Sergeant Rutledge

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Sergeant Rutledge
Sergeant Rutledge image.jpg
Directed by John Ford
Produced by Willis Goldbeck
Patrick Ford
Written by James Warner Bellah
Willis Goldbeck
Starring Jeffrey Hunter
Woody Strode
Billie Burke
Music by Howard Jackson
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Edited by Jack Murray
Production
company
John Ford Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • May 18, 1960 (1960-05-18)(United States)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Sergeant Rutledge is a 1960 American Technicolor Western crime film starring Jeffrey Hunter, Woody Strode and Billie Burke. [1] It was directed by John Ford and shot on location in Monument Valley, Utah.

Technicolor Color motion picture process

Technicolor is a series of color motion picture processes, the first version dating to 1916, and followed by improved versions over several decades.

Western (genre) Multimedia genre of stories set primarily in the American Old West

Western is a genre of fiction incorporating Western lifestyle which tell stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse. Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear Stetson hats, neckerchief bandannas, vests, spurs, cowboy boots and buckskins. Recurring characters include the aforementioned cowboys, Native Americans, bandits, lawmen, bounty hunters, outlaws, gamblers, soldiers, and settlers. The ambience is usually punctuated with a Western music score, including American and Mexican folk music such as country, Native American music, New Mexico music, and rancheras.

Crime films, in the broadest sense, are a cinematic genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its detection. Stylistically, the genre may overlap and combine with many other genres, such as drama or gangster film, but also include comedy, and, in turn, is divided into many sub-genres, such as mystery, suspense or noir.

Contents

The film starred Strode as a black first sergeant in the United States Cavalry accused of the rape and murder of a white girl at a U.S. Army fort in the early 1880s. [2] This was Billie Burke's final film role.

First sergeant is typically a senior non-commissioned officer rank, used in many countries. In NATO armed forces the rank is on OR8 level.

United States Cavalry Branch of the U.S. Army

The United States Cavalry, or U.S. Cavalry, was the designation of the mounted force of the United States Army by an act of Congress on 3 August 1861. This act converted the U.S. Army's two regiments of dragoons, one regiment of mounted riflemen, and two regiments of cavalry into one U.S.Cavalry branch of service. The Cavalry branch transitioned to the Armored Forces with tanks in 1940, but the term "Cavalry" such as "armored cavalry" remains in use in the U.S. Army for mounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) units based on their parent Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) regiment. Cavalry is also used in the name of the 1st Cavalry Division for heraldic/lineage/historical purposes. Some combined arms battalions are designated as armor formations, while others are designated as infantry organizations. These "branch" designations are again, heraldic/lineage/historical titles derived from the CARS regiments to which the battalions are assigned.

Rape type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse without consent

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

Plot

The film revolves around the court-martial of 1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge (Strode), a "Buffalo Soldier" of the 9th U.S. Cavalry, in 1881. His defense is handled by Lt. Tom Cantrell (Hunter), Rutledge's troop officer. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, expanding the testimony of witnesses as they describe the events following the murder of Rutledge's Commanding Officer, Major Dabney, and the rape and murder of Dabney's daughter, for which Rutledge is the accused.

A court-martial or court martial is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment. In addition, courts-martial may be used to try prisoners of war for war crimes. The Geneva Convention requires that POWs who are on trial for war crimes be subject to the same procedures as would be the holding military's own forces. Finally, courts-martial can be convened for other purposes, such as dealing with violations of martial law, and can involve civilian defendants.

Woody Strode American athlete and actor

Woodrow Wilson Woolwine Strode was an American athlete and actor. He was a decathlete and football star who was one of the first African American players in the National Football League in the postwar era. After football, he went on to become a film actor, where he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Spartacus in 1960. He served in the United States Army during World War II.

Buffalo Soldier African American regiments of the US Army created 1866, the first Negro regulars in peacetime

Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This nickname was given to the Black Cavalry by Native American tribes who fought in the Indian Wars. The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments formed in 1866:

Circumstantial evidence suggests that the first sergeant raped and murdered the girl and then killed his commanding officer. Worse still, Rutledge deserts after the killings. Ultimately, he is tracked down and arrested by Lt. Cantrell. At one point, Rutledge escapes from captivity during an Indian raid, but later, he voluntarily returns to warn his fellow cavalrymen that they are about to face an ambush, thus saving the troop. He is then brought back in to face the charges and the prejudices of an all-white military court.

Eventually he is found not guilty of the rape and murder of the girl when a local white man breaks down under questioning and admits that he raped and murdered the girl.

Production

Parts of the film were shot in Monument Valley and the San Juan River at Mexican Hat in Utah. [3]

Mexican Hat, Utah CDP in Utah, United States

Mexican Hat is a census-designated place (CDP) on the San Juan River on the northern edge of the Navajo Nations borders in south-central San Juan County, Utah, United States. The population was 31 at the 2010 census, a sharp decline from the previous two censuses.

Utah U.S. state in the United States

Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 30th-most-populous, and 11th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.

Cast

Jeffrey Hunter American actor

Jeffrey Hunter was an American film and television actor and producer known for his roles in films such as The Searchers and King of Kings. On television, Hunter was known for his 1965 role as Capt. Christopher Pike in the original pilot episode of Star Trek and the later use of that footage in "The Menagerie".

Constance Towers Actress, singer

Constance Mary Towers is an American film, stage, and television actress, and singer. She gained prominence for her appearances in several mainstream 1950s films before transitioning to theater, starring in numerous Broadway productions through the 1970s. Her accolades include two Emmy Award nominations.

Billie Burke American stage and film actress

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke was an American actress who was famous on Broadway, on radio, early silent film, and subsequently in sound film. She is best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Other Countries

In Spain, the film was shown under the title of El Sargento Negro (The Black Sergeant)

See also

Military history of African Americans

The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first enslaved Africans during the colonial history of the United States to the present day. In every war fought by or within the United States, African Americans participated, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War, the Civil War, the Spanish–American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as other minor conflicts.

Racism race or ethnic-based discrimination

Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity. Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities.

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References

  1. Harrison's Reports film review; April 16, 1960; page 64.
  2. Ford's use of the 9th was in error. At the time of the story, with Gen. Nelson A. Miles in command, the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th U.S. Cavalry served in Arizona. The 9th Cavalry was stationed in West Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska, but never Arizona.
  3. D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN   9781423605874.

Bibliography