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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheyenne Autumn-A Human Tragedy
I have read the reviews about John Fords 'Cheyenne Autumn'. John Ford tried in this film I believe to highlight the truth about the american indians,the true native americans, not the different cultures who claimed to be americans. He tried to highlight the plight of the native americans and how they were forced from their native lands onto reservations where nothing...
Published on 19 Jun 2008 by Colm O' Driscoll

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cheyenne is a soldier from the first slap on his bottom.
Cheyenne Autumn is directed by John Ford and is a "Hollywood" telling of the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1877/9, where the Northern Cheyenne, fed up with lack of food and poor facilities, tried to return to their one time home in the North after having been located in the Southern Reservation by the United States Army. It stars Richard Widmark, Caroll Baker, Dolores del...
Published on 8 May 2012 by Spike Owen


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cheyenne is a soldier from the first slap on his bottom., 8 May 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Cheyenne Autumn is directed by John Ford and is a "Hollywood" telling of the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1877/9, where the Northern Cheyenne, fed up with lack of food and poor facilities, tried to return to their one time home in the North after having been located in the Southern Reservation by the United States Army. It stars Richard Widmark, Caroll Baker, Dolores del Rio, Karl Malden, Gilbert Roland, Ricardo Montalban, Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy. Music is scored by Alex North and cinematography by William H. Clothier. It is photographed in Super Panavision 70, in various Utah locations, predominantly Monument Valley.

Does it ever matter who fired the first shot?

John "Pappy" Ford's penultimate film, and his last Western, is epic in scope and production and seen as an honest attempt to redress the balance for years of misrepresentation of Native Americans in Hollywood, though not neccessarily his own since he, I believe, isn't on record as saying that to be the case? Thematically it's important and doesn't back off from being sympathetic to the Cheyenne's plight, we root for them and rightly so. Yet it always feels like a film shot through the vision of a white man's eyes, you find yourself wanting more from the Cheyenne perspective, for them to dominate the narrative. It would have been nice to know some of the big players involved in the heroic and tragic trek back to Wyoming. It's also annoying that Ford chose to interrupt the flow of the story with the pointless light relief section at Dodge City. Which comes across as just an excuse for James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy to play Wyatt Earp & Doc Holliday respectively. And sadly, they are not very successful in doing so either.

As has been noted by many critics over the years, the film ultimately rounds out as an honourable misfire from the great John Ford. The cast, away from the loud and brash Dodge City collective, are mostly fine. Widmark proves to be a watchable axis as the reluctant Captain tasked with returning the Cheyenne to the barren reservation. Baker does a nice line in sexy Quaker, Robinson adds a touch of class late in the day, while Montalban & Roland are excellent as Cheyenne chiefs Little Wolf & Dull Knife respectively. But all pale in the shadow of Clothier's magnificent photography, stunning vistas that dominate the screen, the colours so rich and splendid, Monument Valley an iconic character of nature observing the Cheyenne desperately trying to get back to home comforts.

It's unmistakably a John Ford picture, with some inspired filming techniques, but the heart of the story is lost due to a too long run time, a daft mid point sequence and much extraneous nonsense. 6/10
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheyenne Autumn-A Human Tragedy, 19 Jun 2008
By 
Colm O' Driscoll (Derry, Ireland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I have read the reviews about John Fords 'Cheyenne Autumn'. John Ford tried in this film I believe to highlight the truth about the american indians,the true native americans, not the different cultures who claimed to be americans. He tried to highlight the plight of the native americans and how they were forced from their native lands onto reservations where nothing except weeds would grow. They couldn't hunt buffalo because they like the indians had been hunted and killed almost to the point of extinction.In the 60's when the film had been made all the news had been about the civil rights movement and the rights of the black american citizens. John Ford tried to remind the american public that there was another race of people in America who weren't receiving any civil/human rights and were still living on reservations in inhumane conditions. John Fords last movie ' Cheyenne Autumn' was like all his previous films a great movie and a lasting tribute to a great director and an indictment of how americans and their goverment had mistreated the true american people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the disaster it's often painted, 12 Dec 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Common wisdom has it that Cheyenne Autumn is a well-intentioned failure, and while his last Western is certainly far from John Ford's best, it is one of those films that becomes more impressive on repeated viewings. Although seen by many as an apologist epic made as an act of contrition by Ford for so many decades of stereotyping Native Americans, he always denied this, and it has to be said that, Two Rode Together apart, his Westerns generally had a bit more respect for the various tribes than his contemporaries. Instead its appeal seems partially as a good yarn, albeit one compromised by budgetary concerns, and one of his sporadic shots at an important message picture with a social conscience. Although it's not an unqualified success, his often spectacular retelling of the Cheyenne tribe's epic trek from their rundown reservation back to their original homeland has a lot to recommend it. While it's hard today to see the main Cheyenne characters played by the likes of Sal Mineo and a predominantly Latin-American cast - Ricardo Montalban, Dolores Del Rio and Gilbert Roland among them - and have most of the film seen through the eyes of white characters like Richard Widmark's conflicted cavalry officer, Carroll Baker's school ma'am and many familiar faces from the Ford stock company (including a surprisingly unbilled Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr in virtual reprises of their Rio Grande roles), it was a major achievement at the time to even tell a story about the callous treatment of the Native American tribes: feelbad epics had never been a good bet at the box-office.

