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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Legend of Custer: Cinema Archives'
(Wayne Maunder, Slim Pickens, Michael Dante, Robert F. Simon, Mary Ann Mobley, et al / DVD / NR / (1968) 2016 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: In 1868, after the Civil War, Custer takes charge of a mix of ex-Confederates and criminals, the 7th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hays, Kansas. His boss General Terry doesn't like his methods or his long blond hair, but he manages to keep fighting the Sioux.

DVD Verdict: A feature film cobbled together from episodes of the short lived "Custer" television series, 'The Legend Of Custer' looks fantastic with great cinematography and excellent locations. It's historically bankrupt (not just inaccurate) plot involves Custer and Crazy Horse being captured by a tribe of Blackfoot and being forced to work together to escape and survive a dangerous trek back to civilization.

All that said, Custer has been portrayed countless times in the movies, mostly as an ambitious, glory-seeking officer who led his men into an ambush at the Little Big Horn. 'The Legend of Custer' gives us another view of the man — a sharp military officer who disobeyed orders primarily because he was a better strategist and tactician than his superiors. This feature film is an expanded, re-edited pilot for a TV series that aired a few months in late 1967. It contains plenty of action with lots of stunt work.

In closing, as a fictionalized drama, it nonetheless depicts Custer as more than a foolhardy, inept, irresponsible man. Maunder is not the most exciting screen Custer, but serviceable enough. Sure, Maunder looks like Custer, but this doesn't capture any of the arrogance or the amorality of the man. Here he's a hard driving but just and wise. This isn't too bad, but I would definitely recommend watching 'Custer Of The West' for a better (though also historically inaccurate) viewing experience. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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