Sunday, 11 July 2010

Memory of Sonseeahray

For some reason I am hanging on to an old video (yes a VHS) recording of a film that impressed and inspired me in the early 1950's. I hadn't been able to find commercial DVD of it in Australia so I converted the old format to DVD later. The quality is however terrible but is suffices for the purpose of jogging my memory from time to time. It is my little time machine to take me back sixty years.
The film was one of the first westerns that showed the wild west from the Indians point of view. The film was of course “Broken Arrow” with James Stewart, Jeff Chandler and most importantly Debra Paget. Whilst it was on in the “Palace” cinema in our small country town in England I managed to see it twice. The second time I sat it through twice as it was a continuous showing cinema even though I had to endure the dreadful and forgettable second feature and of course the obligatory newsreel. In the film James Stewart saves the life of an injured Apache youth and falls in love with Sonseeahray a highly desirable Indian maiden and eventually marries her. He brokers a deal between the Apaches and the settlers for a lasting peace however some renegade whites start a fight at which Sonseeahray is killed.

Needless to say as a fifteen year old I fell in love with the Indian maiden Sonseeahray and even managed to get a clip from the film stock showing her in her ceremonial head dress as my dad knew the projectionist at the cinema. Not long after I noticed a girl at school who in my mind looked exactly like the nubile Indian maid and I was so inspired that I plucked up enough courage to approach her and told her that she looked like Debra Paget in the film. Unfortunately I got a rather negative reaction.

Now those of you whose memories are long may recall that Debra Paget starred alongside Elvis Presley in “Love Me Tender” and also featured in many other movies of the 1950”s & 1960’s. Her brown eyes in Broken Arrow reverted to their natural blue in that film.
Now the interesting part of this youthful nonsense is that many many years later I was able to link up with the girl at school who I compared with the Indian maid through the British web site “Friends Reunited” and she did remember my chat up line, and we have been corresponding ever since.

You can find a video of Debra Paget as Sonseeahray on YouTube but try as I might I can't insert the link! Just search for Debra Paget: One little, two little, three little Indians. The link is:

Photo: Promo card for the film "Broken Arrow"


  1. Enjoyed that. I love 40s and 50s films.

  2. I saw that movie years and years ago. She was quite the hottie - no wonder you had a crush :)