Certainly at times you get the feeling that Warner Bros. were trying to save money wherever possible. Many of the more dramatic incidents of the real trek were cut from the script to save money, one key section is obviously shot on a soundstage rather than on location and there is some crude backprojection at the end (perhaps necessitated by having to replace Spencer Tracey with Edward G. Robinson), often leaving the film looking rather disjointed. The biggest misstep is the Dodge City sequence, which was Ford's idea of a comic relief intermission. While mildly amusing, it's a massive shift of tone that adds nothing to the story aside from an opportunity to add a little starpower with James Stewart's comical Wyatt Earp and cronies Arthur Kennedy and John Carradine and which could easily be removed from the film entirely without anyone noticing (indeed, it was cut from many prints after the film opened to get more shows in). Nonetheless, there are still many powerful sequences, from the Cheyenne standing all day in the baking sun to welcome a Senate Committee that can't be bothered to travel the dusty road to the reservation to a prolonged episode in a fort when Karl Malden's self-aggrandizing and ambitious commander sees them more as an opportunity than as starving and freezing human beings. There's certainly much to like, from William H. Clothier's fine widescreen photography of Monument Valley (this would be Ford's last film in his favorite location), a good score from Alex North and a nicely underplayed proposal scene in a schoolhouse. If it never quite gels, it's still a noble attempt at popularising difficult subject matter.

Warners 2.35:1 widescreen Region 1 NTSC DVD is the fully restored version of the film, including a vintage 20-minute documentary on the real trek, the theatrical trailer and an often amusing audio commentary by Ford biographer Joseph McBride - apparently the extras can often be heard swearing in their own language secure in the knowledge that none of the crew had a clue what they were really saying!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Hollywood Westerns', 10 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. C. Burghard "Clive Burghard" (England's South Coast.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
The story for this film, was written by Marie Sandoz, who as a young girl, grew up on the edge of a Cheyenne Reservation. Her books are based on conversations she had with warriors who actually lived through, and took part in the saddest days of their glorious history.
If you skip the usual Hollywood absurdities contained in the Wichita Kansas segment, you may well enjoy the images captured by the use of the 70mm Panavision cameras, used to capture the sheer majesty of the landscape, the land that once belonged to these noble people.
No doubt this film could be remade today, and be far more authentic, but the original locations are probably covered in concrete now. Still, it's worth a watch, if you make the necessary allowances.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Western, 17 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Enjoyed watching this classic on DVD instead of VHS. If you enjoy a good western you'll love this. Highly recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars historically correct saga of the indian nation, 6 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
great cast headed by the late great Richard Widmark. True story of the trials and tribulations faced by the Cheyenne Nation
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3.0 out of 5 stars hollywood treatment of a disgraceful episode, on the cusp of the 1960s, 27 Aug 2012
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Having read the fine literary version of the same title, I was very curious to see what Hollywood would do with it. Not that I was optimistic. The story is a about the tragic end of a free people, the Cheyenne. Defeated and on promises that they would receive land and provisions, they were relegated to a desert in Oklahoma, where they starved and were victims of disease, dwindling away in the most sordid conditions. Having waited for over a year, the remaining 300 or so decided the whites didn't live up to their side of the contract and left to return to their homelands in the Yellow Stone. They had no provisions, very few weapons, and only about 60 braves. So started a 240-some day trek that ended in death, murder, and long criminal trials, though they won the right to a reservation in Montana. In the book, there is this sense of the meaningless death of a complex culture. It is an absolutely awful story of a people trying to flee genocide and spiritual death by administrative oversight.

