Classic Film Review- The Unforgiven (1960)

The Unforgiven Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is one classy lady. Even in The Unforgiven, directed by John Huston and starring Burt Lancaster, Aldie Murphy, John Saxon, Charles Bickford, Ben Maddow, James Hill, and a few others in very minor roles. 

The Zachary family lives on the Texas frontier. Their patriarch, Will, has been killed in a Kiowa (a nearby Native American tribe) raid. He is survived by his wife Mattilda, his sons Ben, Cash, Andy, and their adopted sister Rachel. 

They work for a local rancher named Zeb Rawlins who leads cattle drives to Wichita and hates the Kiowa people. However, an old enemy of Will Zachary surfaces and he reveals that Rachel was not a baby rescued from an abandoned stage coach, but a Kiowa that Will spared from a massacre. 

This revelation turns Rawlins, his family, and his ranch hands against the Zachary family. Even Cash is furious, leaving the family behind. To make matters worse, the Kiowa people are coming for Rachel, being led by her brother. 

The film had a troubled history. Director John Huston fought with the film’s producers on the direction on the film, which he wanted to make a statement against racism. Audrey Hepburn suffered a back injury while riding a horse and had a miscarriage. When it came out, it was met with savage reviews and Huston, Hepburn, and Lancaster all have since renounced the film.

That is a shame because the film is a fine example of how a great movie, especially a Western came be made. It had a great story and great acting. I will admit, the movie just kind of ended. It needed an epilogue to help the conclusion. Other than that, I found it quite enjoyable. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: Shoo now! Shoo! Ain’t you got no better manners than to eat at the top of a house?

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Frank discussions of race and violence

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