Home > Greatest Scores of the Twentieth Century, Reviews > BROKEN ARROW – Hugo Friedhofer

BROKEN ARROW – Hugo Friedhofer

December 5, 2022 Leave a comment Go to comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1949 Darryl F. Zanuck, Director of Film Production at 20th Century Fox decided that the 1947 novel Blood Brother by Elliot Arnold, which explored the Arizona Indian War of 1870-1872 offered a compelling story, which needed to be brought to the bIg screen. He purchased the film rights, AND assigned production to Julian Blaustein, with Albert Maltz and Elliot Arnold hired to adapt the novel and write the screenplay. Delmer Daves was tasked with directing and a cast was assembled, which would cause great controversy. Once again, the issue was criticism of white actors coopting Indian roles. James Stewart at 41 would head the cast and star in his first Western film. Joining him would be Jeff Chandler as Cochise, Debra Paget as Sonseehray, Basil Ruysdael as General Oliver Howard, Will Geer as Ben Slade, and Jay Silverheels as Geronimo.

The film is set during the Arizona Indian Wars of 1870-1872, which was triggered once again by a clash of cultures as white settlers ignored treaties and came into conflict with the indigenous Indians over land, water and right of passage. Central to the film’s narrative is Tome Jeffords, who becomes estranged from his fellow white settlers after he treats a wounded Apache boy who had been shot in the back by whites. He is saved from being run out of town by General Otis Howard who condemns racial animus towards Indians and whose Christian ethic guides him to seek peace with Cochise. He recruits Jeffords who is learned in Apache customs and language to lead the negotiations. Jeffords marries an Indian woman Sonseeahray and enjoys a fleeting moment of happiness until violence breaks out between the Indian hater Ben Slade and his men, and the rebellious Geronimo who opposes Cochise’s peace with the white man. In the final battle Jeffords is badly wounded and his beloved Sonseeahray dies, yet Cochise does not seek vengeance and holds to the treaty saying Geronimo was as much at fault as Slade. After Jeffords heals he leaves with the memories saying “The death of Sonseeahray had put a seal upon peace, and from that day on wherever I went, in cities, among the Apaches, and in the mountains, I always remembered, my wife was with me”.

The film was a commercial success, earning $3.6 million. Critics praised the film for not surrendering to the historic Hollywood stereotypical portrayal of Indians, instead offering a more humane and sympathetic portrayal, which highlighted aspects of their culture. The film earned three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Today the film is viewed as a ground-breaking in catalyzing a change in how Hollywood portrayed Indians. In 2008 the film was recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the Top 10 Western Films.

Hugo Friedhofer welcomed the opportunity to score his first Western when Director of Music Newman approached him with the assignment. Upon viewing the film Friedhofer related;

“To me “Broken Arrow” was a very interesting picture, in that it was the first one in which the Indians were treated entirely differently. They were not the villains. Nobody in the picture said “Ugh” or “White man speak with forked tongue.” It was a lovely picture. It was a thoroughly well-made film”.

In conceiving his soundscape, Friedhofer understood that he would have to speak musically to both white settler culture and the indigenous Indian culture. Yet because the Indians are portrayed in a very different and more respectful manner, that also reveals cultural rituals, his music would have to speak to this in a more sensitive and less stereotypical way. To that end, he composed eight themes, including four Indian Themes as well as a number of set pieces for ceremonial scenes and rituals.

There are five Indian Themes; the proud and masculine Cochise Theme, which serves as his personal identity as warrior chief of the Apache, and by extension the warriors he commands. Trumpets bellicoso declarations and timpani drums of war empower this menacing theme, which is resolute, and powerful in its articulation. Yet as Cochise evolved and opened his mind to the possibility of peace, his theme also evolved, becoming less war-like. Apache Theme #1 is borne gently by solo clarinet delicato attended by soft strings tenero. Friedhofer composes against Hollywood convention by offering a gentle, if not mystical Indian Theme, instead of the historic drums brutali and martial empowered constructs. The Pentatonic Apache Theme #2 speaks to the Apache bond and reverence with nature, and offers a pastorale borne by a flute orientale and a retinue of kindred woodwinds. Apache Theme #3 has an overt and strong cultural expression, offering a proud, yet austere drum empowered processional associated with fierce Apache warriors returning from battle. Sonseeahray’s Theme is also Pentatonic and woodwind borne. It offers the score’s only feminine construct; a pure and tender flute borne melody attended by strings romantico, which serves as her identity.

