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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JOHN FORD'S fine tribute to the US Cavalry in this first of a loose trilogy
FORT APACHE (1948) was John Ford's and John Wayne's first western together since STAGECOACH (1939) they would go on to make six more culminating in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962). This film was also the first of what became known as Ford's Cavalry Trilogy. The others were SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) and RIO GRANDE (1950) and were Ford's splendid tribute to...
Published on 5 Jun. 2007 by Robert J. Evered

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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film but the worst DVD I have ever seen.
"Rip off" is the phrase that came to mind when I started to watch this DVD. Having owned and watched the budget priced VHS copy many times, I was looking forward to a top quality picture and soundtrack. What you get is a print far inferior to the tape version with lots of jumps, scratches and more grain than you'll see in a field of wheat. The soundtrack is no...
Published on 14 May 2001


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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film but the worst DVD I have ever seen., 14 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Fort Apache [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
"Rip off" is the phrase that came to mind when I started to watch this DVD. Having owned and watched the budget priced VHS copy many times, I was looking forward to a top quality picture and soundtrack. What you get is a print far inferior to the tape version with lots of jumps, scratches and more grain than you'll see in a field of wheat. The soundtrack is no better with background noise and distortion. With both Rio Grande and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon due for release shortly by this distributor, they have an opportunity to restore their reputation having damaged it with this release and The Quiet Man (another disappointment). I hope that they rise to the occasion.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JOHN FORD'S fine tribute to the US Cavalry in this first of a loose trilogy, 5 Jun. 2007
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FORT APACHE (1948) was John Ford's and John Wayne's first western together since STAGECOACH (1939) they would go on to make six more culminating in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962). This film was also the first of what became known as Ford's Cavalry Trilogy. The others were SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) and RIO GRANDE (1950) and were Ford's splendid tribute to the U.S. Cavalry and as such deserve to be judged as a body of work that as yet has no equal!

Wayne in this film shares top billing with Henry Fonda who a couple of years earlier had starred as the hero Wyatt Earp in John Ford's marvellous My Darling Clementine (1946) this time Ford has him cast as the unsympathetic martinet Lt Col Owen Thursday against the experienced Captain Kirby York (John Wayne). Incidentally when Wayne reprised this role for the last outing in the trilogy in Rio Grande he not only gained promotion but an extra letter to his name by becoming Lt Col Kirby Yorke. Also starring Shirley Temple and John Agar as the young lovers (who were actually married at the time of filming) and last but not least Victor McLagen for his Irish Sergeant part in the trilogy

As with the rest of the trilogy the story is taken from a novel by James Warner Bellah story is basically a study of frontier life against the backdrop of the Indian Wars and the end bears more than a passing resemblance to Custer's Last Stand with the Fonda character leading his men into an Apache massacre from which few return. The final theme when it's all over was "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend" which would be used to such good effect in another James Warner Bellah story the aforementioned THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE some fourteen years later.

This 2006 DVD release is a good transfer with beautiful black and white images on the skyline, swirling dust clouds and the wonderful detailed domestic settings in the fort, all in the director's best manner! Divided into 18 chapters for easy access, also available with subtitles but little else in the way of extras. But still excellent value from Amazon at a very attractive price
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any questions?, 15 April 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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Fort Apache is the first film of what came to be known as John Ford's US Cavalry trilogy. Just like the other two, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon & Rio Grande, this is also based on a short story by James Warner Bellah. Originally intended to be shot in colour, it was however done in black and white with Ford still making spectacular use of the Monument Valley location. The story primarily deals with opposite factions within the same army. On one hand is Lt. Col. Owen Thursday {Henry Fonda}, stiffly rigid in his beliefs, a stickler for the rules and pig ignorant and hostile towards the Indians he has been sent to control. On the other hand is Captain. Kirby York {John Wayne}, more relaxed towards those under his command, he's also knowledgeable about, and respectful towards, the Indian race. Thursday is also something of a chauvinist and a snob, he is determined to stop a burgeoning union between his daughter Philadelphia {Shirley Temple} and Lieutenant O'Rourke {John Agar}, with O'Rourke's homely family seen as too low for his daughter. All of this is played out in a far out military outpost, something else that Thursday also resents; that he was sent here instead of some place where a chance of glory was imminent.

