Fox's UNTAMED (1955) is a splendid romantic adventure story set in 1850's Africa. Beautifully photographed in Cinemascope and DeLuxe colour by Leo Tover it was nicely written for the screen by Talbot Jennings, Frank Fenton and Michael Blankfort and was based on the novel by Helga Moray. Tyrone Power was the star and once again was directed by his favourite director and friend Henry King. Co-starring, in the pivotal female lead, was the lovely Susan Hayward. And rounding out the fine cast was Richard Egan (never better), Agnes Moorhead, Brad Dexter, John Justin and Hope Emerson. Although he was the star in two Cinemascope productions for Columbia Pictures - "The Long Grey Long" (1955) and "The Eddie Duchin Story" (1956) UNTAMED was just one of only three Cinemascope pictures Tyrone Power would appear in for 20th Century Fox, his home studio for more than 15 years. The others being "King Of The Khyber Rifles" (1953)and "The Sun Also Rises" (1957). The latter being the only one to be released on DVD. Quite unbelievably neither "Khyber" nor UNTAMED have ever been issued in any format whatsoever! WHY? Time and place is immediately established by Susan Hayward's voice-over at the opening of UNTAMED as she informs us "This is County Limerick Ireland - the year is 1847". Hayward is Katie O'Neill the spirited daughter of rich land owner and horse breeder Squire O'Neill (Henry O'Neill). A Boer leader Paul Von Riebeck (Power) arrives from South Africa to buy some horses and after Katie causes him to be unseated from his horse during a Fox hunt ("I came to Ireland to buy horses - not to be killed by one") the two fall in love. But love isn't strong enough to hold Von Riebeck in Ireland and as a Dutch Free State commander must return to Africa to build up his country. Heartbroken, Katie later marries neighbour Sean Kildare (John Justin) and the following year when the potato famine ravages and decimates Ireland Katie and her family, along with the thousands of Irish, emigrate to Africa to start a new life. After the movie's excellent set piece of a Zulu attack on their settler's wagon train in which Katie's husband is killed she meets up again with Von Riebeck and after many eventualities, including a well staged Bullwhip fight between Paul and rival Kurt (Richard Egan), Katie and Paul finally come together for a happy ending. Complimenting the picture throughout is the lavish music score by the great Franz Waxman.There is a rich full orchestral romantic main theme heard first under the titles and given different treatments as the story demands. Also there is a ravishing love theme for the tender scenes with Katie and Paul. Augmented by biting brass figures the Zulu attack on the settler's wagons is scored for an array of African percussion instruments and is rousingly and dramatically rhythmic. Waxman's evocative music perfectly captures the movie's complex moods of adventure, love, pathos, bitterness and jealousy. Alongside "Prince Valiant" (1954) UNTAMED is Waxman's finest adventure score! UNTAMED is a somewhat forgotten minor epic and is possibly so because of its unavailability on either disc or tape which is something of a shame on the part of Fox Home Entertainment. But for those who are familiar with it it remains a memorable, enjoyable and colourful Cinemascope romance with two great stars in a picture that should be appreciated more and better known than it is.
Adventure / Drama / Romance
Adventure / Drama / Romance
In 1847, the Irish potato famine forces Katie O'Neill and her husband to emigrate to a troubled South Africa where Katie runs into an old flame.
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May 2, 2019