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||IMDB Rating: 6.3/10 from 499 votes
||Release: 23 July 1967 (USA) /
||Genre: Action, Drama, Western
||Director: Gordon Douglas,
||Stars: Barry O'Hara, Ernest Borgnine, Gerald York, Herlinda Del Carmen, Hugh Reilly, James Whitmore, John Mills, Joseph Sirola, Louis Hayward, Luciana Paluzzi, Lucky Carson, Marco López, Michael Cole, Rod Taylor, Victoria Vetri
||Synopsis: While Indians besiege a U.S. Army fort in 1876, residents of the fort a gunfighter, a stagecoach driver, two Mexican women, and a motley company of soldiers try to come to terms with their pasts.
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Just recently I found a video store in New Haven County where fine old
westerns can be had on VHS. One of the ones I had long wanted to see
was "CHUKA" or Chuka: the Gunfighter, from 1967.
The video transfer was high quality and so watching this movie on tape
was an enjoyable experience. Luciana Paluzzi is stunningly beautiful.
Indeed, Chuka is something of a Hollywood fantasy but the tone and the
settings of the story are fairly well done.
Both Paluzzi and her niece, played by Victoria Vetri ( as Angela Dorian
), do very well in this western oddity. Ernest Borgnine is good as
ever, at being Ernest Borgnine. Rod Taylor was also very good and very
believable as the cowpuncher turned hardened hired killer.
The most interesting part of the story was about how Fort Clendennon
became a dumping ground for misfits, rejects, and bad officers. This is
a well-known but seldom portrayed part of the truth of how the U.S.
Army operated in the late 1870's. It is true that in this fiction, many
of the soldiers and civilians seem to be just a little too clean for
that day and age, but it doesn't really detract from the rapid pace of
the events in this drama.
Additionally, the extreme deprivation imposed on the Arapaho tribal
nation by the Army at this time is another important element. The
"injuns" are rather cartoonish in their depictions but at least some
aspects of their true grievances are relayed in the plot.
Perhaps this Chuka -- pronounced Chuck-Uh -- is a lot more savvy than
circumstances in that day and age might have permitted, but Rod Taylor
does really well at being fast-as-lightning and very tough.
This film gets a vote of 7 from me, which was really a six with a
kicker for the beautiful Vetri and the beautiful Paluzzi.
Many of the better westerns have been good about presenting the Mexican
culture of that time in a favorable light, and this is one of them, and
neither Vetri nor Paluzzi appear as simply being "eye candy" for a
rough-and-tumble western. The dinner sequence where Colonel Valois
rakes his officers over the coals and embarrasses them all is a
piece-de-resistance in western drama. Other elements are not so
convincing but this is fun way to see a good western drama from a
by-gone era of movie making.
Chuka derives its power from the high quality of the story on which it
is based. I can recommend it heartily for western fans, for Victoria
Vetri fans, and for Rod Taylor's excellent, dynamic performance.
Tags for Chuka Full Movie
, Ernest Borgnine
, Gerald York
, Herlinda Del Carmen
, Hugh Reilly
, James Whitmore
, John Mills
, Joseph Sirola
, Louis Hayward
, Luciana Paluzzi
, Lucky Carson
, Marco López
, Michael Cole
, Rod Taylor
, Victoria Vetri
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