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Reprisal! (1956) HD online

Reprisal! (1956) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Action / Adventure / Drama / Western
Original Title: Reprisal!
Director: George Sherman
Writers: Arthur Gordon,David P. Harmon
Released: 1956
Duration: 1h 14min
Video type: Movie
New ranch owner Frank Madden, half Indian but posing as white, arrives just as an all white jury finds the three white Shipley brothers who lynched three Indians innocent. There is soon trouble between Frank and the Shipleys who are using Frank's land to graze their cattle. When the brother of one of the Indian victims kills a Shipley, Frank is accused and put in jail. The Shipleys then organize a lynch mob and head for the jail.
Complete credited cast:
Guy Madison Guy Madison - Frank Madden aka Neola
Felicia Farr Felicia Farr - Catherine Cantrell
Kathryn Grant Kathryn Grant - Taini
Michael Pate Michael Pate - Bert Shipley
Edward Platt Edward Platt - Neil Shipley
Otto Hulett Otto Hulett - Sheriff Jim Dixon
Wayne Mallory Wayne Mallory - Tom Shipley
Robert Burton Robert Burton - Jeb Cantrell
Ralph Moody Ralph Moody - Matara
Frank DeKova Frank DeKova - Charlie Washackle

Columbia's executives added an exclamation point to the end of the film's title.

The novel on which this film is based is set in Georgia rather than Oklahoma and takes place during a later period. The lynching is that of an African-American rather than a Native American's as shown in the film.

This is the first film from Romson Productions, owned by its star Guy Madison.

Wayne Mallory, who played the role of Tom Shipley, was in fact star Guy Madison's brother.

Reviews: [10]

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    As Frank Madden, Guy Madison has a past more mysterious than Shane's. When he buys a ranch in the Midwest as part of a long-time dream to be a respected land owner, he encounters obstacles at every point.

    George Marshall directs this B western with a master's touch. His handling of the mob scene, the near-lynching, the moving confrontation between Guy Madison and the Indian patriarch, and the final shootout are electrifying. Guy Madison gives one of his best performances in what is largely an unsympathetic role.

    In 74 minutes this western makes a statement about prejudice against native Americans that is both moving and relevant today. A-budget pictures should be as good.
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    Reprisal! Is directed by George Sherman and written by David P. Harmon, Raphael Hayes and David Dortort. It stars Guy Madison, Felicia Farr, Kathryn Grant, Michael Pate, Edward Platt, Otto Hulett, Wayne Mallory and Frank De Kova. Music is by Mischa Bakaleinikof and Technicolor cinematography by Henry Freulich.

    Frank Madden (Madison) is half white, half Indian, in order to be allowed to own his own land in the County of Kendall, Texas, he keeps his half-breed status a secret. Acquiring a ranch and land, Madden quickly falls foul of the Shipley brothers, a trio of thugs known to be Indian killers and intent on making Madden tow their party line.

    Nice, in fact something of a treat for Western fans. On plot terms it doesn't sound like much, the sort of run-of-the-mill Oater so prevalent in the 1950s, but there's a lot going on psychologically here to run along side the shoot em' ups, fisticuffs and simmering passions. It starts off very strongly with a court case as the Shipley brothers are on trial for lynching two Indians, clearly guilty, they of course get off because most of the town are Indian haters. This instantly sets it up for half-breed Madden to be constantly at war with himself, he wants to just settle down and earn a crust, but can he keep turning the other cheek as his half kin are abused and used by the very townsfolk he rubs shoulders with?

    He keeps winding up in situations where someone needs his help, and it frustrates him greatly, and when his Indian grandfather appears on the scene to offer some sage advice, his emotional confliction goes up still further. The back drop is a town bursting at the seams with racial tensions, then throw in revenge, mob justice, inter-racial lust and murders, you got yourself a film packing in as much as it can in its relatively short running time. It looks nice with photography out of Tuscon, the acting is up to the standard of the production, Grant and Farr are twin delights for the eyes, and Sherman once again proves to be a good old pro who knew his way around a Western.

    One of the better "B" Westerns of 1956, well worth catching by duster fans if the chance arises. 7.5/10
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    Pretty good western if you can get past Guy Madison as part Indian. Hiding his Indian blood so he can own land, Frank Madden (Madison) gets in trouble when one of the vicious Shipley brothers is killed for which he's blamed, and a lynch mob forms.

