Fort Apache (1948)

  • Fort Apache is in black & white?! I never knew this!!!
  • Oh, wow…Monument Valley. What a creative location in which to shoot a western!
  • (The landscapes look gorgeous in the black & white, though.)
  • Lord…Shirley Temple’s already gone goofy for The Cute Boy. It took maybe 5 seconds. This might end up being a long movie.
  • Her character’s name is ‘Philadelphia Thursday’? What the fuck kind of name is ‘Philadelphia Thursday’?
  • Henry Fonda (Colonel Thursday, Philadelphia’s father) is making all the local soldiers remove their cowboy hats because to wear them would be against dress code. Lame!
  • As a non-child actress, Shirley Temple is annoying as hell. I’ve seen several previous instances of this (THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947) and I’LL BE SEEING YOU (1944)) – and this will certainly go down as the latest example. She’s too bright & shiny to come across as a real woman – she needs some gravitas.
  • Much like “Lyd” in LYDIA (1941) – “Phil” is not an attractive nickname for a girl.
  • Young Michael (John Agar), you idiot! You see smoke that seems to be coming from your typically-in-danger telegraph office & think “Oh hey – I know what’s a good idea! I’ll take my date – my commanding officer’s daughter – a little closer to investigate”? What a dumbass.
  • So after those 2 (?) mystery Army guys die (somehow – they never really clarified exactly how, except that it involved burning), the rest of our Army friends go to interrogate an “employee of the government,” who is apparently a merchant selling bad things to the Native Americans, which is turning them all into scoundrels (?). Among the things he’s selling is a highly flammable liquor that is exponentially stronger than whiskey, which he hides in boxes labeled “BIBLES.” H.Fonda’s line of “Pour me some scripture” is an A+.
  • I don’t really understand what’s happening politically in this movie, anymore…but I feel fairly certain that John Wayne will save the day. He’s going on some expedition with one other person to retrieve someone named Coachella (?), and he seems pretty confident about it, so…I’m betting it’ll all turn out fine. You go, JW! You find that Coachella (?) !
  • Oh, Jesus. Michael just proposed to Philadelphia (via her father) after one date, & Philadelphia immediately accepted. This is misguided, children!!! In real life, you would live to regret this!!!
  • Oh, JESUS. Philadelphia “is not of legal age,” so she “cannot marry without [the Colonel’s] consent.”

Just how hold is Philadelphia, you ask? Don’t worry – she’ll be legal in TWO YEARS, you guys.


No wonder she’s making ill-conceived and dopey choices!

  • Meanwhile, in Sand Land, JW & his companion have found a flag.

Oh, but also – I was just informed that ‘Coachella’ is actually named ‘Cochies’.

(But when they meet him, they call him Jefe. Go figure.)

  • H.Fonda does such a terrific job playing an uptight asshole in this. He’s pretty much flawless.
  • It is also worth noting that Ward Bond is a stud in this. Like…wow.
  • Ugh, so – JW put in all this effort to get Coach Jefe to come out of his Mexican hiding spot to chat, and Colonel H.Fonda just up & ruins it within the span of 3 minutes. Nice job, The Colonel. Way to suck at everyone’s favorite battle strategy: “Do what JW tells you.”
  • This just got silly. The Colonel has relieved JW of all his duties as a commanding officer, essentially because JW is too smart & knows their surrounding landscape too well. ??? I don’t buy it, writers. Sorry. I think for a second you forgot you made the Colonel an asshole & not a dumbass.
  • I think the only reason I like this more than SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) is because this one was filmed in black & white. Otherwise, they seem very similar quality- & story-wise.
  • Oh…whyyyy. Why did they have to make the ending scene (in the regimental office) so goddamn corny?
  • Naming your kid “Michael Thursday York O’Rourke” takes some balls, though. I’ll give the youngsters that.
  • Overall, did not like this & would not watch again. I feel better about myself knowing that my list of ‘John Wayne Movies I Actually Like’ remains steady at six: STAGECOACH (1939), THE LONG VOYAGE HOME (1940), THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945), RED RIVER (1948), RIO BRAVO (1959), and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962).

(And really, THE LONG VOYAGE HOME and THEY WERE EXPENDABLE only count as half tallies, because they weren’t westerns & therefore feel like un-genuine JW movies. Just to be clear.)


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