Review: ‘Soldier Blue’

Screenplay, from Theodore V. Olsen's novel, Arrow in the Sun, deals with the attempt of US soldier Honus Gant (Peter Strauss), the 'soldier blue' of the title, and a white woman who had been captured by Indians two years before (Candice Bergen) to stay alive until they can reach an army outpost. The paymaster's party, with which they have been traveling, is ambushed and slaughtered by the Cheyennes.

Screenplay, from Theodore V. Olsen’s novel, Arrow in the Sun, deals with the attempt of US soldier Honus Gant (Peter Strauss), the ‘soldier blue’ of the title, and a white woman who had been captured by Indians two years before (Candice Bergen) to stay alive until they can reach an army outpost. The paymaster’s party, with which they have been traveling, is ambushed and slaughtered by the Cheyennes.

The major portion of the film deals with the pair’s trek. Their misadventures include encountering white man Isaac Cumber (Donald Pleasence) who is en route to the Cheyennes to sell them guns for the gold they stole from the paymaster and who takes the pair prisoner.

Finally, Bergen goes on ahead for help when Strauss is wounded, but discovers the Army’s plot to wipe out the Indians. She rides out to warn them.

The climax of the film makes the Army the complete villain and the Cheyennes the complete innocents. The seemingly handful of warriors are quickly wiped out, the women raped, children mutilated and, in many cases, murdered.

It would appear obvious that director Ralph Nelson is trying to correlate this allegedly historical incident with more contemporous events.

Soldier Blue

Production

Avco Embassy. Director Ralph Nelson; Producer Harold Loeb, Gabriel Katzka; Screenplay John Gay; Camera Robert Hauser; Editor Alex Beaton; Music Roy Budd; Art Director Frank Arrigo

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Candice Bergen Peter Strauss Donald Pleasence John Anderson Jorge Rivero Dana Elcar
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