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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Sergeant Houck . The film's opening credits appear on pages of a book opened to reveal the words, "A Chronicle of the West." Actor Cyril Delevanti's surname is misspelled "Delivanti" in the onscreen credits. According to news items and information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, M-G-M purchased the screen rights to Jack Schaefer's short story in 1952 and assigned the property to producer Hayes Goetz. The PCA, however, informed the studio that a film based on the story as written could not be approved by them because the cavalry officer, at the end, "is going off to live with this woman who is still, in fact, the wife of another man."
       In Dec 1955, LAT reported that the story was to be "packaged to Paramount" by Charles Marquis Warren, who was to write the script as well as direct. In Feb 1956, Sol Baer Fielding, who had been a producer at M-G-M, purchased the rights to the story from his former studio and made a deal with United Artists to finance and distribute the film, which became the first production of his newly formed Fielding Productions, Inc. An 18 Sep 1956 HR news item mentioned that Fielding made his film debut in the picture in a small role as a cavalryman. According to a 20 Sep 1956 HR casting list, Joel McCrea's son Jody signed on for the feature but he was not in the released film. A 21 Sep 1956 HR item added that director Charles Marquis Warren's mother Beatrice, wife Anne ... More Less

The working title of this film was Sergeant Houck . The film's opening credits appear on pages of a book opened to reveal the words, "A Chronicle of the West." Actor Cyril Delevanti's surname is misspelled "Delivanti" in the onscreen credits. According to news items and information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, M-G-M purchased the screen rights to Jack Schaefer's short story in 1952 and assigned the property to producer Hayes Goetz. The PCA, however, informed the studio that a film based on the story as written could not be approved by them because the cavalry officer, at the end, "is going off to live with this woman who is still, in fact, the wife of another man."
       In Dec 1955, LAT reported that the story was to be "packaged to Paramount" by Charles Marquis Warren, who was to write the script as well as direct. In Feb 1956, Sol Baer Fielding, who had been a producer at M-G-M, purchased the rights to the story from his former studio and made a deal with United Artists to finance and distribute the film, which became the first production of his newly formed Fielding Productions, Inc. An 18 Sep 1956 HR news item mentioned that Fielding made his film debut in the picture in a small role as a cavalryman. According to a 20 Sep 1956 HR casting list, Joel McCrea's son Jody signed on for the feature but he was not in the released film. A 21 Sep 1956 HR item added that director Charles Marquis Warren's mother Beatrice, wife Anne and three children Lance, Porter and Anne appeared in the film, but their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. According to the pressbook, exterior filming was done in Kanab, UT. An Oct 1956 HR news item indicates that Harry Belafonte was to compose three songs for the film's background and sing them for the released film. There is no further information on any contribution by Belafonte to the released film. The title song was sung throughout the film by Tex Ritter. The Var reviewer commented that Ritter's singing was an attempt to emulate the use of a theme song, as in High Noon (see above), which was also sung by Ritter, but that in Trooper Hook , "It's not too successful, since it intrudes more than informs." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Jul 1957.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1952.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1957
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Jun 1957
p. 10.
Harrison's Reports
29 Jun 1957
p. 102.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 1956
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1956
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1956
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1956
pp. 16-17.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1957
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
27 Jun 1957.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Dec 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Jun 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Jul 1957
p. 441.
New York Times
13 Jul 1957
p. 11.
The Exhibitor
26 Jun 1957
pp. 4343-44.
