The Charge at Feather River (1953) starring Guy Madison, Frank Lovejoy, Helen Westcott, Vera Miles, Dick Wesson, Onslow Stevens, Steve Brodie directed by Gordon Douglas Movie Review

The Charge at Feather River (1953)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Guy Madison in The Charge at Feather River (1953)

The Wilhelm Western

With the railroad edging ever closer to Cheyenne territory Lt. Col. Kilrain (Fay Roope) is concerned that a war is imminent and even more concerned that the two white McKeever sisters who were taken by the Cheyenne many years earlier have been spotted near by and when the fighting starts there will be no hope of rescuing them. That is why he called for Miles Archer (Guy Madison - Till the End of Time) who with his knowledge of the Cheyenne is perfect to lead a rescue mission except the only men that Kilrain can offer Archer is a bunch of misfit soldiers all under arrest for various crimes. The question is will the sisters want to return even if Archer and his men rescue them.

There are two notable things which are worth mentioning about "The Charge at Feather River" but before I get to them I will quickly mention the movie itself, a solid but not great western. There is not a lot wrong with it and for those who know there old war movies will notice a similarity to "The Dirty Dozen" with a bunch of arrested soldiers sent on a deadly rescue mission. The banter is generally amusing, the action is just frequent enough and there is a decent atmosphere as well. Basically it is a solid but typical western the sort of which dominated the 1950's with in this case Guy Madison playing the handsome heroic lead.

Vera Miles and Guy Madison in The Charge at Feather River (1953)

But as I said there are two notable things about "The Charge at Feather River" and the first of those is that it incorporated elements of 3-D. Now there is nothing special about that as such other than it appears to do a good job of using the technology without feeling forced. Where as many movies which tried to use 3-D did so in a less than subtle way with too many staged scenes here many of the scenes are actually part of the story. When Archer is training the men the moments of 3-D are well worked in to wow the audience rather than be a novelty and it is the same through out.

The other thing which "The Charge at Feather River" is worth mentioning for is the famous "Wilhelm Scream". Now the scream itself started in 1951 when it was recorded for an earlier movie called "Distant Drums" but after its use here it was named after the scene where Pvt. Wilhelm is shot with an arrow.

What this all boils down to is that "The Charge at Feather River" is a solid little western which did a better job than many of using 3-D but it is nothing special.