started but didn't finish.