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Sergeant Rutledge

  • Drama
  • 1960
  • John Ford
  • 106 mins
  • PG

Summary

A cavalry lieutenant defends a black soldier accused of the murder of a commanding officer and the rape and killing of his daughter in late 19th-century Arizona, but finds himself facing hatred, bigotry and corrupt witnesses in his pursuit of justice. John Ford's Western courtroom drama, starring Woody Strode, Jeffrey Hunter, Constance Towers and Willis Bouchey.

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Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Having been accused of depleting the native American population and of rarely featuring an uncaricatured Jew or African-American in his films, director John Ford delivered this rather static courtroom drama about a black cavalry sergeant accused of rape and murder. Daring in its time, it's still powerful today. Woody Strode - the Ethiopian slave in Spartacus - gets the role of a lifetime as Rutledge, and the sequence where he sings Captain Buffalo (the film's original title) and crosses the River Pecos was one of the most significant in Hollywood's treatment of blacks in cinema to that date. Carleton Young is also impressive, but nominal stars Jeffrey Hunter - from Ford's The Searchers - and Constance Towers - Hannah in The Horse Soldiers - are stilted in comparison.

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Lt Thomas CantrellJeffrey Hunter
Sgt Braxton RutledgeWoody Strode
Mary BeecherConstance Towers
Colonel FosgateWillis Bouchey
Mrs FosgateBillie Burke
Captain ShattuckCarleton Young
Lieutenant MulqueenJudson Pratt
Sgt SkidmoreJuano Hernandez
NellieMae Marsh
Dr EcknerCharles Seel
Captain DwyerWilliam Henry
Captain MacAfeeWalter Reed

Crew

rolename
DirectorJohn Ford

Details

Theatrical distributor
Warner Pathe Ltd
Language
English
Available on
video
Formats
Colour
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