The noble Treaty Theme juxtaposes the warlike Cochise Theme, speaking instead to the peace sought through treaty between white settlers and the indigenous Indians. Strings nobile and woodwinds join to offer a solemn statement, which as the film progresses evokes hope. The Tucson Theme offers bright and uplifting woodwinds gentile empowered by warm French horns nobile. The music offers classic Americana with Coplanesque auras. The theme is associated with Tucson and white culture, as well as a personal motif for Tom. The Love Theme speaks to the romance, marriage and love of Tom and Sonseeahray. The theme offers a classic romance for strings, yet with pastoral auras and warm horns. When the theme blossoms with their marriage and wedding night it offers perhaps one of the score’s most emotional moments. Lastly, a number of scenes displayed Apache ceremonial rituals, which Friedhofer chose to support simply with rhythmic nativist drums and Apache chanting.

Cue coded (*) offer music not found on the album. “20th Century-Fox Trade Mark” offers Alfred Newman’s iconic anthem for the studio. “Main Title” offers a score highlight where Friedhofer introduces his two primary themes. It opens boldly atop trumpets bellicoso and timpani drums of war declaring the proud Cochise Theme. At 0:44 the noble string borne Treaty Theme moves to the forefront, but its articulation is fleeting as we conclude with the ominous horns of Cochise’s Theme. “Narration and Opening” reveals Tom riding over desert vistas as he tells his story of coming to Arizona in search of gold after discharge from the Union army in 1870. A meandering clarinet solitario and strings tenero joined by warm French horns carries his progress. At 0:46 dissonance surges on woodwinds agitato as he sees buzzards circling above, which informs him that something or someone ahead is wounded. Plaintive strings carry him to a ridge where he sees at 1:02 a wounded Apache boy struggling. The menace of the Cochise Theme is real and pervasive as Tom makes the decision to accept danger and be a good Samaritan.

“Good Samaritan” reveals Tom treating the boy who was wounded by buckshot with a less strident Cochise Theme supporting. They bond in the coming days as the boy regains strength and their interaction shatters Tom’s racial misconceptions regarding Indian culture. Friedhofer introduces his Apache Theme #1 at 0:17 atop endearing strings gentile and a solo clarinet tenero as the boy relates his distress that his mother weeps for him and his father is likely concerned about his welfare as he is the lone surviving sibling, his brother and sister having been recently killed. At 1:01 warm strings offer a hopeful rendering of the Treaty Theme as the boy and Tom discuss their religious beliefs. At 1:24 grim horns voice the Cochise Theme as the boy says he prays for all white men to die. But the warmth of Apache Theme #1 returns for one of its most touching performances as he says that he prays for Tom to stay alive, and then gifts him his necklace in gratitude of saving his life.

“Ambush” reveals warning arrows striking a tree between them and the boy convincing Tom to surrender his weapon to him lest they kill him with the next salvo. He does so and the boy pleads to his father to spare his life as he saved his. His father spares his life, but warns of future retribution if they ever meet again as their two peoples are at war. Dire strings voice the Cochise Theme as the boy is ordered to return Tom his gun. At 0:22 a warlike Cochise’s Theme surges as approaching miners are detected. They bind Tom and then ambush the miners. In “Torture and Return to Tucson” three miners are killed, two escape and the three survivors are strung up and tortured, with Tom being forced to watch. A horrific iteration of the Cochise Theme gives voice to Apache vengeance and hostility to white people. Tom is released and warned never to return to Apache lands. At 0:50 the Tucson Theme supports Tom’s ride in the town. The music offers uplifting woodwinds gentile with warm horns, classic Americana with Coplanesque auras.

