Bugles in the Afternoon

  • Film
  • Westerns
Derived from an Ernest Haycox Western, this begins well, with unusually cool, composed performances from Carter (as the heroine) and Michael (a striking cameo as a saloon girl). Milland, cashiered from the army after running a fellow officer through with his sabre (for pressing his attentions on Milland's fiancée, it eventually emerges), enlists as a private in the frontier cavalry, only to find the same officer (Marlowe) installed as his commanding officer and getting up to his old tricks again. Though Daniel Mainwaring and Harry Brown provide some good scenes and intelligent dialogue, the plot works too hard to prove Marlowe a double-dyed villain, cheerfully sacrificing lives if only Milland's can be one of them, and ending in absurdity as the pair work up to their grudge fight while the Sioux are busy massacring everybody in sight at the Little Big Horn. A pity, because Rowland directs with a fine control of mood and pace, and there are sterling performances from Milland and Tucker to add to those by the two women.

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Roy Rowland
Screenwriter: Daniel Mainwaring, Harry Brown
Cast: Ray Milland
Helena Carter
Hugh Marlowe
Forrest Tucker
Barton MacLane
George Reeves
James Millican
Gertrude Michael
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