Tunes of Glory (1960)

105-107 mins | Drama | December 1960

Director:

Ronald Neame

Writer:

James Kennaway

Producer:

Colin Lesslie

Cinematographer:

Arthur Ibbetson

Editor:

Anne V. Coates

Production Designer:

Wilfred Shingleton

Production Company:

Lopert Films, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's title Tunes of Glory refers to military airs and marches traditionally played by Scottish bagpipers. The opening and closing cast credits vary slightly in order. Although the film's credits include a copyright statement for The H.M. Films Ltd., the film was not registered for copyright at the time of its release; however, The H.M. Films Ltd. registered the film on 11 Dec 1978 under the number PA42-782.
       According to a 2 Oct 1960 NYT article, when John Mills and Alec Guinness were originally offered the respective roles of "Major Basil Barrow" and "Lt. Cole Jack Sinclair," each turned down the roles, wanting the opposite role instead. In his autobiography, however, Mills states that he introduced the script to Guinness and the two decided between them, which was to take each role, claiming that they made the “off-beat” casting choice, themselves. A 29 Dec 1959 HR article noted that the film was to be produced abroad for United Artists and City Entertainment Corporation; however, no further information or screen credit is given to City Entertainment Corporation.
       As noted onscreen, the film was shot at Shepperton Studios, London, England. The backdrop for the credits and the closing shots of the film is Stirling Castle in Stirling, Scotland, but it is unclear if additional location shooting took place there. A modern source adds Frazer Hines to the cast. Tunes of Glory marked the film debut for British actress Susannah York and the picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, but lost to Elmer Gantry. The film marked the official British selection in the 1960 Venice Film Festival, ...

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The film's title Tunes of Glory refers to military airs and marches traditionally played by Scottish bagpipers. The opening and closing cast credits vary slightly in order. Although the film's credits include a copyright statement for The H.M. Films Ltd., the film was not registered for copyright at the time of its release; however, The H.M. Films Ltd. registered the film on 11 Dec 1978 under the number PA42-782.
       According to a 2 Oct 1960 NYT article, when John Mills and Alec Guinness were originally offered the respective roles of "Major Basil Barrow" and "Lt. Cole Jack Sinclair," each turned down the roles, wanting the opposite role instead. In his autobiography, however, Mills states that he introduced the script to Guinness and the two decided between them, which was to take each role, claiming that they made the “off-beat” casting choice, themselves. A 29 Dec 1959 HR article noted that the film was to be produced abroad for United Artists and City Entertainment Corporation; however, no further information or screen credit is given to City Entertainment Corporation.
       As noted onscreen, the film was shot at Shepperton Studios, London, England. The backdrop for the credits and the closing shots of the film is Stirling Castle in Stirling, Scotland, but it is unclear if additional location shooting took place there. A modern source adds Frazer Hines to the cast. Tunes of Glory marked the film debut for British actress Susannah York and the picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, but lost to Elmer Gantry. The film marked the official British selection in the 1960 Venice Film Festival, where John Mills won the Best Actor award.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Corporate note credit:
General (mod):
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Jan 1961
---
Film Daily
28 Dec 1960
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 1959
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 1960
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1960
p. 3
Los Angeles Times
28 Dec 1960
Section IV, p. 6
MFB
Dec 1960
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Dec 1960
p. 964
New York Times
2 Oct 1960
---
New York Times
21 Dec 1960
p. 38
New Yorker
24 Dec 1960
---
Newsweek
2 Jan 1961
---
Time
26 Dec 1960
---
Variety
14 Sep 1960
p. 6
Variety
19 Sep 1960
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Colin Lesslie Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd supv
Rec
Rec
Dubbing ed
MAKEUP
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Tunes of Glory by James Kennaway (London, 1956).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1960
Premiere Information:
Venice Film Festival opening: 4 Sep 1960; American premiere in New York: 20 Dec 1960; Los Angeles opening: 25 Dec 1960
Production Date:
began Jan 1960 at Shepperton Studios, London
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Sound Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
105-107
Length(in feet):
9,628
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

One winter night at a regiment headquarters in the Scottish highlands, temporary commander Major Jock Sinclair orders his pipers to play and his men to join him in drinking. An up-from-the-ranks officer, Jock led the regiment in World War II and has earned their affection despite his crudeness and penchant for whiskey. After Cpl. Piper Ian Fraser finishes entertaining the rowdy, drunken crowd, he secretly meets his girl friend, Jock’s daughter Morag, who wants to conceal their relationship from her father because she believes he is not prepared to accept her involvement with a member of his regiment. As Morag leaves the barracks, older Pipe Major Maclean cautions Morag that Jock will be outraged if he finds her at the barracks. Back in the mess room, Jock announces that tomorrow he will be replaced by Lt. Col. Basil Barrow, an Oxford educated officer and descendant of several of the regiment’s previous commanding officers. As the night wears on, Jock and his men are raucously celebrating with whiskey and dance when Basil, who is not expected until the next morning, suddenly arrives and surprises them. Jock introduces Basil to the men and learns from the new commander that he had been a prisoner of war, like himself, during World War II. Late that night, Jock drunkenly complains to his close friend, second-in-command Major Charles Scott, about his replacement, who had only a desk job before his new assignment. Soon after, Jock comes across Fraser and, in jest, asks whether or not his “intentions are honorable” with his girl, not realizing that he is asking about Morag. Shocked, Fraser merely mumbles “yes” and tells him most of the men will ...

