If ever there were a filmmaker for whom 70mm were made, it’s John Ford. It’s a shame he didn’t get to work with the format until late in his career (he only made two subsequent features), and that Cheyenne Autumn is hardly a film to rank among his best works.
It’s a disjointed telling of a tribe of Cheyenne Indians and their 1,500-mile journey back to their homeland from enforced exile and a harsh winter spent in a reservation – something of an apologia for Ford’s less-than-progressive depictions earlier in his career.
While the film feels padded to epic length – not least through a diversion to Dodge City for an extended James Stewart cameo – there’s no denying the majesty of its location work, stunningly captured in Super Panavision 70 by cinematographer William Clothier.
Captain Thomas Archer
2nd Lieutenant Scott
Major Jeff Blair
Sr First Sergeant Stanislas Wichowsky
Major ‘Dog’ Kelly
Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior
Edward G. Robinson
Nanomba ‘Moonbeam’ Morton