Sunday, February 28, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Seminole (1953) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Rock Hudson stars in SEMINOLE (1953), recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

The film is part of the three-film Rock Hudson Collection from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. The set also contains BENGAL BRIGADE (1954) and the previously reviewed THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953).

Hudson stars as Lt. Lance Caldwell, who returns from West Point to his native Florida in the mid-1830s.

Caldwell discovers that his new commanding officer, Major Degan (Richard Carlson), is an angry martinet who is determined to wipe out the neighboring Seminole tribe. Caldwell, knowing the Seminole are peaceful, attempts to change the major's mind, to no avail.

Though Caldwell has been gone for five years, he hopes to continue a romance with his childhood sweetheart, Revere (Barbara Hale). Unbeknownst to Caldwell, Revere has fallen in love with their mutual friend John (Anthony Quinn), a half-Indian who is now known as Osceola, chief of the Seminole.

Osceola wants peace, but when he travels to the fort under a flag of truce, Major Degan betrays Osceola's trust and imprisons him.

I hadn't seen this film since 2012, and my reaction today was much the same as then; it's a handsomely produced film with beautiful Technicolor filming in the Everglades by Russell Metty.  

I find the romantic relationship depicted by Quinn and Hale of particular note in this well-done film.  Their portrayal of mature adults wrestling with the problems accompanying a cross-cultural romance is both touching and interesting.

Leading man Hudson is sympathetic throughout, and there's a nicely done supporting performance by Lee Marvin as a sergeant the major assigns to keep an eye on Caldwell.

And, as was the case in 2012, a solid 87 minutes is marred only by the difficulty of watching Carlson's major be such an unreasonable idiot for much of the running time. That said, if Wikipedia is accurate, Major Degan was based on a real person who was forced to resign from the military in disgrace, so perhaps Carlson's performance isn't that far off the mark. His character's name was changed for the film to prevent a potential lawsuit by the man's descendants.

The film is briskly directed by Budd Boetticher, who of course is best known for his series of Westerns made with Randolph Scott.

Incidentally, another of Boetticher's films from the same year, WINGS OF THE HAWK (1953), was also just released by Kino Lorber and will be reviewed here at a future date.

Kino Lorber has also released a two-film set of Anthony Quinn Westerns which I'll be reviewing as well.

The SEMINOLE Blu-ray is a beautiful print. There were a couple brief moments where the picture is in rougher condition, but for the most part it's excellent, with a strong soundtrack.

Kino Lorber's Blu-ray includes the trailer and a commentary track by Nick Pinkerton.

I'll have a review of the final film in the set, BENGAL BRIGADE, posted here at a future date.

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


Blogger john k said...

Great review Laura and I look forward to reading your forthcoming reviews of WINGS OF THE HAWK and the Quinn double bill. I have both of these releases and let me say that the master material of WINGS OF THE HAWK is not in the best of shape. Kino or indeed the 3D archive have done the best that they can with compromised material. I was glad to have the film in widescreen and the commentary is excellent with lots of great info even for the most dedicated Boetticher buff. I liked the high def restoration of the Woody Woodpecker cartoon-overall for me an attractive package.The Quinn double bill is great value of the two films I far prefer THE MAN FROM DEL RIO which is strikingly shot by Stanley Cortez. THE MAN FROM DEL RIO is a very moody piece and Quinn none too likable in the lead which the film makers obviously intended,he's certainly anti hero if anything. The supporting cast are excellent,overall I enjoy these spare somewhat bleak Westerns.I hope Kino Lorber give us more double bills the two Joel McCrea Westerns TROOPER HOOK and GUNSIGHT RIDGE would make a very intersting double bill-far from Joel's best but nice to have in high def. The two McCrea films like the Quinn pictures were both low budget United Artists releases and have previously had DVD editions.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi John!

Thank you so much for your feedback. My husband already watched WINGS OF THE HAWK one evening when I had to work and I saw, when walking through the room, that some of it looked a bit rough. As you say, that's probably the best that it can be. He still enjoyed it and I suspect I will as well. Nice they included the cartoon with it!

I happy to say that, with the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library and other resources closed, I was able to help Jeremy Arnold out with his commentary research by sending him photos of relevant pages from Julie Adams' memoir. It was an honor to contribute in that small way -- his commentaries are always very informative.

Both the Quinn films are new to me. I would love for Kino Lorber to put out more "two-fer" sets like that -- your suggestions of the McCrea titles are great.

Very excited that Kino Lorber is putting out a number of "not on DVD movies this year. May it continue!

Hope you are doing well!

Best wishes,

6:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older