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The Savage

The Savage(1952)

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The working title of this film was Warbonnet. According to onscreen credits, the picture was photographed in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Studio publicity material adds that twenty-five separate South Dakota locations were used, including several in Custer State Park. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the production was headquartered in Rapid City, SD. In most reviews and news items, actor Michael Tolan is listed as Lawrence Tolan, the name under which he began his screen career. The Savage marked the actor's first screen credit as Michael.
       According to MPAA/PCA records, contained at the AMPAS Library, Don Martin wrote a draft of the film's screenplay. Martin's contribution to the final film has not been confirmed, however. According to studio publicity, over 200 Sioux Indians, including Sitting Bull's 91-year-old son John Sitting Bull, were cast in the picture. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast: Joe Lopez, Paul Salata, Burton Topper, Ken Swanson, Billy Wilson, Michael Tellegen, Al Conde, Rudy Masson, Joseph Garcia, Leo Richmond, Charles Rivero, George Sawaya, Charles Soldani, Ralph Barba, Jean Mullen, Edith Mills, Shela Fritz, Mary Turbay, Bertha Cody, Andrea Bird, Soledad Gonzales, Lemmana Guerin, Vi Ingraham, Beulah Archuletta, Joe Sadd, John Eberts, Renato Siauss, Tom Tamarez, Baudelio Alva, Jeri Groves, Panchita Acosta, Carlos Acosta, Helen Sky Eagle, Stevie White Flower and Princess Whynemah. The appearance of these actors in the final film has not been confirmed. According to Hollywood Reporter, Conde, who was announced in the role of an "Indian," was the basketball coach at the University of Southern California at the time of production.
       The Variety reviewer remarked that "the core of the [racial] matter, while suggested throughout, has been bypassed for a standard round-up of reactionaries and liberals, both red and white....But in a few cryptic scenes between the hero and a grizzled, plain-talking sergeant...this Hollywood semi-sermon has its best moments and hits the nail squarely on the head." The Savage was the last released film to star Richard Rober, who died in 1952.