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Only the Valiant (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 21 April 1951 (USA)
A despised cavalry commander is unfairly blamed by his troop for the death of a popular officer and must redeem himself in front of his men during an Indian attack on the fort.

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writers:

Edmund H. North (screenplay), Harry Brown (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Capt. Richard Lance
Barbara Payton ... Cathy Eversham
Ward Bond ... Cpl. Timothy Gilchrist
Gig Young ... Lt. William Holloway
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Trooper Kebussyan (as Lon Chaney)
Neville Brand ... Sgt. Ben Murdock
Jeff Corey ... Joe Harmony
Warner Anderson ... Trooper Rutledge
Steve Brodie ... Trooper Onstot
Dan Riss ... Lt. Jerry Winters
Terry Kilburn ... Trooper Saxton
Herbert Heyes ... Col. Drumm
Art Baker ... Capt. Jennings
Hugh Sanders ... Capt. Eversham
Michael Ansara ... Tucsos
Edit

Storyline

Capt. Richard Lance is unjustly held responsible, by his men and girlfriend, for an Indian massacre death of beloved Lt. Holloway. Holloway is killed while escorting a dangerous Indian chief to another fort's prison. The chief escapes. Knowing their fort is in danger of Indian attack, Lance takes a small group of army misfits to an abandoned nearby army fort to defend a mountain pass against the oncoming Indian assault. Their mission is to stall for time until reinforcements from another fort arrive. The men in this small group of malcontents, deserters, psychopaths and cowards all hate Capt. Lance and wish him dead. Much to their chagrin, the men recognize that Lance's survival instincts, military knowledge and leadership are the only chance the group has of staying alive. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

GREGORY PECK, AS CAPTAIN LANCE, WHO GAVE FORT INVINCIBLE ITS NAME! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fort Invincible See more »

Filming Locations:

Gallup, New Mexico, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lon Chaney Jr and Barbara Peyton would be reunited the same year for Bride Of The Gorilla. See more »

Goofs

During the the last gun fight, Gilchrist takes an arrow in the right shoulder and falls. The next scene shows the Captain helping Gilchrist, but now the arrow is in his left shoulder. And in the next scene the wound is in the right shoulder again. See more »

Connections

Referenced in L'important c'est d'aimer (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Little Brown Jug
(uncredited)
Written by Joseph Winner
Played by a harmonica player in the barracks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oh Captain, My Captain
21 April 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In the book that Michael Freedland wrote about Gregory Peck, Only the Valiant is described as the worst film Gregory Peck ever made. During those beginning years of his stardom it seems like just about every film became a classic of some kind.

Only the Valiant was shot on the cheap and it shows. The book says that Gregory Peck's cavalry uniform was an old costume worn by Rod Cameron in one of his B westerns. It was an independent production by James Cagney and as part of the deal Peck got Barbara Payton who had a contract with Cagney himself and was used in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye which he produced and also starred in.

According to Michael Freedland's book, Peck who was still tied to David O. Selznick got $60,000.00 for the part of cavalry captain Richard Lance. Selznick got $150.000.00 and Peck was not a happy camper. Still being the professional he was, Peck did the film.

In truth Only the Valiant is a far better film than MGM's big budget The Great Sinner which Peck also starred in. Mainly because of a very competent crew of players that James Cagney gathered for this film. And an interesting script which contains elements of Beau Geste, The Lost Patrol, The Dirty Dozen and David and Bathsheba which Peck had starred in.

Peck and Gig Young are rivals for Barbara Payton and Peck is ordered to send Young on a patrol to take hostile Apache chief Michael Ansara to a better staffed army fort. Young gets killed and Ansara escapes and the old Uriah the Hittite story starts circulating at Peck's post.

Later he gets an assignment to man an abandoned fort that sits across a narrow mountain pass that the Apaches can't even charge through on horseback. He takes a select group of army misfits, some of whom would like to kill him worse than the Apaches.

Even with Ward Bond as an alcoholic corporal, any resemblance between these soldiers and those John Ford cavalry pictures is coincidental. The ones who he takes with him, Sergeant Neville Brand, Lieutenant Dan Riss, Bond, Troopers Terry Kilburn, Steve Brodie, and Lon Chaney, Jr. are a collection that Lee Marvin would gladly have taken on a mission.

Chaney has the strangest role. He's named Kabushyan and he's Armenian though the men refer to him as A-rab. He's got one big old gay crush on Gig Young though it's not spelled out due to Code restrictions and he hates Peck worse than the others. It's the best performance in the film.

Only the Valiant has an A list cast with B production values, I wish it had been done with a bigger budget.


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