Captain Apache (Alexander Singer, 1971)


After months of owning it, I finally watched Captain Apache last night. And here is my take on it -

"Ah aha aha ahaaaa - they call him Captain Apache".

“Well any film that provides you with an opportunity to hear Lee Van Cleef singing not just once, but twice has got to be worth a viewing” I thought to myself. “I’m sure it can’t be as bad as I’ve been told”. Well in truth it IS that bad. But it doesn’t make it unwatchable! Lee Van Cleef plays an Apache Captain within the Army that is sent to investigate the murder of a Commissioner, and discover the meaning of the dying man’s last words “April Morning”.

It plays like a murder mystery in a western setting, with numerous characters introduced throughout that appear to have heard the phrase “April Morning”, but are either attempting to solve the riddle themselves, or are shot before they can speak. These include gunrunner Griffin (Stuart Whitman), the blonde temptress Maude (Caroll Baker) and the equally teasing Rosita (Elisa Montes). And from a plot perspective, that is pretty much it (well, without solving the mystery that is!). Yes, it sounds very simple, but in actual fact the story is quite convoluted.

The soundtrack is hysterical - the title track in particular being so bad that you just love it - with Lee Van Cleef narrating to a tune so catchy that it would put professional purveyors of pop to shame! And you still get his rendition “April Morning” at the end of the film to look forward to.

Whilst it is quite poor Spaghetti Western fare, and a perfect example of the deterioration of the genre during the seventies, it does have three main factors that make it quite watchable :

1 - Lee Van Cleef himself - although this is a real LVC by numbers effort, the man has a screen presence that can rescue even the worst of films.

2 - The afore-mentioned theme tune.

3 - Caroll Baker and Elisa Montes (thats just the male hormones working! And anyway ladies, you get the bonus of a near naked Lee Van Cleef, so no accusing me of gawping!).

Aside from this, there are some other really good moments (Captain Apache insulting the two twins, the death of the Mexican General (played by Jose Bodalo) and a handful of other scenes that I chuckled at at the time but have since left my mind). At times the editing between scenes was quite poor (at one point jumping from Captain Apache in bed with Maude, to them discovering the hanging body of the key witness). Well hung!

Don’t let me put you off watching it, because it is an example of a film being so bad its good. I would never have imagined however that Lee Van Cleef crooning would be the highlight of a film!

1 Like


Thats the one - he is “smacked off his tits” :o

really sucks

I don’t know which is worse, Captain Apache or Bad Man’s River. The real tragedy is the waste of such a great cast in Bad Man’s River.

Call me crazy, but I like 'em both, actually :wink:

“Crazy” Well you told me to call you it :wink:
But I agree I kinda like 'em both, I just love the theme tune it sticks in your head for days!

Not as bad as its reputation but still not very good !!! My version is missing the ‘Acid-trip’ ! When does this happen ???

i first saw this as “THE GUN OF APRIL MORNING”, what a shit title!

Shit title, shit film…

The only good thing about this film is the theme song by Lee Van Cleef, I think its great.

LEE VAN CLEEF’S rug he wears on his head in this film must rank in one of his worst he ever sported in a film.

I don’t think it’s quite as bad as his mullet wig in Gods Gun, but only just!

Without doubt one of the most ill advised pieces of rubbish ever made and everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Having said that, the crappiness reaches such high levels it’s almost brilliant in its awfulness. I still can’t get Van Cleef’s “singing” out of my head!

…got a date with an april morning… Aaaah!

[quote=“Bluntwolf, post:8, topic:128”]Not as bad as its reputation but still not very good !!! My version is missing the ‘Acid-trip’ ! When does this happen ???[/quote]About 50 minutes into, the movie Captain Apache is captured by Moon (English actor Percy Herbert) and Snake and taken to an old ruin. He is forced to drink a potion prepared for him by an old witch. It is intended for him to find out what “April Morning” is but what he actually “sees” is OJ and his deputies killing Collier (who’s last words were April Morning). When he comes too he kills both Moon and Snake and escapes.

Actually I didn’t find this movie as bad as every one makes out. Cleef has some humerous lines, when drinking at saloon after being called a “redass” he says “firewater heap good” and later when asked “Why do you always insult people who might kill you?” he replies “I like to see a man enjoy his work!” The character “G.P. Somes” is great, totally over the top, he’s only in the film a minute or two, I’d like to have seen more of him. Ok, but by no means a classic :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=“Cian, post:10, topic:128”]Shit title, shit film…[/quote]Agreed

I like Captain Apache. It certainly is not the best but it does have some enjoyable parts and it’s Lee as an Indian officer! How crazy of an idea is that?

Yes this is one of those spaghetti westerns which wrongfully I think have gotten the label as “one of the worst”. Actually it aint that bad and the reason for the harsh judgement that has been given it is probably mainly due to the participation of van Cleef. Sure, this aint no for a Few Dollars More og even The Grand Duel but it is still great fun. And the opportunity to actually hearing van Cleef’s crisp singing voice is not to be missed. Recommended.

The theme song by van Cleef is great I always liked it, that alone is reason enough for purchasing the film.
And the film is not as bad as it is given credit for.

AND it can be bought for almost no money at all on ebay:

Nice widescreen version. Buy buy buy. What could go wrong at one and a half quid :slight_smile: