Only The Valiant

  • 1951
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Western

Though a disappointing western with a routine plot, ONLY THE VALIANT is somewhat redeemed by its star and a solid supporting cast. Peck plays a hard-nosed Army captain who is assigned to lead a detachment of men to guard a narrow pass that will be used by the Apaches to attack an undermanned fort. Their job is to hold off the warring Apaches until a reinforcement...read more

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Though a disappointing western with a routine plot, ONLY THE VALIANT is somewhat redeemed by its star and a solid supporting cast. Peck plays a hard-nosed Army captain who is assigned to lead a detachment of men to guard a narrow pass that will be used by the Apaches to attack an

undermanned fort. Their job is to hold off the warring Apaches until a reinforcement unit of 400 soldiers arrives. The by-the-book captain selects the toughest, most unruly men in the cavalry for the mission (Bond, Chaney, Young, Brand, and Brodie among them), all of whom hate his guts. Then,

through rigorous training and discipline, Peck manages to whip the men into shape and transforms them into a dedicated group of soldiers. Love interest is provided by Payton, the only woman in the film, and though she has struck up a romance with Young, she gives Peck some encouraging signs. The

rivalry between the two men causes trouble, especially after Peck sends Young out on a suicide mission in his place. Peck's decision is viewed as romantically self-serving by his men and by Payton, a move which further erodes his authority. Eventually the Indians attack and in the heat of battle

Peck redeems himself in the eyes of his men. Though only three soldiers survive, the mission is a success. The script of ONLY THE VALIANT never rises above the intelligence of a B western and the production design is obviously artificial, but the cast makes all the difference. Bond's performance

as the alcoholic corporal is the real standout among the unit of misfits and he is well complemented by the swarthy likes of Chaney, Brand, and Corey, the last playing a scout. Peck's participation in the film was arranged against his will by David O. Selznick. Selznick's company was sinking fast

after the twin financial disasters of THE PARADINE CASE (1948) and PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1949), and he needed to raise some quick cash. Having secured several big-name actors under contract, the producer began selling their talents to rival studios for big fees. Soon Peck's turn came, and though the

actor disliked the script, his services were sold to Warner Bros. for $150,000. Peck himself was paid an additional $60,000, but he was unhappy with the film and somewhat offended that he had to play opposite a no-name actress like Payton after having worked with the likes of Ingrid Bergman, Greer

Garson, and Jennifer Jones. Despite his reservations, Peck turned in a decent performance and pulled the film out of the doldrums.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Though a disappointing western with a routine plot, ONLY THE VALIANT is somewhat redeemed by its star and a solid supporting cast. Peck plays a hard-nosed Army captain who is assigned to lead a detachment of men to guard a narrow pass that will be used by… (more)

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