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on 19 April 2016
Excellent Gregory Peck western thoroughly recommended.
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on 11 July 2015
The old Black and white Film, this film was OKAY
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on 30 October 2009
Made a couple of years after Ford's 'Fort Apache' (1948), in some ways Douglas' violent film is reminiscent of that earlier work. Gregory Peck's straight-backed Captain Lance, unpopular stickler for honour and adherent to all the fine print of duty, recalls Ford's military martinet Lieutenant Colonel Thursday (Fonda). There's a significant difference of course: Lance has a quiet competence throughout (and grudging respect of the ranks) conspicuously absent in Thursday's command. And whereas Thursday's actions lead to disaster, Lance pulls off a successful mission. Corporal Gilchrist (Ward Bond, also in 'Apache'), grudgingly admits as much as he declines to shoot the Captain, maddened at the height of his personal whisky drought: Lance is "the only man who can get them through", faults and all. Like the narrow pass through which the Apaches must move to attack the fort, Lance works within a narrow confine of responsibility and honour which can be dangerously constricting.

Interestingly, for a film ostensibly full of action, much significance attaches itself exactly to the opposite. For instance, it is Lance's unwillingness to draw upon others to clear his honour that estranges him from the post and his girlfriend Cathy after the death of Lieutenant Holloway. Most importantly, it is Lance's 'failure' to shoot the indian chief at the beginning, immediately after the fluke capture, which precipitates the death of so many others (a fault corrected at the end when Lance uses a knife in the last struggle). The film suggests that it necessary to bend the rules sometimes to achieve more effective results (whether or not this includes condoning murder in cold blood of a captive is another matter) - and positions various disrupting influences against the Captain as way of demonstration of the checks and balances this involves.

Chief of these is Corporal Gilchrist, who rather steals the film - particularly in the light of Peck's characteristic dullness as an actor. It is Gilchrist who is present at the start of events, he who rounds out the film. It is he too, who provokes a rare yielding, as far as military rules are concerned, by Lance: the Captain allows him a surreptitious swig of whisky just before the final attack. A boisterous, womanising drunkard, Bond plays a character to the hilt familiar from Ford's 'cavalry trilogy' and other films.

The forces contrasting Lance's discipline, control and code of honour rang neatly and conveniently against him at the fort. A deserter, a drunkard, a frustrated bully, an irrationally violent man - these and others, are the small command aptly chosen by Lance (being those the army can "spare mostly easily") to support his mission. In effect, such a select rabble represent the dregs of the army. But also, the weaknesses and darkness which all men contain, and naturally it is these which Lance has to face and master, as much as holding the pass against more physical incursion.

Reflecting this intrigue, the film is naturally rich in character acting. Besides Bond's loud bluffness, one also relishes Chaney's satanic Kebussyan (his character definitely *not* a Fordian derivative!), and the grouchy bitterness of Neville Brand's sergeant Murdock. Much of the film's pleasure lays in such incidentals, especially as the events at the pass, when examined logically, hardly make military sense (Why don't the indians just attack in one go? Why do they keep retreating back through the pass when they have broken out?)

Douglas, who went on to make the superb 'Rio Conchos' (1964) and the minor cult item 'Barquero'(1970) made too few Westerns, and does a good, tough job in direction. His pacing and grasp of tension helps to mask over the glaring differences in geology between the studio's 'pass' and the real thing shot on location. Co-scriptwriter Brown was to write Hawk's masterpiece El Dorado. In short: recommended, but for a more complex and convincing portrait of the cavalry under command see Ford.
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on 20 November 2009
this gregory peck western is a tremendous little film but i was left dismaid by the very average picture and sound quality , at times very poor . the film is loads better than the john ford calvry trilogy of around the same time , but cannot match the vision or sound qualities of those or even a lot earlier westerns from my collection . republic pictures and lionsgate should be ashamed of themselves this great film fully deserves a little loving care to totally transform the experience into a 5 star offering.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 February 2010
Many years ago as a small boy, I was caught by my teacher writing the name of one of my cowboy hero's into my desk top. Not even the pliers and toe nails approach will induce me to tell you which one! This was an unpardonable crime in those days. Most healthy young boys were writing the names of pretty girls on their desks, but oh no, not me. The teacher concerned believed that ritual humiliation in front of the rest of the class was the answer. They could do that then, you know! Thus my misdemeanour was made very public and the other kids gave me a new handle. I was known as "John Wayne Lover". Oh, the terrible humiliation. Did it cure me? Well no, because I have this awful stubborn streak that also made me refuse to eat prunes and custard for school dinners. They punished me by placing a dunce's cap on my head and standing me in the corner. Today I still refuse to eat that disgusting concoction on principle. I also watch as many westerns as I can get my hands on, as you might gather from my reviews. So here I go again, another western to review. "Huston, I think I have a problem". Does anyone out there have a cure for this rare disease?

