The Indian Fighter (De Toth, 1955)

A far cry from the taut pacing and subtlety of The Day of the Outlaw, Andre De Toth’s The Indian Fighter glorifies a simplistic brand of machismo posing as progressive historical revisionism. The film attempts to deal with an interracial relationship between Kirk Douglas’ frontiersman and a Sioux woman (played by Italian Elsa Martinelli), but the representation of this union is forceful, trite, and masochistic. Maybe the problem lies with Douglas’ brutish performance. Like most of the characters in the film, De Toth’s direction feels intimidated by such a presence and as a result, is unable to achieve nuance or subtext. Douglas runs free, showing off his bravado for anyone willing to listen. That such an unlikable hero saves the day in the end unscathed and horny just reiterates De Toth’s jumbled Western mythology.

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