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A Distant Trumpet (1964)

Approved | | Western | 30 May 1964 (USA)
West Point graduate Lt.Hazard is posted to Fort Delivery,Arizona,where he has to deal with lax discipline,romantic complications,Apaches and his conflicting feelings toward the Indians.

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(screenplay), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
2nd Lt. Matthew 'Matt' Hazard
...
Mrs. Kitty Mainwarring
Diane McBain ...
Laura Frelief - Quaint's niece
...
Maj. Gen. Alexander Upton Quaint
...
1st Lt. Teddy Mainwarring
...
Seely Jones
Kent Smith ...
Secretary of War
Judson Pratt ...
Capt. Cedric Gray MD
Bartlett Robinson ...
Maj. Hiram Prescott
Bobby Bare ...
Pvt. Cranshaw
Larry Ward ...
Sgt. Kroger
Richard X. Slattery ...
Sgt. Fry
Mary Patton ...
Mrs. Jessica Prescott
...
Capt. Brinker - Judge Advocate's office
...
Maj. Miller
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Storyline

Lt. Hazard, fresh out of West Point, arrives in Arizona Territory at hot, dusty, Fort Delivery. Appalled by the lax discipline of its troops, he restricts their privileges and subjects them to arduous drills. At the same time, he finds himself falling in love with Kitty, the wife of his commanding officer. This romance is complicated when his fiancee from Back East decides to pay a visit. Troubles with the local Indians, however, soon force Hazard to concentrate on his military duties which sometimes conflict with his sympathy for the Indians' cause. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Pulitzer Prize Winner Paul Horgan's savage and stirring story of the Last of the Great Indian Wars! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die blaue Eskadron  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Raoul Walsh. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Kitty Mainwarring: You're a hard man, a duty man. It's your only love, really.
2nd Lt. Matthew 'Matt' Hazard: Is there a better kind?
Mrs. Kitty Mainwarring: Well, speaking as a normal woman, yes; as an Army woman, no.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nine Letters to Bertha (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
War Eagle-Probably the greatest guerrilla fighter in the world today.
6 March 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A Distant Trumpet is directed by Raoul Walsh and written by John Twist with the adaptation from Paul Horgan's novel by Richard Fielder & Albert Beich. It stars Troy Donahue, Suzanne Pleshette, William Reynolds, Diane McBain, Claude Akins & James Gregory. Max Steiner provides the musical score and William H. Clothier is the cinematographer.

1883, Fort Delivery, Arizona, and newly posted Lieutenant Matthew Hazard (Donahue) is about to be thrust into two wars. One is of the heart, the other pits him against the last pocket of Indian resistance: the Chiricahua's, led by the mighty War Eagle.

A blunderbuss "A" class production from Warner Bros that feels like a "B" class Oater from the 50s, A Distant Trumpet has much to recommend to the Western fan. Driven by a rousing cavalry themed score by Steiner, and beautifully photographed by Clothier around Red Rocks (New Mexico) & Painted Desert (Arizona) in Panavision/Technicolor, it's a film that carries a message and pays respect to the topic to hand. Without doubt the makers are keen to mark it out first and foremost as an adrenalin fuelled Cavalry Vs Indians based picture, with Walsh grandly staging the action sequence with skill (100s of extras/stunt men, no CGI here), but although the script could have done with some more work as regards the characterisations, the screenplay does make rich on the promise of adult themes. While the decision to let the Indian characters speak their own language is also a major bonus.

Where it falls down is three fold. Firstly is the problem of asking the average Donahue to carry the film, he may be easy on the eye to those so inclined, but his one note, expressionless, performance is often a distraction to the many splendours around him. Secondly is that the twin lovelies of McBain & Pleshette are underwritten and underused respectively, which in a film that's nearly two hours long (too long and that's the third point) is an act of stupidity. Some would argue that the love triangle sub-plot is an uneasy fit on context to the "war" at the film's core, but it does have value in regards to showing the point of view of the ladies marrying into the army way of life. Yes it should have been formed better, particularly from McBain's (yellow hair, yellow dress and vanilla ice cream skin) character's angle , but it does exist in the narrative and it's good to see.

It's far from the great swansong that Raoul Walsh deserved, but its pluses far outweigh the negatives. Be it battle orchestration (cliff top attack rules!), observing the thorn between two roses dynamic or just that it affords respect to the Indians, it's a film easily recommended to the genre fan. Besides which, Steiner and Clothier make it essential viewing. 7/10


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