    Actually, there's more plot here than the 70-minute run time can accommodate. Add the two leading lady sub-plots to the Indian sub-plot to the Shipley brothers main plot, and you've got a lot of story complications. The screenplay does a fair job of integrating them, but there's still an overflow.

    The real oddity is Michael Pate playing a white guy (Bert Shipley) instead of an Indian in a western where Indians are featured. In fact, he darn near made a career out of playing Native Americans, so I'm wondering if a cast member dropped out at the last minute such that he had to switch roles. Anyway, he nearly steals the film with a lively, colorful performance.

    Also, veteran director Sherman manages to inject genuine energy into the several crowd scenes, especially the lynch mob march down the street that had me really worried for the hapless Madden. Then too, the Arizona locations add a scenic touch to a B-western that could have easily cut corners and stayed in LA. All in all, it's a decent, if crowded, little western with some interesting features.
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    It was interesting to learn that the origin of the film Reprisal! was a novel set in the post World War II south and it had to do with racial prejudice against black people. One can easily see why Columbia Pictures did not want to do an adaption in that vein. That southern market even in the beginning of the civil rights era was still a potent force. Ergo the setting was changed to the old west and the object of prejudice were Indians.

    Saying that Reprisal! is still a very powerful film and one hopes that in theaters in the south some people did get a more subtle message from the film. In a role similar to the one that Robert Taylor played in Devil's Doorway, Guy Madison plays a mixed racial individual who is passing for white because that's the only way he can own his own spread. He's bought a ranch that has been used by a trio of some loathsome brothers named Shipley played by Edward Platt, Michael Pate, and Wayne Mallory who have a bad hatred for the red man.

    When Madison is accused of killing Mallory the remaining two Shipley brothers stir the town into a lynching fever. After that the truth comes out all around.

    In fact Pate like many a redneck only carries his prejudice so far. He has the hots for Kathryn Grant and the future Mrs. Bing Crosby is quite the fetching woman here. I can see how this portion of the story translates into the pre-civil rights era culture in the deep south. But Grant likes Madison as does Felicia Farr daughter of the town newspaper editor Robert Burton.

    Even changing the location Columbia Pictures still made a fine drama about the evils of racial prejudice. It holds up well today.

    And this film review is dedicated to the people of Lancaster, New York who just changed their high school football team name from Redskins. A little viewing of this film and Devil's Doorway might give some of those who are still angry at the name change some understanding as to how offensive that name is.
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    I watched this film by accident, really, but it was actually very entertaining. The actor who played Guy Madison's grandfather was particularly good. I especially liked how the Native Americans were portrayed as human beings and not ruthless killers. This film was released in 1956, which shows a great effort for the producers to make such a film. The message is about unity and the human spirit. For that time period, I found the movie unique. It kept me watching. Plus, Madison has an interesting appeal as an actor because he never really made it big here in the United States. We know not all actors are great actors, and Madison wasn't phenomenal. However, he wasn't bad, either. So why wasn't he more of a major star? And even though I don't watch too many Westerns, I'd rather watch Madison than most of the other Western stars of that time. Like I said, interesting...
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    The original novel was written by Arthur Gordon, a Southerner who was educated at Yale and Oxford. During WWII, he read about a lynching in his home state of Georgia, and was so incensed by it, he came home and wrote Reprisal. The novel is a black/white story, not Indian/white, but otherwise pretty similar. Gordon's anger was based in the fact he was in Europe fighting Facists and Nazis, and back home there were people killing citizens--just like the Nazis. Plus there were thousands of black troops fighting in Europe against the Nazis as well. The injustice was too much, and so the author fought back using his novel to illuminate the issues of race and hate.
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    My best recollection of Guy Madison comes from watching the Fifties TV Western "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok"; this movie came out during the latter part of it's run from 1951 to 1958. As colorful as he was in that series, Madison is basically one dimensional here, possibly due to the instruction he was given from director George Sherman. One is left baffled in the early going as to why he's so antagonistic toward both Indians and whites, though it's eventually revealed about mid way into the story that Frank Madden (Madison) is a half breed.

