Advance to the rear

Advance to the Rear
film poster
Directed by George Marshall
Produced by Ted Richmond
Written by William Bowers
Robert Carson
Samuel A. Peeples
William Chamberlain
Jack Schaefer (novel)
Starring Glenn Ford
Stella Stevens
Melvyn Douglas
Music by Randy Sparks
Hugo Montenegro
performed by The New Christy Minstrels
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) June 10, 1964
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,100,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Advance to the Rear is a light-hearted 1964 western comedy film set in the American Civil War. It stars Glenn Ford, Stella Stevens and Melvyn Douglas and is directed by George Marshall. The film is based on the 1957 novel Company of Cowards by Jack Schaefer, with the film having that title in pre-production and when released in the United Kingdom. However, the novel had none of the comedic elements of the film which retained only the basic idea of a unit formed out of men who had been court-martialed for cowardice and sent out west as well as some character names.

Plot Summary

Union Colonel Claude Brackenbury has a cozy arrangement with his Confederate counterpart. They fire a few artillery rounds in each other's general direction at precisely the same time each morning, then go back to contentedly waiting for the war to end.

Captain Jared Heath, however, disturbs the status quo one day by going out and capturing some of the enemy. The Confederates feel obliged to retaliate. One thing leads to another and a military fiasco results. As punishment, Brackenbury and Heath are demoted, placed in charge of all the misfits General Willoughby can find and shipped west, where they can (hopefully) do no further damage.

The rebels are suspicious, so they send a beautiful spy, Martha Lou Williams, to find out their "real" mission. After questioning Easy Jenny, a madam Martha Lou is traveling with, Heath sees through Martha Lou's ruse. But he decides that he is going to marry her eventually, so Heath does his best to keep her out of mischief.

When the unit is sent to escort an important gold shipment, the soldiers are captured by Thin Elk, an Indian chief in league with Hugo Zattig of the Confederates. Zattig's men masquerade as Union soldiers (using uniforms taken from prisoners) and hijack the shipment. Thin Elk, meanwhile, recognizing Brackenbury as a fellow West Point graduate, lets his captives go, although without horses or guns.

Heath takes charge. He and the men steal horses from the Indians, retrieve the gold (and Martha Lou) and capture Zattig's gang.

Cast

Musical Soundtrack

The score was composed by New Christy Minstrels sing "Today" The film also features a title song under the name of the original title and UK title of the film "Company of Cowards" and another song called "Riverboat".

References

External Links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • TCM Movie Database

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