Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews. I have now launched a podcast about the making of Westerns and the overall filmmaking process. Click here to listen.
Week 157: Last of the Comanches (1953)
If I’d known that this film was a Western remake of Humphrey Bogart’s WWII action/thriller Sahara, I probably would have seen it a long time ago. And this viewing has certainly motivated me to revisit the Bogart original and the Jim Belushi remake in the near future. Andre De Toth’s Western take on the material is a solid, gritty survival story that I enjoyed from beginning to end.
The highlight of the entire film is the unconventional leading man, Broderick Crawford. The burly actor, best known for All the King’s Men, is hardly as handsome as the usual Western hero like Randolph Scott or John Wayne. But he carries the picture to great effect because he brings a gruff realism to the role. He actually looks like he could be a U.S. Cavalry sergeant and the suspension of disbelief required to accept most pretty actors isn’t necessary. I found a new appreciation for Crawford while watching this film and look forward to seeing more of his films.
In terms of how this fits and furthers my study of Andre De Toth’s Westerns, it stands out from the others in terms of its story but not its style. Specifically, it strengthens my argument that De Toth was fascinated with the use of darkness in action sequences. Here, he uses the day-for-night technique more than any other Western I’ve seen. This will be discussed at length in my book, The Men Who Made Westerns.
Overall, Last of the Comanches is a thrilling Western adventure that I highly recommend for fans of the genre.
Watched on YouTube.