“Smoke Signal” reveals Tom estranged from his fellow whites because he seeks peace with Cochise, not his extermination. He solicits the aid of Juan, an Apache, to teach him to speak Apache, to understand their cultural beliefs and practices, and to communicate with smoke signals so he can setup a parley. Music enters a month later as Juan sends the smoke signal to Cochise seeking peace and a parley. He commends Tom on his command of the Apache culture and language, but warns him he does not yet think like an Apache. Friedhofer supports with interplay of the grim Apache Theme and the noble lyricism of the Treaty Theme. At 1:07 the Apache Theme resounds as Juan departs with a warning to not lie to Cochise as he will see into your heart and kill you. “Tucson and Cochise” offers a superb score highlight with powerful thematic interplay. It was composed by Alfred Newman whose music faithful utilizes Friedhofer’s themes and compositional style to blend seamlessly with the rest of the score. We see Tom riding out to meet Cochise, which is supported by wonderful thematic interplay. The warm Americana gentility of the Tucson Theme supports Tom’s journey, while the lurking menace of the Cochise Theme supports Apache warriors stealthily observing his every move. At 2:05 Tom reaches the entrance to Cochise’s stronghold and the Cochise Theme’s strident, warlike menace becomes ascendent, achieving it most aggressive and powerful statement of the score, which carries him into the heart of the village.

In an unscored scene, Cochise who is impressed by Tom’s bravery and honesty invites him to a private meeting. Tom tries to negotiate a peace, helping Cochise realize that peace is in the best interest of his people as with each day the white man’s numbers will continue to increase as Apache numbers dwindle. (*) “Tom’s Reception” reveals Apache men and women performing a ritualistic dance supported by nativist drums and chanting. Cochise then takes Tom to visit a holy maiden, the White Painted Lady, a supreme honor never before afforded a white man. “White Painted Lady” offers a beautiful score highlight with some of Friedhofer’s best writing. She tells the good fortune that awaits Cochise, who then brings in Tom to meet with her. She takes his arm, tells him the wound pain will disappear, his life will be long, and that good things will be his. Tom departs clearly attracted to the maiden, and asks Cochise for her name, which he states is Sonseeahray, or Morning Star. Friedhofer offers an exquisite, extended rendering of Apache Theme #1, which is tender and spiritual with a subtle undercurrent of romanticism in the notes.

“Accidental Meeting” offers a muti-thematic score highlight where Friedhofer’s music achieves a beautiful confluence with the film’s narrative. It reveals Tom’s desire to spend time with Sonseeahray, but needing to finesse Apache custom regarding unsupervised males meeting maidens. He purposely shaves at river’s edge, knowing she comes there every morning. They converse, he gifts her a mirror, and we see a mutual attraction. He contrives an excuse to follow her picking juniper berries and we are graced by Apache Theme #2, a pastorale borne by a flute orientale and a retinue of kindred woodwinds. At 0:13 we flow seamlessly into Sonseeahray’s Theme, a pure, and kindred flute borne melody attended by strings romantico. The romanticism is forthright as Tom, who has lived a lonely life, bares his heart to her. At 0:58 a contemplative Apache Theme #1 borne by flute delicato joins as she attempts to process his feelings towards her. At 1:19 the tender moment is shattered by Cochise’s Theme, which supports his unexpected arrival, which precipitates Sonseeahray fleeing. Cochise informs Tom of his decision to allow mail riders to pass through their territory as a gesture of goodwill and expression of Apache power. Friedhofer empowers Cochise’s statement with proud declarations of his theme by horns nobile. We close the scene with the gentle Treaty Theme, which carries their departure.

