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They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
is a 1941 black-and-white American western film from Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Pictures, produced by Hal B. Wallis
Hal B. Wallis
and Robert Fellows, directed by Raoul Walsh, that stars Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
and Olivia de Havilland. The film's storyline offers a highly fictionalized version of the life of Gen. George Armstrong Custer, from the time he enters West Point military academy through the American Civil War
American Civil War
and finally to his death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Custer is portrayed as a fun-loving, dashing figure who chooses honor and glory over money and corruption. The battle against Chief Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse
is portrayed as a crooked deal between politicians and a corporation that wants the land Custer promised to the Indians. Despite its historical inaccuracies, the film was one of the top-grossing films of 1941. They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
was the eighth film collaboration between Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
and Olivia de Havilland.

Contents

1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production

3.1 Development 3.2 Filming 3.3 Custer's last stand 3.4 Soundtrack

4 Reception

4.1 Box office

5 Home media 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Plot[edit] George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer
(Flynn) enters West Point and quickly establishes himself as a troublemaker by showing up in an outlandish uniform he had designed himself, which makes him appear to be a visiting foreign general. After the misunderstanding, he signs up as a cadet and begins to stack up demerits for pranks and a general disregard for rules while at the Point. When the Civil War breaks out, Custer is at the bottom of his class. Custer's relationship with Libbie Bacon (from Monroe, Michigan) begins at the Point; walking a punishment tour, he is not allowed to speak, but he is approached by Libbie who asks him for directions. As soon as his punishment ends, he runs after her, explaining his rude silence, and asking if he may come by her front porch that evening. After speaking with Libbie, Custer and other members of his class are graduated early and ordered to report to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
for assignment. As a result, Custer misses his evening appointment. Once in the capital, Custer makes the acquaintance of Gen. Winfield Scott (Sydney Greenstreet) while dining, who then aids him in getting placed with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry. He becomes a war hero after disregarding a superior's orders during a crucial battle, successfully defending a bridge for the Union infantry. He is awarded a medal while recovering in a hospital after being shot in the shoulder; he then gets leave to return to his home in Monroe, Michigan. He meets Libbie at her home but her father, who has been the butt of Custer's joke earlier that day, orders him to leave. Custer returns to his regiment. Due to a miscommunication from the Department of War, he is promoted to the rank of Brigadier General
Brigadier General
and takes command of the Michigan Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg. He wins the day, and many victories follow him thereafter on his path to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, which ends the Civil War. Upon returning home to Monroe as a war hero, Custer marries Libbie in a big ceremony, which includes a regimental honor guard, but he soon grows bored with civilian life and begins drinking too much. Libbie visits Custer's old friend Gen. Scott and begs him to assign Custer to a regiment again. He agrees, and Custer is given a Lt. Colonel's commission in the Dakota Territory. When Custer and Libbie arrive at Fort Lincoln, Custer finds the soldiers a drunken, rowdy and undisciplined lot in need of firm leadership. His old West Point enemy, Ned Sharp (Arthur Kennedy), who has a government license to run the fort's trading post and saloon, is providing Winchester repeating rifles to the local Native Americans. Furious, Custer stops the rifle sales and permanently closes the saloon. He then instills proper military discipline in his men and introduces a regimental song, "Garryowen", both of which quickly bring fame to the U.S. 7th Cavalry under Custer's command. The 7th has many engagements with Lakota tribal chief Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse
(Anthony Quinn), who eventually offers peace, wanting a treaty that will protect the sacred Black Hills; Custer and Washington sign the treaty, but soon it is bankrupting Sharp's trading posts. Sharp spreads a rumor that large gold deposits have been discovered in the Black Hills. American settlers stream into the area in violation of the treaty, but Custer and his troops permit no infractions. To embarrass Custer, Sharp passes out free bottles of liquor to Custer's men hours before they drunkenly pass in revue, in complete disarray, before Commissioner Taipe, a politician in league with Sharp. Custer punches both Sharp and the commissioner in anger, and he is quickly relieved of his command. Custer hears from Libbie about Sharp's attempts to start a gold rush in the Black Hills, a plan that would bring him much business and large profits. Outraged, Custer takes the information to the U.S. Congress, but they only ridicule him. When news arrives that the presence of gold miners has led to open conflict between the Indians and U.S. troops, Custer appeals in person to President
President
Ulysses S. Grant, one soldier to another, who restores him to command. Custer comes to realize that his men are marching into a valley where thousands of Indians are waiting. Knowing they will have no chance, he has a final, emotion-filled goodbye with Libbie and leads his men into battle. Arrows and bullets fly and horses trample into the valley, where all of Custer's forces are killed. Earlier, Sharp has been forced by Custer to ride with the 7th "to Hell or glory. It depends on one's point of view", Custer tells him, "At least you can take glory with you". Sharp admits with his dying breath that Custer may have been right about "glory". Custer is killed by a rifle shot fired by Crazy Horse. A few corrupt politicians have goaded the western tribes into war for personal profit, threatening the survival of all white settlers in the Dakota Territories. Custer and his men have given their lives at the Battle of the Little Bighorn
Battle of the Little Bighorn
to delay the Indians' advance and prevent this slaughter. A letter left behind by Custer, now considered his dying declaration, names the culprits and absolves the Indians of all responsibility; Custer has won his final campaign. Cast[edit]

Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
as George Armstrong Custer Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
as Elizabeth Bacon Custer Arthur Kennedy as Ned Sharp Charley Grapewin as California Joe Gene Lockhart
Gene Lockhart
as Samuel Bacon Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
as Crazy Horse George P. Huntley Jr as Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler Stanley Ridges as Maj. Romulus Taipe John Litel
John Litel
as Gen. Phillip Sheridan Walter Hampden
Walter Hampden
as William Sharp Sydney Greenstreet
Sydney Greenstreet
as Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott Regis Toomey as Fitzhugh Lee Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel
as Callie Minor Watson
Minor Watson
as Sen. Smith Joseph Crehan
Joseph Crehan
as President
President
Ulysses S. Grant

Production[edit] Development[edit] The Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
script was an original screenplay and was announced in early 1941 as a vehicle for Errol Flynn.[4] It was to be made after Warner's aviation film Dive Bomber, another feature starring Flynn.[5] Filming[edit] The film is frequently confused with Michael Curtiz's Santa Fe Trail, released the previous year, in which Flynn portrayed Jeb Stuart
Jeb Stuart
and Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
played Custer, also featuring Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
as Flynn's leading lady. In September 1941, during filming, Flynn collapsed from exhaustion.[6] Three men were killed during the filming. One fell from a horse and broke his neck. Another stuntman had a heart attack. The third, actor Jack Budlong, insisted on using a real saber to lead a cavalry charge under artillery fire. When an explosive charge sent him flying off his horse, he landed on his sword, impaling himself.[7] The film reunited Gone With The Wind cast members Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel. Custer's last stand[edit] While the rest of the film was shot in various locales throughout southern California, the filmmakers had hoped to capture this climactic sequence near the actual location of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Owing to scheduling and budget constraints, however, the finale of the film was relegated to a rural area outside Los Angeles. The film shows Custer leading his troops in a saber charge on an Indian party, in the course of which they are surrounded and Custer, being the last man alive, is killed. In reality, the men had boxed their sabers and sent them to the rear before the battle; site evidence, along with some Indian accounts, indicates that Custer may have been among the first to die. He is also shown during the battle with his trademark long hair when, in reality, he had cut it short just prior to the Little Bighorn campaign. Crazy Horse, played by Anthony Quinn, is the only individualized Indian appearing in scenes and represents the "Red Man", whose lifestyle is coming to an end. Quinn is one of the few actors of indigenous American descent in the film.[8] Only 16 of the extras used were Sioux Indians. The rest of the Native American warriors were mostly portrayed by Filipino extras. Soundtrack[edit] The film score was composed by Max Steiner. He adapted George Armstrong Custer's favorite song, "Garryowen", for use in the score. Custer knew the song while he was still at West Point, where he is said to have performed it in a talent show. In the film Custer hears the song being played on a piano by former English soldier, now a U.S. Army officer, Lt. 'Queen's Own' Butler, who claims its origin is Australian. This connection is apocryphal. It is actually a traditional Irish drinking song, much beloved by the cavalry for its galloping rhythm.The best movie of the period in The Fighting 69th, the famous New York regiment. This was also a film with James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, (George Brent and many other Irish actors. Jeffrey Lynn portrayed Joyce Kilmer, the poet and soul of the 69th. Warner Brothers recycled some of the music from the film and variations of it can be heard in Silver River and Rocky Mountain, both starring Errol Flynn, and The Searchers starring John Wayne. Reception[edit] Box office[edit] They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
grossed $2.55 million for Warner Bros. Pictures in 1941, making it the studio's second biggest hit of the year.[2] It made the studio a profit of $1.5 million.[9] Home media[edit] Like Errol Flynn's earlier film Sea Hawk, They Died With Their Boots On was digitally colorized in the early 1990s. This version was released on VHS
VHS
tape in 1998 by Turner Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment.[10] The original black-and-white film was released on DVD in 2005 by Turner Entertainment and Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Entertainment. See also[edit]

