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Among those who are fighting to have Congress re-establish the military academy at West Point in the beginning of the nineteenth century is a young Washington socialite, Carolyn Bainbridge. Congress resolves to revive the Academy on a one-year trial basis. Major Sam Carter, a martinet who doesn't believe a college can produce real fighting men, is made the Commandant, and determines to make soldiers - or failures - out of the small band of cadets, by enforcing stringent disciplinary action. Among the cadets are Howard Shelton, Carolyn's fiancée, and Dawson, a Kentucky frontiersman. There is bad blood between the two from the start, and matters are worsened when Dawson falls in love with Carolyn. Many of the cadets resign, under the discouraging conditions and grueling punishment that is part of Carter's plan to make the school hard and the exercises difficult, and the number of cadets left is down to ten. Word arrives that the Indian chief Tecumseh has gone on the warpath, and Carter ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If anyone is looking for a real history of the Military Academy at West Point Ten Gentlemen From West Point will not be what you are looking for. It should be remembered that we were just going to war in 1942 and this film and a film for the would be enlisted men and junior officers about the creation of the army brass who were leading them was a film that Darryl Zanuck and 20th Century Fox was ready to give the movie going public.
What is true is that the Academy in its early years was a pretty slap dash affair which did face challenges to its existence. The superintendent who really got the place going on a full time basis was a man named Sylvanus Thayer who arrived in 1817 after the War Of 1812.
But this story which is before the War Of 1812 has a man from the regular army come with a company of regular army men to be in charge of the Military Academy. Laird Cregar does not believe in the mission of the Academy, you only learn by being in the army and he says plainly to those new recruits is force them to quit and to close the Academy at West Point down.
Of course the cadets show they have the right stuff and as we know West Point still exists. As for the particulars of the plot Washington society belle Maureen O'Hara whose father supported the idea of the Academy has two recruits sniffing around her in some deep heat. One is southern aristocrat John Sutton and the other is frontiersman from Kentucky George Montgomery. No doubt Montgomery was in a part that may have been offered to Tyrone Power first. Personally I think Maureen's favorite leading man John Wayne would have been ideal.
She would have settled for either Ty or the Duke whom she spoke favorably of in her memoirs. Her rather distasteful memory of the film comes from Montgomery trying to take liberties with her while the film was shooting. Maureen said she loathed Montgomery and walked off the set, but came back and finished the film.
It's not history but Ten Gentlemen From West Point holds up well as action/adventure entertainment.
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