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Tricia's retro film review: Only the Valiant

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Only the Valiant


Only the Valiant is the 1951 western starring Gregory Peck. He plays Captain Lance, who is able to capture Tucsos, leader of the Apache’s after they attack Fort Invincible. However, he is not able to escort him, instead the Fort assigns Lt. Holloway, who is Lance’s rival in love. He is klled and Tucsos is able to escape. Everybody uses Captain Lance as a scapegoat, including the object of his affection, Cathy. They still need him in order to lead a group to defend the fort. Can he redeem himself?

When Gregory Peck regrets taking on a movie role, you know there’s a problem. To be fair, the movie isn’t bad, it is just unmemorable. It is a formula film that neither uses the storytelling tools to tell a great story, neither does it go against the formula. The viewer does have to feel sorry for Captain Lance, since Lt. Holloway is dead, they can’t blame him for letting the Apaches free Tucsos, so they pick the next convenient target. It doesn’t make any sense either, as not only was Captain Lance not there, he even offered to do the job himself. It feels as if the movie is artificially creating conflict through flimsy means. Even Cathy comes close to accusing him of murdering Holloway so he can have her. The assignment where Lance leads a ragtag group of misfits to defend Fort Invincible feels less like Lance’s “redemption” arc and more like he has to jump through a series of hoops before the group will accept him again. But other than that, there are no other huge flaws in the movie. At least Gregory Peck doesn’t embarrass himself in this movie, as he is such a good actor that he can compose himself with dignity. Honolulu western fans should rent this film first.

More at: Tricia’s Retro Film Reviews

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