    The picture offers some interesting perspectives on racism, particularly in the character of Catherine Cantrell (Felicia Farr). Her compassion toward Indians in the story is severely tested right after Taini (Kathryn Grant) provides cover for Madden's murder charge by stating that she spent the night with him. All of a sudden, Catherine's no longer the sympathetic, understanding woman who sees the good in everyone. It's a provocative scene because she reveals her own prejudice even while she can't believe she can have those kinds of feelings.

    Sheriff Jim Dixon (Otto Hulett) was a stand-up guy in the story for backing the law and putting Madden under protective custody before the town mob got out of control, but something he said managed to bother me. As Madden and Catherine Mitchell were discussing how feelings can lead to problems and misunderstanding, Dixon stated "The law has feelings too". In matters of right and wrong, I don't think feelings have any place in the interpretation of the law. It might have sounded good in the story when the sheriff said it, but I thought it was totally misplaced.

    Hey, how about that miracle shot Bert Shipley (Michael Pate) made when he hit Taini - she was standing almost directly behind Madden! Granted, he only grazed her arm but from where I sat it didn't look very believable. Bert was another interesting character by the way. A rabid racist along with his brothers, he didn't have a problem coming on to the Indian maiden Taini. His character was a brilliant expose on how bullies and thugs can rationalize their behavior when it's in their own self interest.

    Anyway, Madden is vindicated of the murder he's charged with, while the woman who earlier professed her love for him in front of the entire town finds herself free to join him. Considering Madden's temperament throughout most the story, the attempt at a feel good ending didn't quite strike me as a happy ride off into the sunset.
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    WARNING: spoilers.

    Guy Madison plays Frank Madden, a man who is half-Indian and half-white and who hides his Indian heritage in order to fit into white society. He's sick of the way Indians have been treated, banished to reservations and not having the same rights as the conquering white men. His goal is to be somebody by owning something of his own---in this case, land.

    After much effort he buys an old ranch outside of town, and problems begin. His neighbors---the nasty Shipley brothers---don't take kindly to the fact that he is fencing off his property. They have been using it as grazing land for free since the previous owners abandoned it.

    The rest of the movie is about his dealings with Neil, Bert, and Tom Shipley, his denial of his Indian heritage, and his relationship (poorly developed) with an attractive white woman in town. Prejudice, tyranny, fear, stubbornness, and insecurity are constant themes. So is poor acting. Madden acts as if he were mad at everyone, including Indians, and speaks mostly in anger. OK, he has a chip on his shoulder, but it's way overdone here, seeming laughable at times. Maybe in the mid-1950s that counted as drama.

    A scene near the end that made me wince. It was one of those improbable 'one man against the town' scenes that appear in a lot of westerns. In this case the one man is the sheriff. Madden has been jailed for his own protection after the evil Bert and Neil Shipley claim that he killed their brother Tom (he didn't). A mob led by Bert and Neil arrives at the jail and demands that the sheriff hand over Madden so it can administer its own justice: a rope. Not a single man of the town offers to help the sheriff quell the mob. He has at least one deputy, but I didn't see or hear him in that scene. If he were there and I missed him, so be it, but I think he was down in the saloon thinking about his insignificant part in the movie.

    Another scene was a pleasant curiosity. Two men are riding horses along a street in the town, and as the camera pans to the right to follow them, you can see that they are riding downhill. In almost every western I've seen, the town streets were flat as a squashed rattlesnake---no hills. This was a refreshing change from the norm, although it was probably an accident of choice of movie set rather than a conscious effort to insert a slope into a plot.

    To the credit of the writers and director, I have to say that the movie treats Indians as human beings, rather than taking the low road and using the stereotype of bloodthirsty savages. Too bad the protagonist couldn't relate to them---or to most people for that matter---until a tragedy near end of the story.

    Balancing the portrayal of Indians against my disappointments, I'll give it a 5.
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    The movie had the great idea of showing the prejudice that the Indians had to live through. Most Westerns, not all, didn't usually do this. Our hero of the movie is Frank Madden. He's a half-breed and he's hiding it. He decides when he grows up that he is going to be a white man and leave his Indian roots behind. As far as he's concerned, he's not an Indian anymore. He is not Neola (his real name). Now he is Frank Madden and he is going to own his own land. An Indian couldn't own their own land.

