- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- kevin sellers
Love it when Ford lets his co stars carry his films, as in "Wagonmaster" (Ben Johnson/Ward Bond), "Sun Shines Bright" (Charles Winninger), "3 Godfathers" (Harry Carey Jr/Pedro Armendariz) and especially this one, featuring a monumental (no pun intended on Monument Valley) performance by 4th billed (Not Ford's fault, but the studio's) Woody Strode in the title role. Indeed, Rutledge's impassioned explanation to the military court about why he came to the aid of his segregated regiment rather than flee to freedom is not only the high point of this film but is in my opinion one of the great speeches in Ford's entire oeuvre, right up there with Henry Fonda's farewell to Ma in "Grapes Of Wrath" or John Wayne's remarks to his dead wife in "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon." Also notable in this, for Ford, atypically intimate work is Bert Glennon's cinematography which, as Ben Mankewiecz observed, grows dimmer and darker when the film strays from its main theme of racial prejudice and injustice to explore more hidden areas of barbaric violence and sexual perversion. I wish I could simply stop here and declare this a masterpiece but as usual Ford shoots himself in the foot (or, more aptly, the funny bone) with generous doses of "comedy" with Willis Bouchey, Judson Pratt and Billie Burke that are not only not funny but cast a pall of silliness over what should be taken seriously. So, for this major sin, as well as the minor ones of Carleton Young's over acting and Jeffrey Hunter's blandness, let's give this one a B plus rather than an A. P.S. My dad was on the UCLA wrestling team with Strode AND Jackie Robinson.
John Ford movies are always wonderful. As much as I enjoy his films and as much as I respect the plot and message of this movie, Sergeant Rutledge, this isn't one of Ford's best. Creating an African American hero in 1960 is quite remarkable and is culturally important, but maybe it's the way the movie is filmed that hinders it. Several examples: The scene where Sergeant Rutledge has rescued his comrades following the fight with the Apaches, Rutledge poses on a rise near the encampment as his fellow soldiers sing Top Soldier (which sounds as if the Choir from St. John the Divine suddenly appeared in the desert). His pose is just too heroic to the point of becoming hoakey. Secondly, the prosecuting attorney, Captain Shattuck, is a windbag, a cartoon character. He is so pompous and over the top, that he would have been unable to convict Jack the Ripper because it is impossible to take him seriously. Thirdly, I just don't understand why the father of the teen boy who is suspected of killing that young girl because her gold cross is found in his jacket raises his hand to explain how and why he can clearly identify the cross does belong to the murdered girl. All he does is to set himself up as the real killer and then get himself convicted. It's as if the writers could not plot a better way to bring the trial to conclusion, expose the real killer and save Sergeant Rutledge. On the other hand, Sergeant Rutledge, as a film, puts a black man in an heroic role and that was long overdue. Woody Strode coveys the terror any black man would feel in similar circumstances along with the honor that comes with being a loyal soldier and comrade. He is a wonderful actor. I'd give this film's message of racial equality and respect a five but the production a three. Having said this, this movie is well worth watching.
woody strode was a man. i do not know if he would want to be called a hero..but many people might think of him as that. i thought he was always solid at what he did. hall of famer..if he cared about that sort of thing ..yes..he belongs in a number of them. a lot of people in story making might complain about things. how many of them would have worn his shoes.. that is a pioneer.
- Joe Prim
Great action movie. Jeffrey Hunter and Woody Strode give great performances. Willis Bouche is a riot as the Court Marshall President. When will TCM schedule? Soon I hope.
Sergeant Rutledge is one of those movies that teach us that what we see and assume isn't always the truth. This showed Woody Strode at his finest. As far as I'm concerned, he will always be Top Soldier for all the things that he had to endure where those athletes and thespians didn't have to endure. This movie, is also one of Jeff Chandler's finest movies. He was believable as Cantrell. He made that role his own. A good movie that should be shown to highlight that the truth isn't always what we perceive it to be.
Magnificent film...I had never heard of it, now I can't forget it.
- Susan C Jones
I am an admirer of most of John Ford's movies, espdcially since he has chosen to tell the story of those who are disenfrachised. I remember when watching the movie, Sergeant Rutledge, maybe fifteen years ago. I viewed it in a different light. I remember being angry that, again, Blacks were being shown in a negative light. What a difference some years make, the next time I viewed the movie, I saw the movie as an enlightened story, for the time, in a historical light. This movie is now, for me a very good depiction of the plight of Blacks after the Civil War, especially the Buffalo Soldiers. Kudos to John Ford! Woody Strode was magnificent, as well as Jeffrey Hunter, ( who died too soon). I also absolutely love TCM and Mr. Osborne! I don't go a day without watching this network.
I got to see this movie twice and to me it seem sort of misleading because I thought Constance Towers was the one claiming the assault. But as I get into the movie, I notice that it went beyond her and was about the commander and his daughter, who was terribly violated. But what a ground breaking movie. Woody Strode, who went to UCLA, and had a noteworthy career more so as a character actor as opposed to starring as he did in this film, gave a great performance here as a career military man conflicted between his duty to his country and himself as a black man at that time, because he knew if the deed got discovered that they would pin the crime on him; His only crime in this was running away from the scene but then his sense of duty helped him to be at the right place when Constance Towers ended up at that train station. So it helped him a lot in the trial that ensued later. great movie.
This movie was the first movie that I ever saw that stared a black man as a respected leader. I was 12 years old and I was in heaven. Back then we didn't see ourselves in the movies in a positive light. From that day to this I have loved Woody Strode. He had a way of doing nothing and still you would watch to see what he was gong to do next.I find it hard to believe that you don't have a picture of him. Please try to get one.
this is a very
good movie. Jeffrey Hunter and Woody Strode were magnificent. It is hard to watch movies regarding the injustices placed upon the black race, but important to watch for historical purposes. This is one of those films. Especially, because the truth wins. There is so much to this movie, and it is a good suspense film. Everyone should watch it. It was the first time I became aware of what a Buffalo Soldier was, too.