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One winter night at a regiment headquarters in the Scottish highlands, temporary commander Major Jock Sinclair orders his pipers to play and his men to join him in drinking. An up-from-the-ranks officer, Jock led the regiment in World War II and has earned their affection despite his crudeness and penchant for whiskey. After Cpl. Piper Ian Fraser finishes entertaining the rowdy, drunken crowd, he secretly meets his girl friend, Jock’s daughter Morag, who wants to conceal their relationship from her father because she believes he is not prepared to accept her involvement with a member of his regiment. As Morag leaves the barracks, older Pipe Major Maclean cautions Morag that Jock will be outraged if he finds her at the barracks. Back in the mess room, Jock announces that tomorrow he will be replaced by Lt. Col. Basil Barrow, an Oxford educated officer and descendant of several of the regiment’s previous commanding officers. As the night wears on, Jock and his men are raucously celebrating with whiskey and dance when Basil, who is not expected until the next morning, suddenly arrives and surprises them. Jock introduces Basil to the men and learns from the new commander that he had been a prisoner of war, like himself, during World War II. Late that night, Jock drunkenly complains to his close friend, second-in-command Major Charles Scott, about his replacement, who had only a desk job before his new assignment. Soon after, Jock comes across Fraser and, in jest, asks whether or not his “intentions are honorable” with his girl, not realizing that he is asking about Morag. Shocked, Fraser merely mumbles “yes” and tells him most of the men will always think of him as the commander. The next morning, Jock sternly reminds Morag that his rules about staying away from the barracks are to protect her, prompting her to rebuke him for spending time with his actress friend, Mary. Later, Jock tours the barracks with Basil, who is obsessed with promptness and preserving the regiment's traditions, correcting the men about their attire and insisting that even the smallest infraction be reported. While some men, like R.S.M. Riddick, believe Basil is bringing civility to the barracks, more experienced officers like Maclean think Basil and the men who support him are snobs. Later, Basil announces that in preparation for a regiment cocktail party, all men, including officers, are to report for early morning dance lessons to improve their “noisy ritual.” When Jock offers his services to Basil, the commander humiliates him by complaining that facility changes have not been duly noted on regiment charts and reminding him to attend the dance lessons. One night, Jock complains to Mary about the new colonel and attempts to lure her into a night of lovemaking, but Mary, ambivalent about Jock’s self-pity and drunkenness, demurs. At the first dance lesson, Basil further humiliates Jock when he demands that he follow his subordinate Maclean, who is leading the men. Weeks later at the cocktail party, the men are graciously hosting the townsmen and women, until a drunken Jock goads his men into heavy drinking and unruly dancing. When Basil witnesses a young woman fall to the ground as the party’s volume increases, he explodes in anger and orders the party to cease, stunning the visitors. Embarrassed by his own outburst, Basil flees in his jeep while his concerned assistant, Capt. Jimmy Cairns, jumps in beside him. After recklessly speeding for miles, Basil finally stops, admits his loneliness and recounts that, as a prisoner of war, the only thing that kept him alive was the thought that he would someday return and take control of the same battalion his father and grandfather once commanded. Meanwhile, when Jock unexpectedly finds Fraser and Morag talking intimately at a pub, he hits the young corporal in a fit of fatherly rage, an appalling breach of military law. Wanting to commiserate, Jock goes to Mary’s to confess his outburst, but finds Charlie sharing a late-night drink with her. The next day, Basil wrestles with his choices, either to handle the problem internally or to request a formal inquiry that will more than likely lead to a court martial. Although Fraser has not filed a complaint, Charlie, who would like the command for himself, convinces Basil to opt for a formal inquiry, knowing the men will turn on him as a result. Later, Mary reports Charlie’s betrayal to the disheveled Jock and rouses him to return to the barracks. Once there, Jock mocks Charlie for his useless sophistication and then brazenly asks the men to dine with him. As Basil looks on, the men join Jock in the mess hall as a sign of allegiance. Later, Maclean forces the priggish Riddick to report the non-commissioned officers’ request that Basil reconsider the inquiry. Although Basil insists that Riddick continue collecting evidence, he begins to doubt his decision and searches for Jock, who is sleeping off his drunkenness on a barracks’ cot. When Jock questions Basil’s devotion to the regiment, Basil proudly states that he was born into the regiment, but Jock casts doubts on his priorities by reminding him that the inquiry would hurt the regiment’s reputation. After Basil reluctantly agrees to give him a second chance and leaves the room, Jock chuckles that Basil is a “toy soldier.” As Jock engages the men in boisterous drunken reveling at dinner that evening, Jimmy tries to include Basil in the conversation, but when the men fail to acknowledge him, an anxious Basil seeks solace with Charlie, who insinuates that Basil was easily duped by Jock. Humiliated by Charlie’s trite sarcasm, Basil goes to the tub room and shoots himself. Although Jock orders a young officer to look directly at the dead man’s face, insisting that a soldier must “handle both the living and the dead,” he is shaken by haunting memories of his time as a POW. Later in a regiment meeting, Jock outlines an elaborate funeral ceremony, asking for the best piper, but his thoughts are interrupted by hallucinations of wartime pipes and drums. Despite Charlie and Jimmy’s attempts to encourage him to have a simple private ceremony for the suicide victim, Jock yells out that they were all accomplices in Basil’s murder and paces the front of the room deliriously muttering to himself. Realizing they are witnessing their commander’s breakdown, his men quietly leave the hall, while Jimmy and Charlie escort the now weeping man to his jeep to protect him from scrutiny.

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

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