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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.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

John Twist (screenplay), Richard Fielder (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 epic novel of Indians and Indian-fighters. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die blaue Eskadron See more »

Filming Locations:

Leupp, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the final film directed by Raoul Walsh before his death on December 31, 1980 at the age of 93. See more »

Quotes

2nd Lt. Matthew 'Matt' Hazard: All right, now take a good look at them. It's going to make killing Apaches a lot easier They were buried alive. Those ants are eating their brains out!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nueve cartas a Berta (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
War Eagle-Probably the greatest guerrilla fighter in the world today.
6 March 2011 | by SpikeopathSee 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 adrenaline 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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