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The Charge At Feather River

The Charge At Feather River

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The Charge At Feather River  The story involves an overland journey through hostile Cheyenne territory to rescue two white women captured by the Cheyenne. One has turned renegade and is not anxious to be rescued as she is about to be married to Chief Thunder Hawk. Vera Miles dies and the cavalry comes to the rescue in the nick of time by a stream called Feather River. Knives, arrows, spears and tomahawks all come flying at the audience. Frank Lovejoy discourages a rattlesnake with tobacco juice and even gets off a shot into the audience.

I remember it well

The Charge At Feather River  I saw this movie in its original 3-D run in 1953 and never forgot it. Roughly based the actual Battle of Beecher’s Island in Colorado, it’s pretty exciting stuff. Some say that this is the movie that killed 3-D with Frank Lovejoy spitting into the face of the audience. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I enjoyed it then and enjoyed it again recently on cable. And then, of course, this is THE movie with the Wilhelm Scream, made famous by latter day maestros such as George Lucas. No DVD version released yet…maybe in the not-too-distant future. The love story is sort of stupid and the comedy bits are not very funny, but I know I enjoyed it more than The English Patient, or just about anything that Merchant-Ivory ever released. I suppose the movie was produced to take advantage of Guy Madison’s high visibility as TV’s Wild Bill, very popular with the kiddies at the time.

3D western rescue mission

Warner Brothers produced this 3D extravaganza that was the biggest commercial success for westerns in 1953. Guy Madison leads a band of guardhouse soldiers and misfits to rescue two white women being held by Indians, which essentially all there is to this film. The 3D format was in its early stages as a Hollywood gimmick to compete with the growing popularity of home television, and the effects work very well here. The rescuers make off with the ladies and are pursued by the Indians until the white men make their stand at an island in a creek bed. The Indian weaponry comes at the audience non-stop throughout, and a spray of tobacco juice aimed at a rattler is thrown in for good measure. Madison was quite popular as television’s Wild Bill Hickock and is good as a displaced cattle rancher who is given his thankless task by the army. For all the film’s polish and presentation, the movie was made in just three days.

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