Film #129: ULZANA'S RAID
4 out of 5 stars
After a raid by a widely-known, violent Apache Indian, an idealistic young lieutenant played by Bruce Davison (WILLARD) and a hardened man of the wilderness played by Burt Lancaster (THE PROFESSIONALS, BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ) head out into the desert in search of the raiding party in director Robert Aldritch’s (THE DIRTY DOZEN, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, THE LONGEST YARD… and dozens of other films) classic Western. What’s interesting about this film is that it is not your typical shoot-em-up Western, but rather a film with a much more introspective and philosophical heart. Whereas Lancaster is the voice of experience and a man who has come to terms with the nature of men, Davison signifies youthful idealism and the steadfast believe in the “higher” aspirations of the human spirit. Ulzana… he represents chaos and is the figure which suggests a violent retribution for the crimes committed against him (and Indians in general). Heady stuff, indeed. As the film progresses, it soon enough becomes a cat-and-mouse game, with who is the cat and who is the mouse left ambiguous. Why this film doesn’t not get more praise is beyond me. Beautifully shot, scripted well and with great subtlety, ULZANA’S RAID is a little known treasure and deserving of a much broader discovery. I HIGHLY recommend this to fans of all types of cinema. Even if you think you don’t like Westerns, rent this one.