Politics By Other Means In “Calvary Charge”

Strongly does the Western Calvary Charge (formerly titled The Last Outpost, 1951) create the impression that politics means war, literal war, not just between North and South in the American Civil War but also between 19th-century whites and Indians. Also conveyed is what Clausewitz propounded: that war is the continuation of politics by other means.

Men in this film are usually soldiers—Ronald Reagan has the lead role as Capt. Vance Britten (a Rebel)—but, too, they are men of politics. For example, because of a deal he has made with the Apaches, Britten opposes a government official’s desire to keep a small group of Indians locked up in a cell. Releasing them would obviate an Apache attack on both Northerners and Southerners.

Directed by Lewis Foster, Calvary Charge is more than a B movie but certainly less than a great Western. It is pretty rich, though, for a 90-minute film. Reagan doesn’t project enough personality even though, like co-star Rhonda Fleming, he is likable. Fleming is largely successful in her role. She and Technicolor seem to go together seamlessly. (This movie is available on tubitv.com)

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