Saturday, July 11, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Taza, Son of Cochise (1954) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Rock Hudson stars in the title role as TAZA, SON OF COCHISE (1954), recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

The Blu-ray contains both the "flat" 2D and the 3D version of the film which was restored by the 3D Film Archive. My initial viewing of this disc was of the 2D version.

As the film begins, the great warrior Cochise is dying. In a nice touch, Jeff Chandler has a cameo in this scene, reprising his Oscar-nominated role as Cochise in BROKEN ARROW (1950).

Cochise names his eldest son Taza as leader of their Chiricahua Apache tribe and asks his younger son Naiche (Rex Reason, billed as Bart Roberts) to support his brother's leadership.

Taza wants to continue his father's quest for peace among Indians and white settlers and agrees to work with the U.S. Cavalry policing his people, but Naiche wants to join up with Geronimo (Ian MacDonald) for war.

The brothers also clash over pretty Oona (Barbara Rush), whose bloodthirsty father (Morris Ankrum) favors Naiche.

There's not much more to the plot than that; indeed, after Chandler's quick exit, the film is rather lacking in dramatic heft, a bit surprising given it was directed by Douglas Sirk. Sirk had made HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL (1952) with Hudson, and they would go on to make several notable films together.

George Zuckerman's script, based on a story by Gerald Drayson Adams, is fairly "paint by the numbers" as Westerns go, and some of the dialogue could have been better, as there are a couple of standout clunkers.

That said, I did enjoy the film; Hudson and Rush, who would team with Sirk the same year for MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954), are attractive, and the vast majority of the film was shot by Russell Metty in the great outdoors of Utah. The landscapes are striking and make a terrific backdrop for the well-staged action scenes.

The average plot is thus offset by the lead actors, location shooting, and the fast pace of the 79-minute story, which ends before wearing out its welcome.

The supporting cast includes Gregg Palmer, Joe Sawyer, Gene Iglesias, Bobby Hoy, Lance Fuller, Robert Burton, Richard Cutting, and Hugh O'Brian, plus Russell Johnson as the narrator.

The Kino Lorber print is excellent, with very good sound. The print includes the Intermission card which allowed for a timeout for the 3D reels to be changed.

Extras include a trailer for the 3D version of the film; a slideshow featurette on the making of the film and the 3D process by Mike Ballew; and a commentary track by Ballew, David Del Valle, and C. Courtney Joyner. Viewers may want to know in advance that the commentary may be found under the "Audio" menu rather than with the "Extras."

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older