“Mail Montage” reveals Tom informing a hostile, and unreceptive crowd of his pact with Cochise. He accepts a $300 bet that the first five riders will all return safely. Music enters as the first mail rider gallops out of Tucson, propelled by an energetic and exuberant rendering of the Tucson Theme. Interludes of a muted, and lurking Cochise Theme support his hidden warriors watching the rider’s passage. At 0:27 a celebratory Tucson Theme supports Duffield’s safe return as Tom and townsfolk rush out to greet him. A less vibrant and more pastoral and circumspect rendering of the Tucson Theme supports the rides of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th mail riders. At 1:29 a wagon train under the command of Colonel Bernall departs Messilla Park for Tucson. Friedhofer sows unease as the Colonel is setting a trap for Cochise whose lurking theme joins as he watches from a bluff above. At 1:46 his drum empowered theme resounds as he orders the attack, and then surges with anger to propel the Apache charge. The battle is unscored, as we see Cochise outmaneuver and outwit the union soldiers who are massacred.

“After Battle” reveals terrible carnage with Colonel Bernall, and the young Apache boy Tom saved, both casualties. Friedhofer supports with a textural cue where he creates a dire soundscape of death and desolation with eerie string figures, forlorn horns and dark woodwind chords. In town in an unscored scene, the townspeople are furious at the massacre, blame Tom as an Indian-loving traitor, and take him out to be hung. General Howard saves him and later convinces Tom to be an emissary of peace, by arranging a peace meeting with him and Cochise, advising that President Grant has empowered him to make a just and lasting treaty. “Tom Proposes” offers a pastoral-romantic score highlight. It reveals Tom, on behest of General Howard, returning to the Apache village to parley with Cochise to propose a peace treaty. We open with a proud, non-war-like rendering of Cochise’s Theme as Tom rides into the village. At 0:21 Sonseeahray’s Theme on warm strings and woodwinds tenero. Later he joins her by the river and Friedhofer graces us with the romantic, pastoral reprise of her theme, now fully romanticized, and the two Apache themes heard in the “Accidental Meeting” cue. Tom again opens his heart to her, and she this time reciprocates, as they kiss, embrace, fully supported by her blossoming theme, which has transformed into molto apassionnato rendering.

“Warriors Return” reveals nativist drum buttressed with harsh horn spikes as Apache women light welcome home fires for the victorious Cochise and his warriors. This prelude usher in a proud, yet austere drum empowered rendering of Apache Theme #3 as Cochise and his warriors arrive. (*) “Cochise Agrees To Talk Peace” reveals Cochise agreeing to negotiate peace with General Howard. Music enters later atop nativist drums and chanting at a ceremony. As Sonseeahray and the other women dance, Cochise informs Tom that she is already taken by Nahilzay and will marry soon. Yet she taps him on the shoulder and Cochise informs Tom that it would be an insult to not dance with her as Nahilzay seethes. Later, in “In the Woods”, Sonseeahray runs to Tom’s welcoming arms to kiss and embrace supported by a blossoming of her theme by strings d’Amore.

“Tom and Cochise” reveals Cochise admonishing Tom and Sonseeahray for again being alone together. When Tom and Sonseeahray both insist on marrying, Cochise counsels against it saying they will be rejected by both cultures and forever live as outcasts that will never find peace or acceptance. Yet they both persists and Cochise agrees to liaison with Sonseeahray’s parents to advocate on their behalf. Later, as Tom paces in his wickiup the light-hearted Tucson Theme juxtaposes the scene’s mood of anxiety. At 0:10 an austere Cochise’s Theme supports his arrival, but the music warms with interplay of Sonseeahray’s and Apache Theme #1 when he brings news that her parents will sanction the marriage at the next full moon. Cochise agrees to gift her parents the three horses and saddles they demanded, his gift to Tom. We close with a hopeful rendering of the Treaty Theme as Cochise instructs Tom to return to Tucson and bring General Howard back to negotiate a peace. “Cochise and Nahilzay” reveals the jilted suitor Nahilzay’s attempted murder of Tom, who successfully prevails in the hand-to-hand fight. Cochise enters carried by a grim rendering of his theme. He is angered that one of his own would betray his hospitality to Tom. Aggrieved strings usher in a grim and portentous musical narrative to support his admonishment to Nahilzay, who departs. Cochise advises Tom that this outrage changes nothing, and to proceed with the peace plan. We close with a dire rendering of the Cochise Theme as he condemns Nahilzay’s betrayal and then summarily executes him with a rifle.

