Sergeant Rutledge

For once, John Ford gave his black company player Woody Strode a starring title role as a cavalry officer being tried for the rape of a white woman and a double murder. Told mainly in flashbacks, this effective if slightly overlong western thriller (1960) represents one of Ford’s late efforts to treat minority members with more respect than westerns usually did (Cheyenne Autumn was another), and Strode takes full advantage of the opportunity. With Jeffrey Hunter, Constance Towers, and Billie Burke. 111 min. (JR)

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