Saturday, September 9, 2017

Apache Blood (1975)



Nearly unwatchable because of narrative incoherence, this low-budget Western depicts the exploits of an Apache warrior seeking vengeance against deceitful and murderous U.S. soldiers. It also tracks the ordeal of a soldier left behind in the wilderness after a bear attack. If that second bit reminds you of Man in the Wilderness (1971) or The Revenant (2015), most likely that’s not a coincidence; the makers of Apache Blood probably encountered the same historical records that inspired the other films. Any tangential connection to real history, however, should not give the impression that Apache Blood—also known as Pursuit—is worth watching. While there may have been a passable action-adventure film somewhere in the raw footage, the assembled movie is a mess. Scenes start and stop abruptly, transitions don’t exist, and some of the production values, especially during the bear-attack scene, are laughable. Worse, the one thing that should give Apache Blood artistic merit, the choice to exclude dialogue from most scenes, helps render the picture incomprehensible. Who are the people onscreen? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? Don’t get your hopes up about answering any of those questions, because even detecting the broad outlines of the story is challenging. Every so often, a scene makes sense for a few moments, as when the protagonist, “Yellow Shirt” (Ray Danton), sneaks up on a military encampment because a guard has fallen asleep—but then the flick devolves into awkwardly filmed action and the viewer’s sense of narrative direction disappears. Oh, and just for good measure, the film is littered with clich├ęs, as in the scene of a U.S. soldier buried up to his head in desert sand while Native Americans charge at him on horseback. Presuming the picture’s overall goal was to counter the demeaning image of Indians as savages, trite scenes like that aren’t helpful.

Apache Blood: LAME

1 comment:

Guy Callaway said...

'WHAT "DIRTY DOZEN" ALMOST WAS...WHAT "BILLY JACK" COULD OF BEEN!'

That strikes me as the most meaningless tagline ever.
I have this a few times over on a number of cheapo western sets, and I've never made it to the end.