|A DISTANT TRUMPET (director: Raoul Walsh; screenwriters: based on the novel by P. Horgan/John Twist/Richard Fielder/Albert Beich; cinematographer: William Clothier; editor: David Wages; music: Max Steiner; cast: Troy Donahue (2d Lieut. Matthew Hazard), Suzanne Pleshette (Kitty Mainwaring ), Diane McBain (Laura Greenleaf), James Gregory (Gen. Alexander Quait), William Reynolds (Lieut. Theo Mainwaring), Claude Akins (Seeley Jones ), Kent Smith (Secretary of War), Judson Pratt (Captain Gray), Bartlett Robinson (Major Prescott), Mary Patton (Jessica Prescott), Bobby Bare (Cranshaw), Larry Ward (Sergeant Kroger), Lane Bradford (Maj. Miller); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William H. Wright; Warner Bros.; 1964)|
big-budget pic is unfortunately too much a B
film and too average to make for a proper
farewell pic for the acclaimed filmmaker."
by Dennis Schwartz
last film by Raoul Walsh ("They Died
With Their Boots On"/"Gentleman Jim"/"White Heat")
falters in its march-like slow pacing. Also the
western was overlong, and its romantic moments were
dull. Otherwise it's competently helmed and on message
with a call for fair treatment of the First Americans
(not previously the case in a Walsh film). But it is
not that exciting until the big battle sequence at the
climax, and even that battle scene was too lacking in
action. "Trumpet" is based on the 1960
historical novel by P. Horgan, and is written by
John Twist. The adaptation is by Richard Fielder and
gung-ho and militarily efficient second Lt. Matt
Hazzard (Troy Donahue) after
graduating from West Point is assigned in 1883 to
the remote Fort Deliverance, Arizona. Once there he
finds he must tighten-up the lax discipline. He also
encounters a tribe of Chiricahua
Indians who are in opposition to the white
settlers. Heroically Hazzard rescues Kitty
Pleshette, Troy's wife at the time),
the wife of the fort's first Lt. acting commander (William
Reynolds), from an
Indian attack on her wagon on the open plains and
they become lovers when a rainstorm forces them to
spend the night together in a mountain cave before
returning to the fort.
Hazzard's pushy fiancee Laura (Diane
McBain) from the east surprisingly
joins him at the dusty fort, there's tension between
the ladies. Hazzard no longer loves the gal from
back home, and events will later make it easy for
him to choose the more sensitive Kitty when she is
widowed and supports him for his self-sacrificing
honorable stand on Indian justice.
crusty old scholarly Indian fighter, Gen.
Alexander Quait (James
Gregory), regrets that the great
chief War Eagle fled to Mexico with a majority of
the Chiricahua Indians
before he could capture him. The chief remains
the last Indian leader not on a reservation.
When the General learns that War Eagle plans
to return to the Arizona territory and make
war on the whites, he returns to Fort Deliverance
and leads an attack on the chief
using sound military strategy. How War Eagle, in a
peaceful way, is brought back to the reservation, is
the political point made by the film that diplomacy
is at times better than war in getting peace.
Steiner's score is a plus and the lush Technicolor
is an even greater plus. Claude Akins, as the slimy
dissolute character partnered with the renegades,
gives a cringe-worthy embarrassing performance. Most
of the supporting cast gave B film one-dimensional
performances. The ones particularly bad were all
those acting as Indian haters, such as the bigot
sergeant played by Larry Ward and Kent Smith as the
Secretary of War.
This big-budget pic is unfortunately too much a B film and too average to make for a proper farewell pic for the acclaimed filmmaker.
REVIEWED ON 4/12/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