    This could've been a very good movie, but frankly I was letdown. The biggest problem is Guy Madison. With a better actor, this could've really worked. First of all, Madison does not look at all convincing as a half white and half Indian man. If they want an actor to look like a half-breed then they shouldn't get someone that looks so white. I loved Guy Madison in Till the End of Time. But in this movie he just wasn't good enough. This should've been such a dramatic role. But it's trivialized. Madison doesn't do a good enough job. He's not likable in the movie, you can never see the anguish or torment he's going through, or his inner struggle of a man that is torn between who he is and where he belongs.

    Imitation of Life was about a girl that was ashamed of being half white and half black. Like Frank Madden, she denies who she really is and passes herself off as white. When she makes her mother, who is black, go away in one scene, you can see what she's going through. When she is ashamed of her mother, you can see some emotion. Madison's performance is just dull and boring. When he has the scenes with Ralph Moody, who is playing his Indian grandfather, when he wants him to go away and leave him alone, they are so dull when they could've been so much better.

    This movie really just wasn't that good. You got some good performances out of Edward Platt, Wayne Mallory, and Michael Pate, who play the Shipley brothers. They're villains you love to hate. But they were just part of another Western cliché of a family or a group running a town and being above the law. Felicia Farr was okay as Catherine. Kathryn Grant was good as Taini, an attractive Indian girl. The ending also could've been so powerful when he finally reveals himself to be half Indian and tells the whole town his name is Neola. In the end, it takes tragic circumstances for him to finally come out with it. He is ashamed in the end that he left his people and went with the white men, who never gave him a chance. He declares he will go back to his people. He decides he's leaving and he will go to a place where people are accepting of him and will let him own his own land. Sounds powerful, right? It wasn't. Again, what could've been powerful is very dull.

    I compared this to Imitation of Life, but I have an even better one. This concept of the hero being a half-breed that doesn't know where he belongs was done years later when they made the Western Flaming Star. My advice is, check out Flaming Star instead of this. The idea in Flaming Star is used so much better and so much more effectively. The movie stars Elvis Presley as Pacer. It's a serious movie, very dramatic, and very memorable. There's also way more action and better action scenes with a better story. The movie also has a better script and Elvis Presley's performance is way better than Guy Madison's. In Flaming Star, Elvis had a chance to do all the things Madison should've done. The movie used the whole idea of the hero being torn way better. The hero also has a chance to make two great speeches. One when he decides what he's going to do and another at the end of the movie. Guy Madison never does this nearly as well. Not with enough feeling and not with enough emotion. His performance can be blamed partly on the script, but he did have a few chances to shine and he was very dull and had no charisma. If you haven't seen this, you're not really missing anything. But I do highly recommend Flaming Star, which is a better Western and a better movie in every way.
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    great ant

    Hollywood became the stalwart of the neo-Nazi party particularly during the sixties to the eighties, and sparks of it were seen in the fifties, as in the case of this racist Western.

    There isn't much story to the Western. It's the same neo-Nazi propaganda that became popular in later years, the same preaching of genocide by sex and race.

    If one looks at the Westerns of Hollywood during these racist years, including TV series, one sees the same monotonous theme: that it was expected for dark haired women to die, but never dark haired men. This went over great with the ladies in the audience, because in truth we all prefer dark hair and skin. If a white man married an Indian woman, Hollywood saw it necessary to see the woman die, and perhaps the man, too, but whatever, it ended horribly for them.

    However, the Indian man and blond white woman had nothing to worry about. There was never any suspense that Hollywood saw them as the only "true Americans", and they would always win.

    This was hammered into the heads of the public so much that people today who are brought up on this in their baby years may not even know how brainwashed they are. Those of us born in the fifties weren't allowed to watch TV till we were about nine, and we at least knew we were being brainwashed.

    This movie was the same old, same old, same old American racist preaching, and it's eaten up by the feeble minded, and by the female audience who prosper most under this system. For men, it's the most depressing world one can imagine.

    This movie offers nothing, and was intended to preach genocide. It's sad that so many great performers were in this, and I'd like to think they didn't know what they were getting into.