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12 user 4 critic

The Vanishing American (1925)

History, as portrayed in this film, has been a succession of conquests of stronger races over weaker ones. As played out on the stage of Monument Valley, long ago, tribes of Indians ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Marion Warner
...
Booker
...
Earl Ramsdale
Nocki ...
Indian Boy
Shannon Day ...
Gekin Yashi
Charles Crockett ...
Amos Halliday
...
Bart Wilson
Bernard Siegel ...
Do Etin
...
Joe Ryan ...
Jay Lord
...
Shoie
Bruce Gordon ...
Rhur
Richard Howard ...
Glendon
John Webb Dillion ...
Naylor (as John Webb Dillon)
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Storyline

History, as portrayed in this film, has been a succession of conquests of stronger races over weaker ones. As played out on the stage of Monument Valley, long ago, tribes of Indians defeated the ancient cliff dwellers; then came the Europeans to conquer the Indians. Now, in the early 20th Century, a tribe of Navajo live on a reservation overseen by an Indian-hating agent, Booker. He and his men steal the best Indian horses for their own profit. Nophaie, a tribal leader, complains to Booker's higher-ups, but he is unable to gain fair treatment from the whites. When World War I breaks out, an Army captain comes west in search of the horses that Booker was supposed to have bought from the Indians for a fair price. Marian Warner, the teacher at the Indian School, has befriended Nophaie, teaching him to read; she convinces him that the Great War is a fight for a more just world, and that, when that world comes, the Indian will be better treated. Nophaie not only brings horses for the Army,... Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

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Genres:

Western

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Release Date:

15 February 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alma Cabocla  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Stevens - an Apache Indian who is the grandson of legendary warrior Geronimo - plays Shoie in this film, and played Quah-Tan in the 1955 version (The Vanishing American (1955)). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Laggies (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
considering when it was made, a very moving film that was ahead of its time
10 August 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Okay, it is very possible to quibble with this film if you are too wrapped up in political correctness. Sure, it's a real shame that the film starred the white actor, Richard Dix, in dark paint as the Indian lead in the film. However, having White actors play Indians was pretty much the rule up to the 1960s, so I could easily overlook this. And, the beginning of the film can seem a tad preachy and irrelevant (though I liked it, Leonard Maltin's Guide knocked this section of the film). However, given that the film was made in the rather racist 1920s (when the KKK was on the rise and one of the strongest political forces in America), it is a truly amazing and transcendent film that definitely deserves to be seen and appreciated.

Unlike the typical cowboy movie of the day, the Indians in the film are neither blood-thirsty savages nor are they simple-minded. Instead, the are uniformly shown as decent Americans who want a fair shake and a part of the American Dream. In fact, their desire to become TRUE Americans and their love of their country make this a great patriotic film. While based on all the horrible injustices they received in the film, their fundamental decency seems amazing.

In addition to excellent acting, writing and direction, special attention must be focused on the spectacular and breathtaking cinematography--especially towards the beginning of the film. The scenes of the Grand Canyon are among the most beautiful ever filmed during the silent era and are in many ways reminiscent of moving versions of Ansel Adams photos. The film is a true work of art.


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