Ford's film is also intriguing in its view of army life for the women at the post. As the men go about their military chores, the women have to remain lady-like even in the face of stupidity and ignorance. And Ford also occupies much of the piece with military etiquette, rank and file and social standing. This is also one of his most overtly sympathetic movies as regards the Indians. Here it's the Apache, led by the wise and stoic Cochise, they are not painted as villains, instead they are victims of trouble stirred by vile Indian agent Meacham {Grant Wthers}. It's this thread that leads us to the fabulous last 30 minutes of the film. Ford's action sequences are a given, highly impressive as always, but it's his parting shot that leaves the indelible mark. The myths of the West and the need for heroes is given close scrutiny by the master director; food for thought as the close caption booms out of the screen. Fort Apache takes its lead from George Armstrong Custer's folly, and covers it with intelligence, wit and panoramic delights. 8.5/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We'll always remember the Thursdays. The others are forgotten.", 7 Feb. 2010
A great movie and a great character study Fort Apache was made in Monument Valley in 1948 when indians were still one dimensional stereotypes. Let's set the record straight first however. Before Cochise affected an American accent and spoke perfect English in Broken Arrow, he spoke his own language plus Spanish in Fort Apache.
With Fort Apache John Ford made the first western to be even handed to the Indians. Dee Brown sent Ford and Wayne a letter of congratulations after he saw it. The Apache are not the villains. They fight against the Cavalry because they are left no other option. The Indian Agent Meachum has made them sickly and degraded so they leave and live as they should have been allowed to rather than starve and die. Cochise is wise and noble and a brilliant tactician in this film. I mentioned that he speaks Spanish and he is a character who wants peace above all else but fights when the Army leaves him no choice and even then he is not without honour. He has a personality.
Although John Wayne has top billing this is Fonda's film. Colonel Owen Thursday is the classic example of a flawed character. He's an amalgamation of George A. Custer and William Fetterman. An egotistical martinet and racist he's determined to find glory and honour in any situation even if he has "wound up" at Fort Apache to fight "a few cowardly digger indians"(not the Sioux or Cheyenne). A true WASP he keeps his daughter away from the O' Rourke family basically because they are Irish. You might notice he wears gloves as much as possible to keep his hands clean from dust and filth. His own glory will eventually cause his downfall.
A lot of the Ford crew turn up here. With Wayne and Fonda we've got Ward Bond, Pedro Armendariz, Anna Lee, Dick Foran, Guy Kibbee, Grant Withers, Mae Craig, Jack Pennick, Hank Worden and John Agar. Shirley Temple gives the best adult performance of her career while Victor McLaglen is superb as the tough yet comical Sergeant Mulcahy (he's not Quincannon yet). George O' Brien plays perhaps the second most fascinating character in the film: Captain Collingwood. A disgraced officer but a valiant and real soldier. Collingwood is the forgotten man at the film's ending Thursday and Captain York will be remembered, not him. His tribute is that his memory lives on as long as the regiment lives. Therefore he cannot die but will live on with it.
This brings me to the films ending. Wayne is not covering up for Fonda he is continuing in a tradition. If it makes future recruits better soldiers believing Thursday was a great man let the public believe he was a great man who did great things.The army is more important than the lunacy of one man.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fort Apache,Great film,shame about the DVD, 4 Nov. 2003
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This review is from: Fort Apache [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
This I have to say is a truely enjoyable film,with good action,comedy and acting in equal parts.
The story stands the test of time well.
But why oh why is the DVD transfer so poor,as far as I can tell the scenes have been re- recorded through a muslin bag.The tonal quality is abysmal,John Ford would turn in his grave.Many of the shots come over as silhoettes with facial features a blurry mess.
The sound is in original mono,surely some enhancement is possible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Ford/Wayne western, 23 Mar. 2012
By 
W. J. Marshall (southampton, hampshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I bought a copy of this film on blu ray from the states and it plays perfectly well on my region B player.I had the film years ago on vhs and the blu ray version is a tremendous improvement on any other version i have seen,either on tape or television.The picture is crystal clear and monument valley looks stunning.The soundtrack is clear and fully complements the film.This film goes beyond the usual run of the mill cavalry versus indians oater.Henry Fonda is very good as the unsympathetic commander trying to stir up trouble with the indians in an attempt to win back his former glory.John wayne excells in a role which goes beyond his usual romantic lead.His performance shows a depth of maturity inn his acting and prepares him for later roles in many of his other great westerns.This performance,along with many others ie red river,the searchers,yellow ribbon,rio bravo,sjould have been oscar nominated.In supporting roles both ward bond and shirley temple stand out in an exemplary cast.This is one of the great westerns of the forties and fully deserves it"s release on blu ray.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johns Ford and Wayne create a masterpiece, 10 Mar. 2009
By 
P. Bayley - See all my reviews
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The first part of the Wayne/Ford "cavalry trilogy" (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande following in the next two years)this is a surprisingly multi-layered and liberal western for its time.
Wayne and Fonda are both at their peaks, with Fonda unusually cast as an unsympathetic character. Ford's usual cast of outstanding western character actors flesh out the story with their usual excellent bit-parts (whatever happened to great character-acting?).
Lots of action; a brilliant, crisp mono print; clear sound. Bring on the popcorn - they really don't make them like this any more!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Western., 19 Mar. 2006
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This review is from: Fort Apache [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
A great Western with a complicated story, fantastic action and humour. For it's time time Fort Apache was filmed brilliantly with memorable music.
John Wayne is at his best with John Ford, and Henry Fonda is brilliant too.A must see for all fans of Westerns and classic movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ford, Wayne and Fonda at their best on Blu ray, 5 Jun. 2012
A true John Ford classic. Some films are classed classic due to their age and people involved: this film actually deserves the monicker.

