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Springfield Rifle (1952)

Approved | | War, Western | 25 October 1952 (USA)
Major Lex Kearny becomes the North's first counterespionage agent as he tries to discover who's behind the theft of Union cavalry horses in Colorado during the Civil War.

Director:

(as Andre DeToth)

Writers:

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

Complete credited cast:
...
Maj. Alex 'Lex' Kearney
...
Erin Kearney
...
Austin McCool
...
Lt. Col John Hudson
...
Capt. Edward Tennick
...
Pete Elm (as Lon Chaney)
James Millican ...
Matthew Quint
...
Sgt. Snow
...
Mizzell
...
Pvt. Olie Larsen
Wilton Graff ...
Col. George Sharpe
Edit

Storyline

Major Lex Kearney, dishonorably discharged from the army for cowardice in battle, has actually volunteered to go undercover to try to prevent raids against shipments of horses desperately needed for the Union war effort. Falling in with the gang of jayhawkers and Confederate soldiers who have been conducting the raids, he gradually gains their trust and is put in a position where he can discover who has been giving them secret information revealing the routes of the horse shipments. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Gun... The Girl... They Made One Man The Equal Of Five! See more »

Genres:

War | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gegenspionage  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released the same year as Gary Cooper's most famous Western High Noon (1952), which also starred Lon Chaney Jr. in a secondary role. See more »

Goofs

In the mirror flashing scenes, Major Kearney tells the riders to hold their mirror steady for 30 seconds if everything is okay but flash it around if there are any problems and they'll wait to move the horses. In the next scene, the mirror can be seen flashing from the top of the ridge meaning there was a problem but the whole camp gets excited and moves out with the horses. See more »

Quotes

Pete Elm, Leader of Non-military Raiders: [Rousing the Jayhawkers and Rebels] C'm'on, Rebs, stir up! This ain't no cotillion! C'm'on, boys, pack and saddle up! We're headin' south! Money in the sock, boys!
[Laughs]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thrilling chronicle of espionage and counter-espionage during the American Civil War decently directed by Andre De Toth
14 July 2016 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Good Western with frantic action , thrills , fights , crossfire , wonderful outdoors , all of them keep things lively . Major Lex Kearny (Gary Cooper) is degraded and consequently considered a treacherous , as he becomes the North's first counterespionage agent , as he attempts to discover who's behind the theft of Union cavalry horses in Colorado during the Civil War . Falling in with the band of Jayhawkers (Lon Chaney Jr. , Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams , among others) and Confederate soldiers who have been leading the raids , he gradually gains their trust to uncover their plans and reveal the routes of the horse shipments . But then , it appears his wife , Erin Kearney , (Phyllis Thaxter) and things go awry . At the end the good boys take the Springfield Rifles , ¨The Gun That Made One Man The Equal Of Five¨.

Based on the real-life of Major Les Kearney who joined forces with outlaws to catch the thieves stealing Union horses . This exciting picture tells the story of an upright officer wrongly degraded , dishonorably discharged from the army for cowardice , being finely played by the great Gary Cooper who gives a perfect acting in his usual stoic style . And being released the same year as Gary Cooper's most famous Western , High Noon (1952), which also starred Lon Chaney Jr. in a secondary role . It contains noisy action , shootouts , a climatic confrontation on the final , twists and turns ; being breathtakingly photographed in WarnerColor . Interesting as well as stirring screenplay Charles Marquis Warren and Frank Davis , based on a story by Sloan Nibley .

This undemanding western is plenty of suspense as the dreaded final attack approaches and the protagonist realizes he must stand alone against impossible odds and nobody is willing to help him but he is accused as a traitor , while he attempts to clear his name as a wrongfully accused soldier . This enjoyable tale is almost rudimentary though full of clichés , a good guy comes to narration is almost adjusted in real time from the starring is degraded , subsequently detained , imprisoned , escaped , until the ending take on , when he is besieged by the bad boys . Nice supporting actors largely hang around waiting for something to do , and with plenty of familiar faces , such as : Paul Kelly , David Brian , Philip Carey , Fess Parker , Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams , Lon Chaney Jr., Alan Hale Jr. , Richard Hale , Martin Milner and James Brown . Colorful cinematography by Edwin DuPair , being shot on location at attitudes of up 9500 feet on the slopes of California's Mount Whitney . Furthermore , a moving and agreeable musical score by the classical composer Max Steiner .

This typical Western was professionally directed by Andre De Toth . At his beginnings De Toth entered the Hungarian film industry, obtaining work as a writer, editor , second unit director and actor before finally becoming a director. He directed a few films just before the outbreak of WW II, when he fled to England . Alexander Korda gave him a job there, and when De Toth emigrated to the US in 1942 , Korda got him a job as a second unit director on Jungle Book (1942) . Andre De Toth was a classical director , Western usual (Indian fighter, Man in the saddle , Ramrod , Last of Comanches , The stranger wore a gun), but also made Peplum (Gold for the Caesar) and adventure (The Mongols , Morgan the pirate , Tanganyika) . Probably his best known film is House of wax (1953), a Vincent Price horror film shot in 3D . Springfield Rifle rating : 6.5/10 , decent and acceptable Western , well worth watching .


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