“Return and Peace Conference” reveals Tom riding into the Apache village with General Howard, lauded as the “Christian General”, to commence peace talks. Friedhofer supports the arrival with a hopeful woodwind rendering of the Treaty Theme, with interplay of a solemn Cochise Theme. At 0:25 Tom visits Sonseeahray who informs him of their wedding preparations. Friedhofer graces us with tender interplay of Sonseeahray’s and Apache Theme #1. The next day at 1:33 a powerful yet solemn statement of Apache Theme #3 supports Cochise, General Howard and Tom meeting with the Apache nation tribal leaders to present the peace plan. There is distrust and opposition from some leaders and we discern undercurrents of tension in the music. Cochise asks General Howard and Tom to leave so the Apache may debate in private. The Apache nation fractures with Geronimo leading a minority of tribal leaders who decide to leave Apache territory and vow never to return, unwilling to trust the white man.

“Armistice” reveals Cochise informing General Howard and Tom that he agrees to a three-month armistice to assess the trust-worthiness of the white men. Cochise’s and the Treaty Themes entwine to support the announcement. In subsequent scenes of American calvary and Apache warriors interact peacefully as the Apache Theme #3 and the Treaty Theme interplay. At 1:09 a vibrant and energetic rendering of the Tucson Theme supports the transit of the first stagecoach to Tucson in five years. Tom escorts them to a river to quench themselves supported by a soothing pastorale. In an unscored scene Geronimo’s renegade Apache pin down the stagecoach from the bluffs above. Tom rides off to send smoke signals to Cochise to send reinforcements. They arrive and the men are thankful that Apache saved their lives. “Primitive Ritual and The Lovers” offers a wondrous score highlight, one of its finest compositions, and a testament to Friedhofer’s mastery of his craft. It reveals Tom and Sonseeahray’s Apache wedding ceremony. A beautiful soliloquy by a solo English horn solenne with kettle drum strikes supports Sonseeahray’s arrival and Tom moving to her side. At 0:49 an exquisite duet of flutes supports the blood binding ceremony. At 1:30 the solo English horn reprises as the shaman affirms that they are united with one blood. At 1:42 a stirring string tremolo ascent ushers in the Love Theme, borne by strings romantico and warm horns as we see our lovers riding white horses to the marriage tent. The theme blossoms as she confesses her love and enter the tent to consummate their marriage.

“Tucson & The Lovers” offers another score romantic highlight. It reveals Sonseeahray approaching Tom who lays resting by the river carried by her theme. As she joins him, we are graced by exquisite romantic interplay of the Tucson and Love Themes. In an unscored scene one of Ben Slade’s sons has been captured, and he states Apache stole two of his colts. Tom convinces Cochise to investigate as the Slade family is one which rabidly hates Apache. He sees an opportunity to diffuse this hatred should the boy’s accusations be found to be true. They proceed to the location described by the boy, which is in reality an ambush trap set by him and his father to kill Cochise.

“Death of Sonseeahray” is a score highlight, which offers great heartache and tragedy, and a composition of such emotive power to evoke tears. They are ambushed and Tom is shot and wounded defending. An enraged Sonseeahray rushes to attack with a knife and is shot also. Cochise manages to barely escape after killing several men. The survivors realize they have failed, will soon be hunted down by the military, and so decide to flee to Mexico. Music enters in the aftermath with great pathos and heartache as grieving Tom cradles Sonseeahray’s lifeless body supported by a molto tragico rendering of the Love Theme. At 0:30 horns irato unleash Cochise’s Theme as he returns with several warriors. Friedhofer sows a heart-wrenching pathos of bitterness, anger and anguish as an enraged Tom insists on killing the lone survivor, only to be dissuaded by Cochise who says the road of peace is difficult and its burden, must be borne. We close with reverence with a solemn statement of the Treaty Theme as Cochise reaffirms that he will not allow anyone on his lands to break the peace, even his brother Tom.