I won't dwell on the film as its the Blu ray I'm reviewing here!
First the transfer:
The transfer is excellent, rich blacks and monument valley looks stunning in widescreen: the best the film has ever looked. A worthy updated on the DVD which was pretty washed out.
The sound:
Nothing to write home about but it's clear and not full of hiss.
Extras:
A great documentary on John Ford and filming in Monument Valley which includes Fort Apache.

We could always do with more extras and behind the scenes but, all in all, as good a Blu ray release of a true classic as you could wish for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ford On Form., 31 Dec. 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The Duke had a vintage year in 1948 with the release of two very fine films. In the March of that year came "Fort Apache", followed by the monumental Howard Hawks epic "Red River", where he gave a towering performance as the larger than life cattleman Thomas Dunson. "Fort Apache" directed by the venerated John Ford, is the first film in the directors famed Cavalry trilogy that also included his elegiac "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and the inferior "Rio Grande". His later cavalry offering "The Horse Soldiers" was quite rightly never included, and is best forgotten. In all these films Ford venerates his folksy ideals of family, community and nation. It was possibly as a result of his over sentimentality that his stock has fallen in recent years, whilst that of Sam Peckinpah and Anthony Mann has risen. But nations rise and fall and I am sure Ford's time will come again. There is much in "Fort Apache" to admire.

The film is based on the Saturday Evening Post story "Massacre" by James Warner Bellah. John Wayne plays Captain Kirby York, an experienced officer who is expected to take command of an isolated Cavalry outpost following the departure of its previous commander, but the post is instead taken up by West Point graduate and former General in the Civil War Lt Col Owen Thursday played by Henry Fonda. Thursday proves to be a martinet, a class snob, and a racist. This does not endear him to his men. He is the classic case of a square peg in a round hole. When a crooked Indian agent, was there an honest one, ferments unrest amongst the local Apache Indians, Thursday refuses to deal with the situation, ignoring the advice of York. In one exchange Kirby says "I gave my word to Cochise". Yes good old Cochise turns up in a movie for the umpteenth time! Thursday responds "Your word to a breech clouted savage? An illiterate uncivilised murderer and treaty breaker". This entrenched attitude leads to serious ramifications.

Thursday is clearly loosely based on General George Armstrong Custer, who has had a lot of bad press over the years for his arrogance and incompetence, however true that may be. In this film the hostile Apache of the South West replace the Sioux of the northern plains as the native adversary. The film boasts two screen legends in John Wayne and Henry Fonda, both actors having immense screen presence and at the top of their game. They are supported by Ford favourites Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen and Pedro Armendariz. Filmed in atmospheric black and white in Ford's favourite location Monument Valley, it eschews the sumptuous Winton Hoch inspired colours that was such a highlight of "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", and is none the worse for that. As in all the Cavalry films the images of the troopers are strongly influenced by the famous western artist Frederic Remington. It is likely that the Indians were also based on the paintings of Charles Russell, an equally gifted artist. This is all heavily romanticised of course, but the look is everything to Ford, and is something that often sets him above other directors. You only have to watch "The Searchers" to understand this! The film addresses weighty issues, without giving any easy answers. How we communicate with our fellow man is so often key to many people's success or downfall. The film still lives up to its fine reputation, and is certainly deserving of a digitally re-mastered edition with extras, as has been done with "The Searchers" 50th anniversary edition, now also available in blu-ray I see! This basic transfer will have to do in the meantime. I note that the film is also available as part of "The Greatest Westerns Collection" and the "John Wayne-John Ford Collection" which may represent better options for some people.
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Fort Apache [VHS] [1948]
Fort Apache [VHS] [1948] by John Ford (VHS Tape - 1996)
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