Fun Size Review: Redskin (1929)

A late silent era gem, this film was shot on location in two-strip Technicolor. A sensitive and surprisingly progressive look at racism against Native Americans, the film tells the story of a Navajo boy who is forced to attend a harsh boarding school designed to strip him of his culture. At college, he endures both overt and subconscious prejudices but he also finds that he no longer fits in with his very traditional father. Powerful stuff. Not perfect but impressive for its era.

redskin-happy-ending

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

Our hero saves the tribe’s oil strike from claim jumpers and wins his father’s approval at last.

Read my full-length review here.

Availability: Redskin was released on DVD as part of the Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film box set. It’s now out-of-print but worth tracking down. It has some really fab and rare stuff.

Notes on the title: I know there is a lot of debate about the name of the Washington NFL team and every time it heats up, I get a lot of traffic for my Redskin review. To save time, let me assure you that a) the term is treated as a cruel racial slur in the context of the film and b) the movie’s title was meant to be provocative in order to illustrate the racism that the protagonist endures. This is all I have to say on the subject and I suggest that any further discussion take place on a sports forum. Thanks!

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