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Anchor Bay presents
One Little Indian (1973)

"Why, you ain't anymore Cheyenne than I am."
- Clint Keyes (James Garner)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: June 25, 2000

Stars: James Garner, Vera Miles
Other Stars: Clay O'Brien, Jodie Foster, Pat Hingle, Morgan Woodward, John Doucette
Director: Bernard McEveety

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:30m:00s
Release Date: May 02, 2000
UPC: 013131109597
Genre: family

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Director Bernard McEveety's filmography reads like the top ten listing for television series from the late 1960's through today. His name is attached to shows like Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, The Waltons, The Rockford Files, and The A-Team to name a few. There is a saying in Hollywood that the hardest things to work with are kids and animals, and McEveety must have had his hands full when he signed on to direct a lion, camels and bears in the early 1970's on a trio of Disney films, Napoleon and Samantha (1972—Jodie Foster, Johnny Whitaker), One Little Indian (1973-James Garner), and The Bears and I (1974). These three films all had one thing in common besides their director, and that was the inclusion of animals as major part of the starring lineup.

One Little Indian opens with Clint Keyes (James Garner) riding horseback with hands tied behind his back across the New Mexican countryside (actually shot in Utah), pursued by a pair of US Cavalry officers bent on tying a noose around his neck for mutiny and desertion. He is captured and taken back to a nearby fort, where the fort's captain (Pat Hingle) is having a group of Cheyenne indians prepared for transport to a reservation. This includes a young white boy who is segregated from his people and taken under the supervision of the fort's chaplain (Andrew Prine), who christens him Mark. Mark soon escapes and ends up in the desert running into fellow escapee Keyes, who is now on his way to Mexico saddled upon "Rosie," a member of the U.S. Camel Corps and being tailed by Rosie's young offspring. Keyes reluctantly agrees to take Mark into the mountains with him, and the two start their journey eventually running into a widow, Doris McIver (Vera Miles) and her daughter Martha (Jodie Foster), who themselves are on their way up to Colorado. Imploring Doris to help Mark find his family, Keyes abandons him and sets out again, but Mark is soon after him again, and the chase is on to keep Keyes from the noose, and get Mark back to his people.

One Little Indian is great family entertainment, in the traditional '70s Disney style. Garner is engaging with a characterisation fairly close to his Rockford Files persona, reluctantly helping out and with hidden but well-meaning intentions. Clay O'Brian does an impressive job as the young indian boy, and Rosie the camel is an amusing as Garner's irritable companion and sidekick. It is easy to see why Jodie Foster has become such a huge star, as even this early performance steals the screen, and despite a very short appearance in the film, it is interesting to note she now has third billing on the cover art. The film has all the Disney elements that trademarked their film catalogue, humor, adventure, and a little bit of sadness. It is refreshing to revisit films like this as an adult and find that they are still entertaining and don't play down to a younger audience. Although this may not be one of the greatest Disney films ever produced, it is nonetheless very enjoyable.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: One Little Indian is presented in both 1.85:1 non-anamorphic and unmatted full frame. Aside from the title roll and a few places in the remainder of the film where dust and dirt are evident, the transfer is a very solid one. The film shows its age in the colors rendered, but they are vibrant and free from blooming. Black level is good, and overall the presentations are great, with only very minor scan lines viewable on the zoomed widescreen version in some scenes. The image was reviewed from the widescreen presentation, but spot checks of the full frame version revealed no anomalies and image quality consistent with the widescreen side. The only really glaring anomalies are the obviously fake process shots of actors on horseback, which look somewhat funny now that this type of scene would appear seamless if shot today.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: An english 2-channel mono is the only available option. It is clean and hiss is barely audible. Looped dialogue sounds somewhat detached in places, but other than that the audio gets a good passing grade. This isn't an effects showcase, and Anchor Bay has done a good job preserving the soundtrack which features a lively Jerry Goldsmith score.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Since this is a Disney license, the lack of any extras comes as no surprise. We get one menu screen with play and chapter listing options. The disc does ship with a heavy card insert which features one sheet artwork on one side and the chapter listing on the reverse. I very much enjoy the inclusion of these one sheet reproductions in Anchor Bay DVDs, and hope they continue the practice.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

It is nice to have access to these 1970's Disney live-action films, and the presentation here is very good despite the lack of anamorphic transfers or any extras. One Little Indian is a charming film that will entertain young and old alike, in typical, old style Disney fashion. Recommended.


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