Yellowneck (1955)

83 mins | Drama | 22 March 1955

Director:

R. John Hugh

Writer:

Nat S. Linden

Cinematographer:

Charles O'Rork

Production Designer:

Larry Lossing

Production Company:

Empire Studios Productions
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HISTORY

Voice-over narration before the title card states: “This is the story of five men who were the product of a long and bloody war, five men who turned their backs on the Confederate cause to run. History has a name for the man who runs in the face of battle—deserter, but to the rank and file of the Confederate lines, he was called….” Yellowneck , the title of the film, then appears onscreen. An acknowledgment during the opening credits reads: “All scenes in the heart of the Florida Everglades were accomplished only through the kind cooperation of the Seminole Indians and Bill and Les Piper of the Everglades Wonder Gardens.”
       During the film, Lin McCarthy's character, “The Sergeant,” is sometimes called “Todd" or "Sgt. Todd.” Although their names were not heard in the viewed print, documents in the film’s copyright file listed the colonel’s name as “Fletcher” and the kid’s name as “Young Johnny.” The NYT review mistakenly lists the film’s title as “Yellowback.” Several reviews criticized the film for failing to make clear the intended moral of its story. ... More Less

Voice-over narration before the title card states: “This is the story of five men who were the product of a long and bloody war, five men who turned their backs on the Confederate cause to run. History has a name for the man who runs in the face of battle—deserter, but to the rank and file of the Confederate lines, he was called….” Yellowneck , the title of the film, then appears onscreen. An acknowledgment during the opening credits reads: “All scenes in the heart of the Florida Everglades were accomplished only through the kind cooperation of the Seminole Indians and Bill and Les Piper of the Everglades Wonder Gardens.”
       During the film, Lin McCarthy's character, “The Sergeant,” is sometimes called “Todd" or "Sgt. Todd.” Although their names were not heard in the viewed print, documents in the film’s copyright file listed the colonel’s name as “Fletcher” and the kid’s name as “Young Johnny.” The NYT review mistakenly lists the film’s title as “Yellowback.” Several reviews criticized the film for failing to make clear the intended moral of its story. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 Mar 1955.
---
Daily Variety
7 Mar 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Apr 55
p. 22.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Mar 55
p. 354.
New York Times
5 Apr 57
p. 24.
Variety
9 Mar 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Empire Studios Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
Orig score
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Cont
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 March 1955
Production Date:
1954
Copyright Claimant:
Empire Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 May 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5379
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Trucolor
Duration(in mins):
83
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17303
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the wilds of Florida, in 1863, an alcoholic Confederate colonel meets up with four other Confederate Army deserters, who have been fighting in the Civil War: Todd, a sergeant who deeply feels the futility of war; The Kid, who considers Todd a hero; Plunkett, a common thief who stole the soldiers' payroll; and the Cockney, an English mercenary who is after Plunkett’s treasure. At this pre-arranged place, they rendezvous with a Seminole Indian who has agreed to guide them through the jungle to the coast. There, a British blockade-runner boat has been engaged to carry them to Cuba. When their guide, whom they call “Yellowcat,” fails to arrive, they see buzzards circling and upon further investigation, find Yellowcat's dead body. Realizing they must now make their own way to the sea, the deserters decide to choose a leader. Although the Colonel seems the logical choice, he considers his comrades beneath him and hands the command over to Todd. As the group travels through the jungle, hungry and on the lookout for Seminoles, the Cockney tries unsuccessfully to steal Plunkett’s gold. While leading them across a river, Todd eludes a dangerous alligator, prompting The Kid, who followed Todd into this dishonorable situation, to think of him as a brave hero. In response, Todd tells him how he has grown sick of death and killing. After discovering the Cockney’s fear of snakes, Plunkett sadistically torments him with one of the reptiles, until the Colonel orders him to stop. Thirsty and hot, the group plods along until they find another river. They heedlessly jump in, then are startled by the sight of Seminole corpses floating in it. The Colonel, inspired ... +


