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Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

Approved | | Western, Crime | 18 May 1960 (USA)
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Respected black cavalry Sergeant Brax Rutledge stands court-martial for raping and killing a white woman and murdering her father, his superior officer.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lt. Tom Cantrell
...
Mary Beecher
...
Mrs. Cordelia Fosgate
...
Juano Hernandez ...
Sgt. Matthew Luke Skidmore
...
Col. Otis Fosgate
...
Capt. Shattuck
Judson Pratt ...
Lt. Mulqueen
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Storyline

Lieutenant Tom Cantrell is sent to defend Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, a black cavalry soldier, on a charge of rape and murder. The story begins in a courtroom and it is told through flashbacks. This is a story of how a black soldier in the face of danger from the Indians can be so easily mistaken as a criminal. Written by Christopher D. Ryan <cryan@direct.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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You knew all along that love had nothing to do with it ... See more »

Genres:

Western | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

18 May 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain Buffalo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unsatisfied with Woody Strode's rehearsal of bullet-wounded drowsiness, director John Ford took his own steps to make Strode appear authentically weary for Rutledge's gunshot early on in the film. The day before the scene was to be shot, Ford got Strode drunk early in the day and had an assistant follow him around for the rest of the day to make sure he stayed that way. When the time came for Strode to shoot the scene with Constance Towers, his hangover gave him the perfect (for Ford) appearance of a man who had been shot. See more »

Goofs

Cantrell explains that the "buffalo soldiers" were so named because when first seen by the Native Americans, the Natives mistook their woolly coats for those of a buffalo. In truth, it was the "nappy" hair of the Black soldiers that lead the Natives to dub the unit as "Buffalo Soldiers," but Cantrell could have been misinformed. When Dr. Eckner testifies as to the rape/murder, his testimony is shown in flashback and concludes with a conversation between Juano Hernandez as Skidmore and Jeffrey Hunter as Cantrell that took place outside the building. As the doctor remained inside, he could not possibly have heard it. See more »

Quotes

[Lucy jumps off her horse, ties it up on the rail, and enters the store where Mrs. Fosgate and Mrs. Hackett are]
Mrs. Cordelia Fosgate: Lucy Dabney! Riding astride! When will your father realize that you are a grown-up young lady?
Mrs. Nellie Hackett: Yes!
Lucy Dabney: [laughs] Papa says as long as I say my prayers and behave myself with the young lieutenants, he doesn't care if I ride like Lady Godiva!
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Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Captain Buffalo
Words and Music by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
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User Reviews

A wonderful piece of social history
26 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This movie was a wonderful piece of social history. It was filmed during a turbulent time in the United States when Civil Rights marches were really making headlines. It was a well crafted and movingly brave attempt to address in celluloid what the Civil Rights movement was addressing on placards.

Throughout the trial, colour isn't mentioned at all until near the end, but the underlying issue is one of race and how easy it would have been to jump to the wrong conclusion and ‘Hang ourselves a nigger'. It was also incredibly brave to show how the protagonist, Sergeant Rutledge, (beautifully played by Woody Strode) was helped by a white woman; again very rare at that time.

This is a hidden gem of a movie, and although the dialogue gets a little stilted at times, it doesn't detract from the central issue. Judging by his performance when under oath, Woody Strode is up there with the best of the marvellous Black actors that have changed the face of social America.

I rate this 10 out of ten.


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