"Only the Valiant" is an unusual film, and does have some merits. It also has a few de-merits. The film throws in elements of "Beau Geste," John Ford's "The Lost Patrol," set in the Mesopotamian desert, and coming more up to date "The Dirty Dozen." Gregory Peck plays a troop commander at Fort Winston in the New Mexico Territory. When the fort is threatened by hostile Apache, he selects a small band of malcontents, a la Lee Marvin, and heads off into the desert and Fort Invincible. The fort sits strategically at the only pass in a range of mountains, through which the rampaging Apache must pass to launch any attack. Fort Invincible is a thinly disguised Fort Zindernuff from "Beau Geste." This is further enforced by the casting of Lon Chaney Jnr as Trooper Kebussyan, an Arabic looking Armenian, known as A'rab. I am not sure viewers from the Arabic speaking world would approve, but this was before the brave new world of PC gone bonkers. The role was a very stereo type Arab who reminded me strongly of Bernard Bresslaw in "Carry on Camel," although Bernard was much more believable! So, poor old Peck ends up with a battle on two fronts. The Apaches are a bunch of sissies compared to his own men. Thankfully his own men are nearly as stupid as the Apache, who practiced some sort of death wish in throwing themselves at the impregnably sited fortress. They must have had a General Haig type character organising the attacks. All of this increases our commanders chances of survival. Not all will make it to the final exciting reel, amongst the action aplenty.

The advertising hype went, "They were Six and they Fought like 600". Now that would have appealed to some schoolboy so besotted with westerns that he would scratch his hero's names into a desk top, but perhaps not to the more discerning cinema goer. This makes it clear that the film sells itself on its action, a bit like the more recent "Black Hawk Down." Unfortunately although the film boasts an A cast, it also has very obvious B production values. The cast includes old John Ford stalwart Ward Bond, as an alcoholic Sergeant, and Gig Young as a fellow officer. Neville Brand and Warner Anderson also offer good support. Peck appears to be freshly graduated from the mannequin school of acting, such is his lack of dynamism. He was unable to convey any trace of the emotions bubbling just beneath the surface of the leading character, which the role demanded. On a definite plus side the film does boast a literate script, which is based on a book by Charles Marquis Warren, who briefly turned director in the fifties, before finding a comfortable little number as executive producer on TV series like "Rawhide" and "Gunsmoke". The director Gordon Douglas made other westerns including the interesting "The Fiend Who Walked the West," and the very good "Rio Conchos." On a lesser note he also directed the dire "Stagecoach" remake in 1966. This film is certainly not a classic but is interesting in the way it plagiarises from other better known films. Three stars for that reason, and of course the fact that it is a western
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 July 2013
If you want to know why I selected you?

Capt. Richard Lance is a wronged man, he's being held responsible for the death of a much loved Lieutenant. When the chance arises for him to take a small band of men to the vanquished Fort Invincible, Lance readily takes up the challenge. Picking the men who despise him the most, and the ones he feels have major character flaws, Lance and the handful of soldiers must hold the fort from Apache attack until reinforcements arrive. Running out of water and at war with each other, it's becoming increasingly likely that this is a suicide mission from which none of them may return.

Some people say this is one of Gregory Peck's lesser efforts, that it be low on production values and stilted in its execution. Not so say I, in fact this to me is a far more engaging picture than the much revered Rio Bravo eight years later. Oh for sure the Howard Hawks film is far technically superior, but I'd argue that for cast efforts and sheer entertainment value Only The Valiant wins out in the duel every time. Gregory Peck, Ward Bond, Gig Young, Lon Chaney Jr, Neville Brand & Warner Anderson each contribute greatly to make this a dramatic and involving picture. It simmers along as a highly charged character piece as we have a group of men deeply in mistrust of each other, yet interestingly they are binded by a mutual dislike of their Captain. One special sequence sees Lance {Peck at his straight laced best} assassinate each soldier's character; one is a bully, another a deserter, a drunk, a black heart, a coward and on he goes, and it's here where the film really kicks on to be a crackerjack character driven piece. The violence is pretty strong as well, director Gordon Douglas is not shy to put blood on the bones of the writing, and I dare you not to feel a rush of adrenalin as the Apache's start to screech prior to their wave of attacks.