The film begins with a splendidly tragic tone, as acted by the young Ricardo Montalbam, who plays a charismatic chief disgusted by the treatment of his tribe. This is an unusual step for a major hollywood film, but the traditions of the genre soon betray the many qualities of the production. There are several interesting military confrontations, with one character growing under the eye of the stern captain. This is where the story diverges from history in increasingly ridiculous ways. Set against the Cheyenne is a humanistic captain, who must do his duty but who regrets it more and more, empathizing with the Indians while courting a lovely Quaker woman who elects to travel with them as a nurse (both apocryphal, if memory serves). Widmark is at his best here. Unfortunately, the tone deteriorates terribly with a cameo by Jimmy Stewart, who plays a comical Wyatt Earp as he leads a Dodge City saloon crowd on a hunt for the Indians, complete with a portable bar and prostitutes. It is funny, with a hooker running without her dress when the Indians fire on them, but completely destroys the mood. There is a notable episode when a group of braves lead people wishing to surrender in winter, only to be imprisonned and told that they must march back to Oklahoma, which they refuse to do on pain of starvation and cold. Karl Malden plays a stupidly wooden soldier who seeks to force them to submit, while Widmark opposes him and goes to meet the Secretary of the Interior, Edward G. Robinson. They escape at the cost of many lives. (In reality, they were captured and broke out.) By the end, the film is overwhelmed by melodrama. Widmark's romance advances, while Sal Mineo confronts Montalban over a woman. It had lost me by this point, so that I wasn't even disappointed by the happy ending they grafted on to such an awful story.

Nonetheless, there are interesting aspects to the film, particularly in view of the fact that it was made (in 1964) just before the 60s anti-authoritarian impulse became so commonplace. Viewers expected heroes and unambiguous outcomes and that is what they got rather than tragedy and gritty realism. There is a truly outstanding cast that held my attention until it degenerated into a kind of semi-serious shlock. The documentary in my version, narrated by Stewart, also piles it on with pre-Vietnam optimism and no acknowledgment that there are problems on Indian reservations or even recognizing that the Cheyenne autumn was essentially the end of an ancient culture. I would give this 3.5 stars and recommend it for film buffs but not for anyone interested in learning the history or simply a good cowboy-indian film: too schmaltzy for the former, too slow and sad for the latter. This story required more, much more, not only including tragedy, but also irony, cynicism, and an unflinching, even existential, gaze; it isn't here. Contrast this with Little Big Man, which instilled a lifelong fascination with indigenous peoples in me, and you will see my point. LBM was made just 6 years later, a true product of the wider perspctive that the 60s enabled.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Underrated Western, 8 Aug 2011
By 
Mrs. Marilyn A. Rice "RR" (sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
"Cheyenne autumn" was John Ford's final western and has a great all star cast, including Richard Widmark and James Stewart. Many John Ford westerns in the past, such as "The Searchers" and "Rio grande" made the native Indians look like bloodthirsty villains. But "Cheyenne autumn" was a western which was an apology from John Ford for the many things done by Hollywood to the Native Indian, which in the movie the Indians are represented as the good people and the cavalry are represented bad. What I like about this movie is the fantastic scenery and cinematography, which was mostly filmed in Monument Valley and also I think this western has a very good story to it and the acting is first class. But the only part of the movie which I didn't like was the dodge city scene, which features James Stewart, who plays Wyatt Earp and Arthur Kennedy, who plays Doc Holliday. The reason why I was against this scene was because it was pointless and it had nothing to do with the film. But when the film came out in the cinemas, the dodge city sequence was similiar to an intermission. If you are a fan of John Ford like me, this movie is worth watching and I hope you enjoy it.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tired, dated and inaccurate., 6 Dec 2007
By 
This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I suppose for an early 'revisionist' western this was not bad for its time.

However, I recommend you read the book of the same name from which the film was taken, by Mari Sandoz. It is far superior to the movie and written entirely from the Cheyenne point of view as opposed to the cliched 'white' western format of this movie, which just does not do justice to the epic struggle and flight of the Southern Cheyennes from their imprisonment on a barren wasteland reservation, back to their old homeland.

It is a riveting story but not the way they tell it in the movie! In other words, as usual, the book is better.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellant, 14 Jan 2010
By 
Jean Snell (Yorkshire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cheyenne Autumn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
DVD received in good condition, Quality and sound good, arrived just before christmas as it was a present, very happy with it
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