Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

Director: John Ford
Starring: Jeffrey Hunter, Woody Strode, Constance Towers

A black first sergeant stands accused of murder and rape.

I first saw Woody Strode in The Last Voyage and he suitably impressed me there. Him being an athlete, it's not surprising that he has a good physical presence, but this film shows off his dramatic chops as well. I have to admit genuinely being kept in suspense as to the truth behind the case. Once Rutledge's character was established, he didn't seem likely to be guilty of what he was accused of and on a meta level, even in 1960, it'd be radioactive to have a film where the black man was actually guilty of raping and murdering a white girl. Still, I was kept guessing. You may or may not find it a bit heavy-handed, but I found it an effective compelling film. I definitely recommend giving it a watch.

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