From watching these intriguing characters in a wonderfully tight situation, to the blood pumping Gatling Gun finale, this picture scores high on many entertaining levels. 8/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 September 2008
Warner Bros. presents "ONLY THE VALIANT" (13 April 1951) (105 mins/B&W) (Dolby digitally remastered) -- Our story line and plot, "Only the Valiant" was based on a novel by Charles Marquis Warren --- As our would be hero Capt. Richard Lance (Gregory Peck) is unjustly held responsible, by his intended Cathy Eversham (Barbara Payton) and his men for an Indian massacre death of another suitor Lt. Holloway. Holloway (Gig Young) is killed while escorting a dangerous Indian chief Tucsos (Michael Ansara) to another fort's prison, but the chief escapes --- Lance knows their fort is in danger of Indian attack, so he volunteers taking a small group of army misfits to an abandoned nearby army fort to defend a mountain pass against the oncoming Indian assault --- Stall for time is their mission until reinforcements from another fort arrive --- The men in this small group of malcontents, deserters, psychopaths & cowards all hate Capt. Lance & wish him dead --- Many of the men recognize that Lance's survival instincts, military knowledge & leadership are the only chance the group has of staying alive --- Among the film's misfits are Ward Bond (who almost steals the film) Gig Young, Lon Chaney Jr., Neville Brand, Jeff Corey and Steve Brodie giving outstanding performances in every scene.

Under the production staff of:
Gordon M. Douglas - Director
William Cagney - Producer
Harry Brown - Screenwriter
Edmund H. North - Screenwriter
Charles Marquis Warren - Book Author
Lionel Lindon - Cinematographer
Franz Waxman - Composer (Music Score)
Walter A. Hannemann - Editor
Robert S. Seiter - Editor
Wiard Ihnen - Production Designer
Armor E. Marlowe - Set Designer

SPECIAL FEATURES:
BIOS:
1. Gregory Peck:
Date of Birth 5 April 1916 - La Jolla, California
Date of Death: 12 June 2003 - Los Angeles, California

the cast includes:
Gregory Peck ... Capt. Richard Lance
Barbara Payton ... Cathy Eversham
Ward Bond ... Cpl. Timothy Gilchrist
Gig Young ... Lt. William Holloway
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Trooper Kebussyan
Neville Brand ... Sgt. Ben Murdock
Jeff Corey ... Joe Harmony
Warner Anderson ... Trooper Rutledge
Steve Brodie ... Trooper Onstot
Dan Riss ... Lt. Jerry Winters
Terry Kilburn ... Trooper Saxton
Herbert Heyes ... Col. Drumm
Art Baker ... Capt. Jennings
Hugh Sanders ... Capt. Eversham
Michael Ansara ... Tucsos
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Drumm
David Clarke ... Guardhouse Sentry
John Doucette ... Sergeant
John Halloran ... Wall Sentry
Clark Howat ... Lt. Underwood
Harlan Howe ... Junior Sergeant
Claire James ... Jenny
William Newell ... Corporal of the Guard
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Sgt. Medical Assistant

Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guideslines for character identification), Chuck Anderson (Webmaster: The Old Corral/B-Westerns.Com), Boyd Magers (Western Clippings), Bobby J. Copeland (author of "Trail Talk"), Rhonda Lemons (Empire Publishing Inc) and Bob Nareau (author of "The Real Bob Steele") as they have rekindled my interest once again for B-Westerns and Serials --- If you're into the memories of B-Westerns with high drama, this is the one you've been anxiously waiting for --- please stand up and take a bow Western Classics --- all my heroes have been cowboys!

Total Time: 105 mins on DVD ~ Warner Home Video ~ (7/01/2008)
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on 2 December 2008
Gregory Peck is a hard-nosed leader of a rough group of cavalry soldiers. The company's dislike for Peck intensifies when he assigns a popular lieutenant to take his place on a dangerous mission delivering a captured Apache chief across the barren desert. The lieutenant is tortured and killed and the cavalry blame Peck. Peck is asked to hold out at deserted fort and his men are determined to make him pay.
Will Peck save his cavalry? Will his men succeed in killing him? Will Apache have their revenge?
Excellent B/W movie with good story, acting and direction.
Watch and ENJOY.(Suki,ENGLAND,UK)
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on 20 October 2011
This is an excellent adventure story but in view of the age of the film it is important to establish an ability to play the DVD. I can only play it on my computer because the format is not european.
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on 11 September 2013
Good, but not great transfer. Please note this is Region A "Locked" and will not play on regular UK equipment. Olive have been very good in the past but it now appears that they have developed a region A Locked procedure. I have very many Olive westerns which have been perfect but , I for one, will no longer purchase any more Blu-ray discs from this company.
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