Sergeant Rutledge (1960) YIFY – Download Movie TORRENT
John Ford who was among many who perpetuated black racial stereotypes, notably in Judge Priest and The Sun Shines Bright, got a chance to redeem himself with the making of Sergeant Rutledge. A year before in the Robert Mitchum film, The Wonderful Country, Negro League baseball legend Satchel Paige played a black cavalry sergeant in a supporting role. But in Sergeant Rutledge the story centers around such a character and the ordeal he goes through when accused of rape and murder. The victims are his commanding officer and his daughter.
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The leads are Woody Strode as the accused Sergeant Braxton Rutledge and Jeffrey Hunter as the lieutenant who defends him in a court martial. The story is told in flashback through the accounts of the many witnesses at the court martial and in some of those scenes, John Ford got to revisit his beloved Monument Valley for some good old Indian fights.
The murders at the fort take place simultaneously with an outbreak from the Apache reservation. Constance Towers who discovers both the results of an Indian attack and the fleeing sergeant at the railroad station, becomes both Rutledge’s biggest champion and the object of Jeffrey Hunter’s romantic intentions.
The dilemma that Strode faced was that by so many black people, especially in the south. He comes upon the dead girl who he knows from the fort and the fact she’s been sexually violated. Her father sees him together with his dead daughter and assumes the worst about him and shoots him. Strode is forced to kill him in self defense and then has to run. A white man might have stayed and explained. The father might not have fired on a white man either.
Woody Strode had he come along ten to fifteen years later might well have become an action hero star like Wesley Snipes for instance. As it was here and in his small role in Spartacus as Kirk Douglas’s opponent in the gladiator school he plays both with impassive dignity and strength. These became his career roles, too bad he didn’t build on Sergeant Rutledge to get better parts like black actors did in the next generation.
Two of John Ford’s stock company regulars shine in Sergeant Rutledge, Carleton Young and Willis Bouchey. Carleton Young is Captain Shattuck, the prosecutor at the Rutledge court martial and he’s not above playing the race card to win his case. Very similar in fact to William Windom’s prosecutor in To Kill a Mockingbird. Unfortunately for Young, he’s not dealing with a jury of uneducated sharecroppers.
Willis Bouchey is the presiding judge at the court martial and besides the court martial he has to deal with Billie Burke, his flibbertigibbet of a wife. He’s got a lot grief to deal with, made double by the fact that Burke is called by Young as a witness. A lot of the comic relief in Sergeant Rutledge centers around Burke. This was her farewell screen role and she went out in scatterbrained style.
Jeffrey Hunter turns out to be a pretty good lawyer himself and he brings the trial to a sudden end with a bit of fast thinking on his feet worthy of Perry Mason.
This very first film dealing with the black buffalo soldiers of the U.S. Cavalry is great viewing for those who like both courtroom drama and westerns. If you like both, this is your film.
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