Variety
26 Jun 1957
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Sol Baer Fielding Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Casting
Scr supv
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Sergeant Houck" by Jack Schaefer in Collier's (14 Jul 1951).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Trooper Hook," music by Gerald Fried, lyrics by Mitzi Cummings, sung by Tex Ritter.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Sergeant Houck
Release Date:
June 1957
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 26 June 1957
Production Date:
early September--early October 1956 in Utah and at California Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Fielding Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 June 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9145
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
80-82
Length(in feet):
7,386
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18447
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Led by Sergeant Clovis Hook, the U.S. Cavalry finally captures Apache chief Nanchez, described by one of the soldiers as "the worst butcher in the territory." As the troops are rounding up the families of the killed and captured braves, they discover that the mother of Nanchez's small son Quito is Cora Sutliff, a white woman captured by the tribe some years earlier. Cora, refusing to speak to anyone, accompanies her boy and the other prisoners to the fort, where Colonel Weaver, after suggesting that Cora should have killed herself rather than be taken as Nanchez's squaw, conducts a search and finally locates the woman's white husband Fred. As Nanchez looks on, Hook leaves the fort with Cora and the boy, intending to deliver them to Fred in San Miguel, a small town near Tucson. While the three await the stagecoach at a nearby station, a local settler insults Cora and grabs her son, whereupon she breaks her silence, screaming that the man is an animal and that she will kill anyone who harms the boy. Hook punches the troublemaker and secures food and clothing for his charges, and Cora begins to tell Hook about her experiences with Nanchez. In order to survive, she explains, she adopted Apache ways and finally became accustomed to life with the tribe. Cora describes her husband Fred as a kind man who surely will learn to accept Quito as his own son. While riding on the stage, Hook and Cora befriend Jeff Bennett, a young cowboy who has lost his horse in a poker game. At one of the stagecoach's stops, Jeff disembarks while a ... +


Led by Sergeant Clovis Hook, the U.S. Cavalry finally captures Apache chief Nanchez, described by one of the soldiers as "the worst butcher in the territory." As the troops are rounding up the families of the killed and captured braves, they discover that the mother of Nanchez's small son Quito is Cora Sutliff, a white woman captured by the tribe some years earlier. Cora, refusing to speak to anyone, accompanies her boy and the other prisoners to the fort, where Colonel Weaver, after suggesting that Cora should have killed herself rather than be taken as Nanchez's squaw, conducts a search and finally locates the woman's white husband Fred. As Nanchez looks on, Hook leaves the fort with Cora and the boy, intending to deliver them to Fred in San Miguel, a small town near Tucson. While the three await the stagecoach at a nearby station, a local settler insults Cora and grabs her son, whereupon she breaks her silence, screaming that the man is an animal and that she will kill anyone who harms the boy. Hook punches the troublemaker and secures food and clothing for his charges, and Cora begins to tell Hook about her experiences with Nanchez. In order to survive, she explains, she adopted Apache ways and finally became accustomed to life with the tribe. Cora describes her husband Fred as a kind man who surely will learn to accept Quito as his own son. While riding on the stage, Hook and Cora befriend Jeff Bennett, a young cowboy who has lost his horse in a poker game. At one of the stagecoach's stops, Jeff disembarks while a rancher named Charlie Travers, a Hispanic woman named Señora Sandoval and her pretty granddaughter Consuela climb aboard. The driver, a hardened character named Mr. Trude, takes the stage into open country, but shortly afterward, Jeff learns that Nanchez and some of his braves have escaped from the fort. Certain that Nanchez will come for his son, Jeff borrows a horse and rides out to warn Hook about the escaped Apache. When the stagecoach overturns in an accident, Nanchez appears and demands his son, but Hook refuses to give him up. Travers claims the boy is more Indian than white and should be turned over to the chief, but Jeff and the other passengers sympathize with Cora and order the rancher to be silent. While the men repair the stagecoach, Travers unsuccessfully tries to bribe Cora to give up her son, and the next morning, when Nanchez appears again, Travers offers the chief the same bribe. Nanchez kills Travers, whereupon Hook threatens to shoot little Quito unless Nanchez lets them all go. Nanchez agrees but threatens to match wits with Hook again one day. After bidding farewell to Jeff, who has fallen in love with Consuela, Hook, Cora and Quito take a wagon to Fred's ranch, but Fred refuses to accept Quito into his home. Cora decides to take Quito and depart with Hook, but Fred, pointing a gun at Hook, orders her off the wagon and back into the house. At that moment, Nanchez and his braves attack. Leaping onto the wagon, Fred begins shooting at the Apaches, and after he is hit by a bullet from Nanchez, he kills the Apache and then dies. With nowhere to go, Cora reluctantly supposes she and Quito might live with relatives back East, but Hook, who has grown to love Cora and her son, suggests that they remain with him. Quito winks his approval, and all three break into broad smiles. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.