1986 Beatrice Film
Directed by Bruno Mattei as Vincent Dawn
With Sebastian Harrison, Lola Forner, Alberto Farnese, Alan Collins
Review by Paul Cooke
‘‘If they learn you are Apache they will kill you’’With an opening sequence reminiscent of ‘The Little House On The Prairie’ a wholesome family seeks out the Promised Land. Children play by a stream as a proud father and husband looks protectively over them and his pregnant wife. The tranquil scene is shattered as a vagrant band of evil men approach with savage intent and the serene picture swiftly turns into a canvas of blood!
Having witnessed her kin’s massacre the childbearing woman is herself brutalized to the point of death, yet survives long enough to see retribution carved into the cold hearts of the protagonists. Scouting indigenous Native Americans strike down the bastard spawn of the West in graphic detail.
The rescued woman is taken back to the Indian camp but soon dies. The unborn baby is cut from her womb and a boy child is ushered into the world to its adopted family, with a given name of Shining Sky. Raised as a second son, by the Chief and his woman, Shining Sky grows up alongside his kindred brother Black Wolf. As the two grow into strong and healthy young braves a beautiful young squaw named Rising Star vies for their attention. When playful flirtation leads to the pretty young Indian woman expressing her true affection for star Sebastian Harrison’s character Shining Sky the innocence of youth is forever lost in a moment of jealous rage. Black Wolf strikes out at Shining Star and a tragic twist of fate brings about his death at the hand of his pale-faced brother. Shining Star is cast out into the wilderness by the tribe, armed only with kindly words of wisdom from his adoptive father and parables of the white man. Forced to seek out a new way of life he leaves with heavy heart but promises to never betray his upbringing.
Strolling into a Western town he soon runs into trouble with the local bigoted sheriff. A fair-minded landowner gives him a job after he helps tame a seemingly unmanageable wild horse that belongs to him. Shining Sky adopts the pretense of being a mute in order to educate himself in the ways of these newfound people hoping to attract less attention to himself. He catches the eye of the town jezebel Isabella and very soon is persecuted by the town’s bad element that suspects him to be a reviled half-breed. In true man against the odds fashion Sebastian Harrison’s foremost ‘Thunder’ character is set upon, beaten to breaking point and forced out into the desert land. Isabella rescues him and nurses him back to health, but when he later rejects her advances, and reveals that he does have a voice, she turns upon him like a true woman scorned.
Backed by the sheriff and a despotic political Colonel the troublesome town element go on a killing rampage, masquerading their intent as a gun run to the surrounding Native American tribes. They freely maraud through the settlement where Shining Sky was raised, indiscriminately butchering and killing all in their wake. The scene is set for Shining Sky to fight back against the tyranny of the white man as he chooses to fulfill his true destiny as the ‘White Apache’! He fights to save his native people and the woman he loves, Rising Star. The end Action sequence has Shining Sky fighting back against all those who oppressed him in a good old-fashioned Cowboys and Indians showdown, effectively infused with all the gory expressionism of the similarly thematic ‘Soldier Blue’. Several bloody and vicious moments leap off the screen, including the unexpected shot of an axe firmly implanted into a face. The brutality of the plight of the Native American is strikingly played out with a cumulative final play of justified retribution. The movie ends in an unbelievably savage fashion that fatefully unravels to a startling conclusion. Director Bruno Mattei delivers a noticeably profound and meaningful interpretation on a well-documented plight of oppression. Told from the vantage point of the Native American, this is indeed a ‘Brave’ interpretation.4 Exploding Huts!
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