The Glory Guys is directed by Arnold Laven and written by Sam Peckinpah who adapts from the Hoffman Birney novel, The Dice of God. It stars Tom Tryon, Harve Presnell, Senta Berger, James Caan, Andrew Duggan, Slim Pickens and Michael Anderson Jr. It's shot in Panavision with colour by Deluxe, with James Wong Howe the photographer, and music is scored by Riz Ortolani.
The Glory Guys are young recruits to the 3rd Regiment of the United States Cavalry, film follows them as they live and love thru their initial training and onwards to impending war with the Indians. They be at the mercy of a warmongering general, their passions and fate, cruel avoidable fate.
It's one of those War Westerns that cried out for some quality actors to tell the tale. For the story is a great one, no doubt inspired by the Custer legend from Battle of Little Big Horn, the scenery (Durango, Mexico) is first rate and the score is suitably perky and rousing: with the title song tremendous in its power. There's even some terrific action, especially for the major battle in the last quarter, where the use of 100's of extras provides excitement as the bloody carnage convincingly unfolds. But getting to that last third in the company of wooden lead actors is not that easy to do, Pickens, Duggan and Caan aside (tho Caan's Irish accent fluctuates), the principal actors are unable to put real urgency into the drama. Laven's pacing is questionable too, but the director comes out in credit because his final flourish, the battle construction, really is worth the wait. But one can't help wondering what Peckinpah in his pomp could have done with his own script.
A very mixed bag when put under scrutiny, but with a glorious and potent final third bringing it to closure, The Glory Guys is safely recommended to fans of the Custer legend, and indeed, fans of film's like Major Dundee & Fort Apache. 6.5/10
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