The Unforgiven

The Unforgiven

DVD - 2003
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A supposedly peace-loving community is shaken when the daughter of one of its white settlers is accused of being an Indian.


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Mar 30, 2017

John Huston's 1960 "The Unforgiven" was an attempt by Huston to explore America's white racism against Native Americans. He partially succeeded, but was thwarted by Hollywood moguls at every turn. Not only were all of the major Native Americans in the film played by white actors with a little tan make-up, but the "half-breed" character Johnny Portugal was played by John Saxon, an Italian-American actor (Italian-Americans were often considered to be non-white). Huston got it past the censors to have one of the racist characters claim that the Audrey Hepburn character was a red - Nig***! Is it an inside joke that Huston included Lillian Gish, one of the actors of "Birth of a Nation," the KKK loving racist film that southern president Woodrow WiIson played at the White House to indicate to white American that they were basically free to deny Civil Rights to non-white Americans? Is it surprising that 54 and 55 years after this film, the Oscars would claim that not one of the nominees for best actor and best supporting actor would include zero African-Americans, zero Native American, zero Asians, and zero Hispanics? Do you think that it was just an accident that this film got zero Oscar nominations for any actor, for director, producer, soundman, cinematographer, etc. etc.?

Jun 20, 2013

Released in 1960 - This big-budget Western, set in the mid-1800s, tells an uncomfortably awkward tale of hatred, racism, and intolerance. Its attempts to unveil the truth surrounding a 20 year-old secret that, due to one man's spite, is finally brought to light, is downright mean and nasty.

This film seemed to go out of its way to put Native Americans into a very bad light. Not only did it portray them as being very stupid warriors, as they managed to let 2 men and 2 women slaughter 40 of them in a matter of minutes - But this film also contained numerous racial slurs spoken venomously against Indians, even going so far as to refer to them as "niggers".

The Unforgiven also abounded with plenty of over-acting, especially from Burt Lancaster. The miscasting of Audrey Hepburn, as a Kiowa Indian, was yet another problem with this film's story.

All-in-all, I was very disappointed with this Western whose soundtrack music became so loud at times that it actually drowned out some of the dialogue.

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