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TROY DONAHUE IN RAOUL WALSH'S WESTERN 'A DISTANT TRUMPET'

Troy Donahue from 1964 Rating: ***1/2

Raoul Walsh finished his iconic directing career providing the otherwise wooden Troy Donahue his best performance that's still kind of wooden, but deliberately since his fresh from military school 2nd Lt. Matthew 'Matt' Hazard, put in charge of a Fort that's "like a toe waiting to be stomped" by surrounding Indians, must remain hard and callous to what he feels are a troop of lax soldiers...

Sadly, the least interesting aspect is pushed to the forefront since Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette were the melodrama Rock Hudson/Doris Day, and their contrived romance is sparked the minute Pleshette... the loveless wife of departing William Reynolds as the quirky 1rst Lieutenant... visits the new leader's quarters, filled with pictures of fiance Diane McBain, who, more classy than Pleshette, promises a kind of wistful, verbal-driven cat fight that never pans out...

Suzanne Pleshette in A DISTANT TRUMPET with Troy Donahue

Yet A DISTANT TRUMPET flows nicely under Walsh's direction, and Donahue's grandest moments are shaping up the lethargic soldiers, especially while rousting Claude Akins as a pimp with a wagon train of whores...

It's when the big dusty White Men vs Indian war ensues that the story loses focus — right as the characters started to matter. But, then again, in this kind of old school, cast-of-hundreds, battle-cry picture, the end means (i.e. the means to an end means) pretty much everything.

Troy Donahue with William Reynolds in A DISTANT TRUMPET
Troy Donahue with William Reynolds in A DISTANT TRUMPET
Suzanne Pleshette in A DISTANT TRUMPET
Kent Smith in A DISTANT TRUMPET
Claude Akins in A DISTANT TRUMPET
Troy Donahue with Judson Pratt in A DISTANT TRUMPET
Diane McBain in A DISTANT TRUMPET

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