Sergeant "Hap" Doan, heartbroken that the Nineteenth Cavalry, in which he has served for so many years, is to be mechanized and replenished with twenty recent draftees, goes on a drinking ... See full summary »

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(story), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Col. Jack Lawton
...
'Russ' Russell
Henry O'Neill ...
Lt. Col. Harry Seton
...
Sally Hanson
...
Sgt. Larry Dillon
William Lundigan ...
Joe 'Joey' Hanson
Tom Dugan ...
Sgt. Strong
...
Sgt. Krims (as Guinn Williams)
Ernest Whitman ...
Cartaret
Roman Bohnen ...
Mr. Leech
Jerome Cowan ...
Mr. Nichols
Arthur Space ...
Hank
Jonathan Hale ...
Brigadier-General
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Storyline

Sergeant "Hap" Doan, heartbroken that the Nineteenth Cavalry, in which he has served for so many years, is to be mechanized and replenished with twenty recent draftees, goes on a drinking spree. He rails about leaving the Army, but is there when the draftees arrive, ready to make good soldiers out of them. When his horse, Cantigny, is killed by the explosion of a tank that had been sabotaged by Nazi-agents, he goes AWOL, and is court-martialed upon his return and given a dishonorable discharge. But he is under secret orders from his Commanding Officer to join the gang of German spies, who have every reason to believe they can trust the disgruntled ex-sergeant.. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sergeant | tank | spy | soldier | horse | See All (47) »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1942 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Steel Cavalry  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tanks shown in the opening sequence are the M2 Stuart Light Tank, at the time this film was made, one of the top tanks in the U.S., construction having started in just 1941. See more »

Goofs

Col. Lawton takes the secret orders for the overseas tank shipments out of his safe twice. See more »

Quotes

Russell 'Russ': I get up and fight my weight in wildcats before breakfast.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in We Must Have Music (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Black Joe
(1860) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
First line ("Gone are the days") sung a cappella by Dick Winslow with slightly modified lyrics
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User Reviews

 
Sound Retreat
6 May 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In real life Wallace Beery was far from the lovable oaf he was normally cast as. In fact he could be one downright nasty person. But such was his public image and MGM made a lot of money off that image. In the case of The Bugle Sounds however, the image was strained beyond belief in a film that could never be made other than for propaganda purposes during World War II.

Beery like George S. Patton in real life is an old horse cavalry soldier who is not crazy about the fact that cavalry is a thing of the past. Of course if he was any kind of observant during World War I where it is said he served as well as in the Pancho Villa campaign, he would have seen just how useless horses are in the trench warfare that was World War I in France. Patton sure adapted to mechanized warfare, but Beery just can't get it.

Nevertheless when Colonel Lewis Stone orders him to whip some of those new draftees into shape for the new mechanized army he does what he's told. But when one of the tanks goes awry and kills his favorite old campaign horse, Beery goes bonkers.

There's also some nasty sabotage afoot here led by cashiered soldier George Bancroft and Jerome Cowan in a laughable Teutonic accent. It all gets pretty silly before the film is over.

Marjorie Main was opposite Beery as she was in many films, but even their on screen chemistry couldn't do much here. And believe me the chemistry was strictly on screen. I don't know how much good The Bugle Sounds did for young Donna Reed as the earnest young wife of William Lundigan, one of Beery's recruits. Beery works for Main at her greasy spoon restaurant.

Even the presence of such scene stealing players as Eddie Acuff, Guinn Williams, and Chill Wills all playing sergeants and Beery's peers in terms of military service don't elevate this film.

The Bugle Sounds is a textbook case of the military propaganda film rendered laughable by time. And a great example of what MGM gave Wallace Beery to sell before the American movie-going public.


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