For the End Title, the album offers two versions. The first is the film version written by orchestrator Edward Powell, which offeres a more hopeful, romantic, and uplifting conclusion to the film desired by studio executives. The second is Friedhofer’s conception, offered with two takes, which is more dramatic and tragic. In the film version, “End Title – Revised”, General Powell comforts Tom by saying Sonseeahray’s death has bonded whites and Apache in a shared desire for peace. As Tom rides off, his narration closes the film in fine fashion;

“His words meant very little to me then, but as time passed, I came to know that the death of Sonseeahray put a seal upon the peace, and from that day on, where ever I went, in the cities, among the Apache, in the mountains I always remembered, my wife was with me”.

Edward Powell’s closes the film with aspirational hope with interplay of the Lovers and Cochise Themes. In Friedhofer’s darker conception “End Title – Two Takes” offers two takes, both rejected by studio executives.

I would like to thank James V. d’Arc and Brigham Young University Film Music Archives for the restoration and release of Hugo Friedhofer’s magnificent score for “Broken Arrow”. The music assembly and mixing by Rick Victor from the original monaural studio optical music tracks has achieved a good stereo presentation for 80% of the album, and on balance provides a worthwhile and enjoyable listening experience. This film served as Friedhofer’s first effort in the Western genre, a seminal film, which challenged the historic, entrenched, and frankly stereotypical racist way Hollywood portrayed indigenous Indian people. This more authentic and respectful presentation and exploration of Indian cultural and spiritual tradition provided new fertile ground for fashioning his soundscape. Five Apache themes ground the score and masterfully emote the full breath of their culture and spirituality. Cochise’s Theme speaks to his, and Apache independence, cultural pride, and warrior strength. Apache Themes 1 and 2 explore eloquently their spirituality and ties to nature and the land, while theme 3 celebrates their austere masculine warrior culture. Sonseeahray’s Theme offers the score’s only feminine identity, which beautifully expresses her desire for love, as well as her purity, and nobility. The Love Theme arrives late in the film, but what an arrival! Sumptuous and passionate, it brings to life the deeply felt love between Tom and Sonseeahray. The one theme for white people, the Tucson Theme offers classic, optimistic Americana with clear Coplanesque sensibilities. Friedhofer really delivered the goods here, and in my judgment his score in every way, tangible and intangible, elevated the film’s narrative, ensuring Darryl F. Zannuck achieved his vision. I believe this album is a testament to Hugo Friedhofer’s mastery of his craft, a Golden Age masterpiece, and recommend this album as essential to lovers of the art form.

For those of you unfamiliar with the score, I have embedded a YouTube link to an eleven-minute suite; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1p1qfP5yek

Buy the Broken Arrow soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • 20th Century-Fox Trade Mark (0:12)
  • Main Title (1:17)
  • Narration and Opening (1:29)
  • Good Samaritan (2:14)
  • Ambush (0:41)
  • Torture and Return to Tucson (1:14)
  • Smoke Signal (1:28)
  • Tucson and Cochise (3:46)
  • White Painted Lady (2:17)
  • Accidental Meeting (2:04)
  • Mail Montage (2:47)
  • After Battle (1:21)
  • Tom Proposes (2:22)
  • Warriors Return (1:31)
  • In the Woods (0:34)
  • Tom and Cochise (1:42)
  • Cochise and Nahilzay (1:44)
  • Return and Peace Conference (2:32)
  • Armistice (2:09)
  • Primitive Ritual and The Lovers (2:49)
  • Tucson & The Lovers (1:44)
  • Death of Sonseeahray (2:32)
  • End Title – Revised (0:49)
  • End Title (Two Takes) (1:34)

Running Time: 71 minutes 13 minutes

Brigham Young University Film Music Archives FMA–HF105 (1950/1999)

Music composed by Hugo Friedhofer. Conducted by Alfred Newman. Orchestrations by Edward B. Powell. Recorded and mixed by XXXX. Score produced by Hugo Friedhofer and Alfred Newman. Album produced by James V. d’Arc.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: