Here’s a Universal-International western that kind of struck me as a Mutiny on the Bounty wanna be in the Florida everglades. Rising star Rock Hudson plays a young Lieutenant under Richard Carlson’s command. Hudson wants to organize a treaty while Carlson wants to decimate the local tribe of Seminole Indians led by Chief Anthony Quinn. Quinn would prefer peace but has to contend with not only Carlson but also his own hot tempered warrior played by Hugh O’Brian who intends to take over if Quinn lets his people down. Fireworks ensue.
Seminole was directed by western favorite Budd Boetticher and is filled with names and faces of young actors who would make a name for themselves over time. Future Academy Award winner and legendary tough guy Lee Marvin portrays the Sergeant under Hudson whose sympathies lean to Rock. Three familiar faces from television turn up in early roles as well. Russell Johnson aka The Professor from Gilligan’s Island who was of course in countless films prior to the hit show and James Best who was a natural at westerns and would eventually be cast as a regular on The Dukes of Hazard. Our leading lady who is torn between Hudson and Quinn is Barbara Hale who would become Della Street opposite Raymond Burr’s Perry Mason for what seemed like eons.
Despite some decent action scenes including a rousing battle between Hudson and O’Brian I found the film a little slow and rather than going out with a bang it kind of whimpers to a conclusion. Quinn who has always been one of my favorite actors really doesn’t have much to do and that is a bit of a disappointment. He was finally getting bigger roles and better billing once the fifties rolled around. This film is sandwiched in between his 2 Oscar performances in Viva Zapata and Lust For Life. Western fans will be familiar of course with director Boetticher’s work with Randolph Scott and this film despite being a passable 90 minutes will do nothing to take the focus from their series of films. Overall this one is pretty much for fans of Hudson, Quinn and Marvin. In other words, film fans like me.
A fair assessment there Mike. Quinn and Hudson did better stuff and I thought the ending was fat too pat. It’s all reasonably entertaining but far away from my favorite Boetticher.
Just needed some more action and a little more of a meatier role for Quinn. I liked the sets in the swamps, just needed more.
Yeah, that trek through the swamp was probably the best section of the movie.
James Best probably didnt think so according to the McFarland book on Universal International westerns. I kind of assume you have that book as it’s a good source for facts and trivia.
I don’t actually. I’m going to look into it now that you’ve brought it to my attention though.
McFarland Publishers have some good books but they can be pricey.