In the wilds of Florida, in 1863, an alcoholic Confederate colonel meets up with four other Confederate Army deserters, who have been fighting in the Civil War: Todd, a sergeant who deeply feels the futility of war; The Kid, who considers Todd a hero; Plunkett, a common thief who stole the soldiers' payroll; and the Cockney, an English mercenary who is after Plunkett’s treasure. At this pre-arranged place, they rendezvous with a Seminole Indian who has agreed to guide them through the jungle to the coast. There, a British blockade-runner boat has been engaged to carry them to Cuba. When their guide, whom they call “Yellowcat,” fails to arrive, they see buzzards circling and upon further investigation, find Yellowcat's dead body. Realizing they must now make their own way to the sea, the deserters decide to choose a leader. Although the Colonel seems the logical choice, he considers his comrades beneath him and hands the command over to Todd. As the group travels through the jungle, hungry and on the lookout for Seminoles, the Cockney tries unsuccessfully to steal Plunkett’s gold. While leading them across a river, Todd eludes a dangerous alligator, prompting The Kid, who followed Todd into this dishonorable situation, to think of him as a brave hero. In response, Todd tells him how he has grown sick of death and killing. After discovering the Cockney’s fear of snakes, Plunkett sadistically torments him with one of the reptiles, until the Colonel orders him to stop. Thirsty and hot, the group plods along until they find another river. They heedlessly jump in, then are startled by the sight of Seminole corpses floating in it. The Colonel, inspired by a “code of common decency,” wants to bury the bodies, but the others, realizing that the Indians have recently died and their killers are possibly nearby, want to hurry on. They abandon the Colonel, leaving him to do the chore alone. When the Kid convinces the others that it is wrong to leave the Colonel alone and the dead unburied, they return to help him. Later, after an Indian arrow hits the Colonel, he becomes delirious and the group argues about whether to take him along or let him die. They become separated during a storm. When it finally ends, the Cockney, thinking Plunkett is dead, tries to rob him, but Plunkett awakens and stops him. The group reunite, except for Todd, who remains missing, and the others fear he has been killed by Seminoles. While they wait for Todd, the Colonel deliriously rants about past battles, causing the others to laugh. Just as Todd arrives, Seminoles attack them. After a lengthy battle, the Indians give up and leave. When the group prepares to move on, Todd insists on taking the Colonel with them. As they gather around the campfire that night, the Colonel continues to relive his past, and they listen as he proudly recounts being assigned to his first major campaign and the frustration he later felt when his order to retreat from an insurmountable battle was deemed an act of cowardice even though it saved his men. After watching him die, the group bury him, and Plunkett announces that, from now on, he will look after only himself. When the group reach a river of salty water, they follow it, hoping it will lead to the sea. Todd angers Plunkett when he admits that he lost his compass and has been using the sun as his guide. When they encounter a nest of rattlesnakes, they pass carefully, but the Cockney stiffens in fright, then trips and is fatally bitten by the snakes. Cockney's death disturbs Plunkett, who becomes increasingly jittery. Again, Todd carefully leads them across water in which an alligator lurks and when they reach the other side, Plunkett, now insane with fear, begs him to slow down. When Plunkett offers Todd gold to slow down, he searches his belongings and discovers that the gold is missing. Realizing that the Cockney must have stolen it, Plunkett tries to run back across the river to the corpse, but is overtaken by the alligator. Todd and the Kid move on briskly, although the Kid can barely keep up. After declaring that he is sick of running, Todd confides that he has been running from many things throughout his life. Stating that “you cannot run away from yourself,” Todd explains, “you get so tired, you want to die.” When he accidentally steps into quicksand, the Kid is unable to pull him out, and as he disappears into the earth, Todd orders the Kid to leave. After he is gone, the Kid moves on, desperate and frightened, haunted by all he has witnessed. He almost goes insane, until he remembers Todd’s advice, that you cannot run away from yourself. When he finally reaches the seashore, he discovers that the ship is not there.










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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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