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Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT330-BR

GERONIMO: AN AMERICAN LEGEND (1993) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Robert Duvall, Jason Patric, Gene Hackman, Wes Studi, Kevin Tighe, Matt Damon, Rodney A. Grant
Directed By:  Walter Hill
Composed By:  Ry Cooder

“A film of great beauty and considerable intelligence…Hill is a director who specializes in action films about men. Geronimo is too visually striking and too thoughtful, however, to be described in such a limiting way.”
– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“The authentically bloody chronicle of the last Apache leader…uncompromisingly conveys the ruthlessness of both sides, the racism and hypocrisy of the white men and the ferocity with which the Apache respond.”
– Time Out London

Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), directed by Walter Hill and written by John Milius and Larry Gross from a story by Milius, focuses on the eponymous Apache leader, one of the great strategists and last holdouts in the American war/genocide against its first citizens. Magnificently played by Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans), Geronimo earns over the years the grudging respect even of those sent to defeat him, including General Crook (Gene Hackman) and various officers and scouts played by the likes of Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, and – in an early role – Matt Damon. Highlighted by a Ry Cooder score, available on this Twilight Time release as an isolated track.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1993 / Color
115 MINUTES
RATED PG-13 Frontier Violence

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Posted by Mark Turner on June 24, 2018 1:00 PM
I’m a huge fan of director Walter Hill. For me he’s made some of the most interesting and action packed films that I’ve enjoyed repeatedly. STREETS OF FIRE, SOUTHERN COMFORT, 48 HOURS, THE WARRIORS and THE LONG RIDERS to name a few. Hill has always made movies that would fall under the category of man’s man films. So to learn he was making a movie about the old west and the hunt for Geronimo was not a surprise.

As the Indian Wars were coming to an end the Cavalry was rounding up the remnants of the various tribes to escort them to reservations to live on. The story is narrated by young recently graduated military academy Lt. Britton Davis (Matt Damon). It is through his eyes we see the story unfold as well as his glimpse into the land it takes place in. Assigned to help Lt. Charles Gatewood (Jason Patric) escort Geronimo to a meeting with Brig. Gen. George Crook (Gene Hackman) he quickly learns what the west is all about.

Learning from Gatewood and from Geronimo as they travel he develops a respect for the Apache warrior and the code of honor that he lives by. Gatewood has seen and done much while out west and is sympathetic to the plight this man is going through even though he follows the orders given to him. It is through these two that most of the story unfolds.

Crook promises peace with the Indians as long as they remain on the reservation. He is a man they trust, one that they know will live up to his word. But the Apache were not farmers and it isn’t long before one of the medicine men begins claiming visions and encourages war. As the Cavalry attempt to arrest him he is shot and killed resulting in the Apache warriors reacting in kind. The word broken Geronimo and his tribe head out on a rampage against the white man.

Crook resigns after the failed attempt at peace and is replaced with Brig. Gen. Nelson Miles (Kevin Tighe) whose methods are not near so accommodating. Gatewood and his men accompanied by their long time tracker Al Sieber (Robert Duvall) hunt down Geronimo as he wreaks havoc across the countryside. But he is not their only problem. Bounty hunters trying to track him down turn out to be even more vicious than the Indian leader leaving bodies in their wake as well. The end result is known historically as Geronimo eventually was caught and surrendered spending the rest of his life in Florida, once more lied to as he was told he would only be there 2 years.

One thing that makes this movie stand out as so different from others that discussed the same subject matter is that it doesn’t condescend or preach about the topic at hand, the lies told to the Indians by a government intent of moving west. So many movies on the topic prior to this portrayed the Indians as “noble savages” which in itself seems to be an insulting phrase meant to be a compliment. On one hand we had movies made long ago that portrayed them as heartless killers but then after the 60s we had movies where they were the infringed upon owners of the west. Ignored was the fact that for centuries people around the world have been conquered by an invading force who determined their outcome.

What made this different than most was the near attempt at genocide of the Native American Indian. And Hill doesn’t dwell on this topic in a morose way that says oh poor me. Instead he shows a proud leader who is doing all he can to save his people from extinction even if that word was not in his vocabulary. It isn’t until the final moments of the film when we see the Indians loaded in box cars on their way to Florida that one thinks of this. Images of Jews in the same sort of conditions making their way to concentration camps come easily to mind while seeing this.

The movie is best because it doesn’t take one extreme side or the other. It tells the tale of a vanquished people but never paints either side as wholly right or wrong. For the soldiers they are doing nothing more than following the directives sent to them from Washington. They’re not the redneck gun toting soldiers as portrayed in those late 60s/early 70s films determined to do nothing more than “kill an ‘injin”. They are soldiers, nothing more. And in Gatewood, Crook and Davis we see that they not only learned to do their duty but learned something from the man they were sent to capture.

All actors on hand here turn in great performances. Patric once more shows that he was an actor that should have been provided more and better roles that he received. Odds are it was his personal life (if memory serves me correctly) that prevented that which is sad. Hackman. Need I say more? Damon turns in a great performance as a naïve recruit in what is one of his earliest performances. The most wasted actor here is Wes Studi as Geronimo. For a movie with the character’s name in the title it felt like he should have been onscreen more than he was. The moments with Studi there shows that we wasn’t just a Native American Indian actor but a great actor. Here too we have an actor who has been wasted by Hollywood and should have had more and better opportunities than to just play Indians.

The movie looks great in all the images presented with Hill being able to capture the vast openness of the west in golden hues that make you feel the oppressive heat as well as imagining inhaling the dust kicked up from the dirt strewn plains. It’s beautiful and deadly at the same time. The costumes here are well done as well, a little thought of part of a movie but necessary in period films. When done wrong everything looks new and polished in the worst settings but here it was done perfectly with a well-worn look to clothing items making them seem real. My only issue with the movie was the sound. It seems movie makers are determined to shoot dialogue scenes with the lowest volume possible and action sequences as loud as can be. And having them occur back to back leads a viewer to strain to hear what’s being said only to be blown out of their seats seconds later. Thank goodness for subtitles.

When released the movie did decent numbers but nothing stupendous. That might be because at the same time another film based on Geronimo came out from Ted Turner that ran on TV. It might also have been the title which Hill is said to have been unhappy with preferring THE GERONIMO WAR to this one, a title that would have made more sense. The good news is that fans can now own a solid copy of the film and those that have never seen it have an opportunity to do so.

Twilight Time. I never get tired of saying this. Twilight Time is releasing the film in the best possible format and presentation possible in 1080p hi-def blu-ray format. Perhaps the only disappointing thing about this release is that the extras are limited to an isolated music track and the original theatrical trailer. As with all of their releases this one is limited to just 3,000 copies so if interested pick one up soon.

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