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7th Cavalry (1956)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  December 1956 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 673 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 5 critic

An officer accused of cowardice volunteers to bring back General Custers's body after Little Big Horn.

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(screenplay), (based on story by) (as Glendon F. Swarthout)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Capt. Tom Benson
...
Martha Kellogg
...
Sgt. Bates
...
Sgt. Kruger
...
Charlotte Reynolds
Leo Gordon ...
Vogel
...
Dixon
...
Cpl. Morrison
...
...
Lt. Bob Fitch
...
Pat Hogan ...
Young Hawk
Russell Hicks ...
Col. Kellogg
Peter Ortiz ...
Pollock
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Storyline

Returning to Fort Lincoln, Captain Benson learns of Custer's defeat at the Little Big Horn. At the inquiry as Custer's Officers blame Custer for the defeat, Benson tries to defend him. But Benson was suspiciously absent at the time of the battle and is now despised by the troops. So when an order to retrieve the bodies from the battlefield arrives, Benson volunteers for the dangerous mission of returning back into Indian territory. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

CHARGING THE BATTLE LINES OF THE SIOUX AND THE CHEYENNES! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Return to Custer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

As Corporal Morrison (Harry Carey Jr.) saddles "Dandy", LT Col Custer's second mount, he puts on an English saddle. US Calvary adopted "McClellan" saddles which remained in service through World War II. This was the wrong saddle for the movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Capt. Tom Benson: We'll be able to see the fort from the top of the next rise.
[Tom and Martha ride a little farther]
Capt. Tom Benson: There she is - Fort Lincoln, the base of the finest cavalry regiment in the country - and our home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Capt. Benson was returning with his future bride, to his post commanded by the gallant Indian fighter Colonel Custer, who had prepared the famous 7th for all out war with the Sioux. See more »

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User Reviews

" Words, Words, Words! "
21 November 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Captain Thomas Benson returns to Fort Lincoln, the Seventh Cavalry's outpost in the Dakota wilderness, with Martha Kellogg, his bride-to-be. As the couple approach the fort, it is apparent that something is wrong. Benson enters to find the Seventh Cavalry's base strangely silent and motionless. Unknown to Benson, while he has been away General Custer has led the regiment to disaster at the Little Big Horn ...

The stillness and emptiness of the fort could serve as a metaphor for the film's lack of pace and content. The first half consists of endless breast-beating over the recent disaster, and the cavalrymen's torpid dialogue is unrelieved by motion or variety of any kind. It is fully 45 minutes before anything remotely resembling an action sequence occurs.

Benson is regarded with contempt by the remnants of the Seventh, both because he was Custer's favourite and because he managed to avoid the Little Big Horn. Matters are complicated by his choice of fiancee. Martha (Barbara Hale) is the daughter of Colonel Kellogg, the new commander of the regiment, and the man charged with investigating the recent military debacle.

A mundane and leaden horse opera, "Seventh Cavalry" lacks either a coherent structure, interesting action or even a convincing raison d'etre. Benson decides to rehabilitate himself by leading a burial detail out into the battlefield to recover the regiment's dead. He deliberately chooses the drunks and the shirkers, but it is never explained why these men, reluctant soldiers at the best of times, agree to be 'volunteered' for this dangerous work. Once in open terrain, Benson deserts his command to go chasing after a lone indian scout, in flagrant dereliction of his duty. During the pursuit, the two men ride past the same tree stump twice! They fight hand-to-hand, and Benson uses a stick to trap the indian's knife-wielding right hand. Why doesn't the indian simply transfer the knife to his free left hand?

The widow Mrs. Reynolds wails like a soothsayer in the deserted barracks, but neither her text nor her acting carry any conviction. The returning survivors of the Little Big Horn ride into Fort Lincoln, hamming up the weariness and weakness for all they are worth - but where did they acquire the neat, clean bandages? When Benson fights with the loud-mouth Vogel, the scrap is all too obviously conducted by stunt doubles. Even an indian who has been brought up by white folk is unlikely to come out with preposterous lines such as "You are defiling sacred ground". The film's ending is a cheap and hurried reconciliation between the Kelloggs and Benson, shot in an interior to save time and effort.

Randolph Scott was Associate Producer of this piece of nonsense, as well as starring as Benson (despite being patently too old for the part). If one scrabbles around for aspects of the film which deserve praise, one could commend Donald Curtis for his believable Lieutenant Fitch, and the fort set, which is huge and impressive. But that's it.

Verdict - too much talking, not enough motion.


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