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Author Topic: Sergeant Rutledge (1960)  (Read 5255 times)
cigar joe
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« on: September 04, 2007, 06:42:55 PM »

Dir. John Ford,
starring:
Jeffrey Hunter ...  Lt. Tom Cantrell (counsel for the defense)
Constance Towers ...  Mary Beecher
Billie Burke ...  Mrs. Cordelia Fosgate
Woody Strode ...  1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge
Juano Hernandez ...  Sgt. Matthew Luke Skidmore
Willis Bouchey ...  Col. Otis Fosgate (president of the court-martial)
Carleton Young ...  Capt. Shattuck (prosecutor)
Hank Worden... Laredo

Saw this tonight for the first time all the way through, caught just parts of it before.

It wasn't outstanding, but it wasn't bad either, entertaining, and it was nice to see Woody Strode in another major part.
I also have a soft spot in my heart for Billie Burke ever since I saw her as Glenda the Good Witch of The North in the Wizard of Oz
Worth a rent from Netflix.

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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2007, 01:53:07 PM »

I like it. Some of the courtroom scenes drag on, but I really like Jeffrey Hunter and definitely Woody Strode. Haven't seen this film in years though, must watch it again soon to get a fresher perspective.

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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 12:23:47 AM »

I like this film. More people should see it, especially it being a John Ford vehicle.

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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2009, 04:47:39 PM »

I just saw the movie and I found it quite good. Woody Strode plays the role of a US Cavalry sergeant with a record of bravery and integrity who is facing a court martial accused of rape and murder. Throughout the movie we can see that the court martial members could not care less about Rutledge's fate (they go and play cards and have a drink during the court recess for "deliberations"), and the prosecutor is not shy is displaying many racial prejudices against Strode.

This movie was made in 1960, and it reflects to a great extent what the Civil Rights movement was fighting for during that era.

Watch it if/when you have a chance.

8 out of 10.

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 04:58:00 PM »

Watched it today for the first time and didn't like it much. Very little (and pretty much lame) Western action, in pack with the courtroom scenes that are involving and fluid as Rigor Mortis. I hate to admit it but I also didn't much like Woody. I don't know, maybe because of the pretentious ''We're doing a big Western movie about racial issues you know, but don't you worry, everything might just turn OK in the end, because justice always wins! (winky - winky)'' tone to the whole movie.

What I hate to admit even more is that I appreciated the bad comedy elements in the courtroom scenes: the judge demanding 'water', Billie Burke's little puritan show (''My mother would turn in her grave if she saw me alone in a room with so many men!'' to paraphrase her), and stuff like that.


5 (maybe 5.5) / 10


« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 10:26:06 PM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 06:38:54 PM »

Quote
The product of a post-The Searchers, revisionist Ford, Sergeant Rutledge (1960) is a noble attempt at acknowledging the heroism of the all-black "Buffalo Soldiers." Mostly a good film, it unfortunately leans heavily on a trite trial structure and over-emphatic speechmaking. Problematic though it is, it's certainly more entertaining and less obnoxious than Cheyenne Autumn (1963), Ford's later attempt at correcting his portrayal of Native Americans.

Sergeant Braxton Rutledge (Woody Strode), the "top soldier" of the all-black 9th US Cavalry, is on trial for the murder of a superior officer and the rape of the latter's daughter. The evidence is mostly circumstantial, but the bigoted prosecutor (Carleton Young) seems able to prove that Rutledge committed crime. His commanding officer, Lieutenant Cantrell (Jeffrey Hunter), defends Rutledge, showing that he is a model, heroic soldier caught in an unfortunate situation. Still, Rutledge's fate seems sealed until a convenient discovery unmasks the real culprit.

Sergeant Rutledge is a noble effort at showing the role of African-Americans in taking the Old West, a sadly neglected chapter of American history. Ford is highly successful here: using the same gorgeous Monument Valley locations as Yellow Ribbon, he shows his Buffalo Soldiers as every bit the equal of their white counterparts, fighting Indians, engaging in comradely banter and being generally heroic. This squares perfectly with Ford's vision of the military as an all-inclusive melting pot, and seeing African-Americans trodding in the footsteps of John Wayne and Co. is a fitting enough tribute, though Rutledge is so idealized that his lack of guilt is never in doubt. These sections of the film are entertaining and well-done, and aside from an over-emphatic speech or two, Ford succeeds at "setting the record straight."

Unfortunately, Sergeant Rutledge is not just a Western, but a "significant" film dealing with important social issues. Ford bookends the film with an awkward, creaky trial that smacks of low-rent Stanley Kramer, conveniently putting racial prejudice on trial with Rutledge. Besides making for a stiff and preachy drama, Ford unfortunately interjects humor into these scenes, with Billie Burke's old biddy particularly obnoxious. Some neat directoral flourishes - fades to silhouette at key moments, hard cutting to flashbacks - and fine acting help, but the overly-convenient Perry Mason-esque ending rings false. This awkward mix of preaching and humor drags down an otherwise fine Western.

Woody Strode (The Professionals) shines in his largest film role. Occasionally stiff, the statuesque Strode is nonetheless perfectly cast, and he nails his character's big scenes, particularly his emotional courtroom outburst. Nominal star Jeffrey Hunter (The Searchers) does surprisingly well with a weak character; Constance Towers (The Horse Soldiers), less so. The supporting cast is mixed: Juano Hernandez (Intruder in the Dust) acquits himself well, and Carleton Young (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) does well in a larger-than-normal role, but Willis Bouchey and Billie Burke's courtroom sparring is beyond annoying.

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2010/07/she-wore-yellow-ribbon-and-sergeant.html

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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2011, 03:42:22 PM »

just saw Sergeant Rutledge. I enjoyed it, but only cuz I am a sucker for color films that involve the cavalry and Monument Valley Smiley

One thing I found ridiculous was the prosecutor blatantly trying to obstruct justice like that. I know it was a black soldier accused of raping and killing a white girl, but I still found it a bit unbelievable that the prosecutor would be so obnoxious.

I think Jeffrey Hunter delivered a terrific performance. As did the President of court martial and his wife. and Woody. Solid performances all around, besides the prosecutor; I didn't love the writing for his part, or his performance.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 11:17:12 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2011, 04:00:23 PM »

The only thing I remember about this movie is that I don't want to see it again.

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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 08:15:59 PM »

I don't care for this one whatsoever. I can't stand courtroom movies, they're so anti-cinematic - generally speaking. Most importantly, it' just a draggy mess.

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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 06:10:25 AM »

For me the least of Ford's westerns.  5/10

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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 09:11:43 AM »

This is one of those movies where the story is bad, but the other stuff is good. The acting is generally solid. The film it is visually stunning.  I just love Monument Valley, and the film had great sets. The best possible job was done with a bad script.


 RE: courtroom scenes: I wouldn't mind them so much if they had anything to do with what a real court martial is like. But these courtroom scenes are just a total mockery of what a court martial is. I won't even discuss precisely what it is that isn't accurate, cuz if I start I will never stop. Suffice it to say that there isn't a shred of reality in them

so, while watching this movie I was able to enjoy it for the visuals, but I wouldn't ever want to sit through it again

« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 06:46:08 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2013, 06:17:30 PM »

Interesting article on Strode from a few years back.

http://moviemorlocks.com/2010/08/03/woody-strode-and-sergeant-rutledge-1960/

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