Apache Blood

Director: Tom Quillan

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Yellow Shirt (Ray Danton) was a man of peace whose tribe adhered to the treaty with the white man. Yet the cavalry slaughtered his tribe even so, & thereafter Yellow Shirt committed himself to revenge, in the little independent production Apache Blood (1975).

The film was planned around a minimum of dialogue, in part because of the amateur filmmakers' difficulty in syncronizing sound. Yellow Shirt & his wife (Diane Taylor) never speak at all, which reduces the romanticist racism of the "noble savage" to mere animal. The cavalry guys do have the capacity of human speech, though they use it badly.

On the other hand the silence of Yellow Shirt increases the impact of pictorial compositions, which for such a low budget film is from time to time visually effective. Also, judging by what dialogue the whites have, if Yellow Shirt was even that minimally talkative, his character would be reduced to the banal.

The only likeable white guy is Sam Glass (Dewitt Lee, who also co-wrote the script), a mountain man & tracker for the cavalry. When he's attacked by a bear (a very badly staged & filmed bit of phoniness), the appalling cavalry guys half bury him though he's still alive & abandon him to die alone, which he refuses to do. His toughness makes him an appealing guy, even though by right of a veritable race war he's Yellow Shirt's enemy.

Though a pretty darned bad film, I did like the fact that the bulk of the film's sentiment favors the Apache avenger Yellow Shirt, whose violent cause is just. I got a modicum of entertainment out of this Z western, but couldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a soft spot for amateur filmmaking.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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