Bugles in the Afternoon

Bugles in the Afternoon

Roy Rowland (1952)

U Certificate


Our Score
This disappointing Warner Bros western adapted from an excellent novel by Ernest Haycox (who also wrote Stagecoach's source story) is seriously hampered by poor casting. The urbane Ray Milland looks uncomfortable out west, and here fails to convince as a disgraced coward, looking generally peeved rather than seething with inner rage. He's not helped by a sub-par supporting cast and a totally inadequate leading lady (in Helena Carter), a deficiency not unusual in Warners' westerns of the 1950s. Nevertheless, the exterior Technicolor location photography is impressive, and the action scenes, including the Battle of the Little Bighorn, well staged within obvious budgetary limitations. Dmitri Tiomkin's score is nice, too.


A disgraced cavalryman tries to redeem himself by returning to active service at a fort in the middle of Sioux territory, unaware the commanding officer is an arch-enemy from the past. Antagonism grows as they both fall for the same woman, and the newcomer finds himself assigned to ever more dangerous missions by his commander, who hopes he will fail to return from them. Western, with Ray Milland, Helena Carter and Hugh Marlowe.

Cast & Crew

Kern Shafter Ray Milland
Josephine Russell Helena Carter
Captain Edward Garnett Hugh Marlowe
Private Donovan Forrest Tucker
Captain Myles Moylan Barton MacLane
Lieutenant Smith George Reeves
Sergeant Hines James Millican
May Gertrude Michael
Bannack Bill Stuart Randall
Private Tinney William "Bill" Phillips
General G A Custer Sheb Wooley
Private McDermott John Pickard
Director Roy Rowland
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Warner Bros Pictures Ltd