The Scarlet West (1925) General Custer at the Little Big Horn
General Custer at the Little Big Horn
(1926) Little Big Man (1970)

References[edit]

^ Behlmer, Ed Rudy (1985). Inside Warner Bros (1935–1951). New York: Viking. p. 208. ISBN 0-670-80478-9.  ^ a b "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58 ^ Box office results of Raoul Walsh
Raoul Walsh
films in France at Box Office Story ^ Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Stories Listed: Million Dollars Worth of Plots on Hand for Films to Be Made in 1941 Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 03 Jan 1941: 10. ^ 'Dive Bomber' Is Next Vehicle Of Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
-- Marlene Dietrich Is Signed -- French Film Here Today: 'Compliments of Mr. Flow' at the Filmarte -- Arbitration Panel to Be Appointed: Special
Special
to The New York Times. New York Times
New York Times
(1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 15 Feb 1941: 9 ^ Thomas, Tony; Behlmer, Rudy; McCarty, Clifford (1969). The Films of Errol Flynn. Citadel Press. p. 111.  ^ " They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
(1942) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.  ^ Kilpatrick, Jacquelyn (1999). Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-7790-3.  ^ Glancy, H. Mark. "Warner Bros film grosses, 1921-51." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. March 1995 ^ "They Died With Their Boots On". 19 April 2005 – via Amazon. 

External links[edit]

They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
on IMDb They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
at AllMovie They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
at the TCM Movie Database They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
at the American Film Institute Catalog

v t e

Films directed by Raoul Walsh

The Life of General Villa
The Life of General Villa
(1914) Regeneration (1915) Peer Gynt (1915) Carmen (1915) The Serpent (1916) The Honor System (1917) The Silent Lie
The Silent Lie
(1917) Betrayed (1917) The Conqueror (1917) The Pride of New York
The Pride of New York
(1917) The Prussian Cur
The Prussian Cur
(1918) Every Mother's Son (1918) Evangeline (1919) The Deep Purple (1920) Kindred of the Dust
Kindred of the Dust
(1922) Lost and Found on a South Sea Island
Lost and Found on a South Sea Island
(1923) The Thief of Bagdad (1924) East of Suez (1925) The Spaniard (1925) The Wanderer (1925) The Lucky Lady (1926) The Lady of the Harem
The Lady of the Harem
(1926) What Price Glory? (1926) The Monkey Talks (1927) The Loves of Carmen (1927) Sadie Thompson
Sadie Thompson
(1928) The Red Dance
The Red Dance
(1928) Me, Gangster
Me, Gangster
(1928) The Cock-Eyed World
The Cock-Eyed World
(1929) Hot for Paris
Hot for Paris
(1929) The Big Trail
The Big Trail
(1930) The Man Who Came Back (1931) Women of All Nations
Women of All Nations
(1931) The Yellow Ticket
The Yellow Ticket
(1931) Wild Girl (1932) Me and My Gal
Me and My Gal
(1932) Sailor's Luck (1933) Hello, Sister! (1933) The Bowery (1933) Going Hollywood (1933) Under Pressure (1935) Baby Face Harrington
Baby Face Harrington
(1935) Every Night at Eight (1935) Klondike Annie
Klondike Annie
(1936) Big Brown Eyes
Big Brown Eyes
(1936) Spendthrift (1936) Artists and Models (1937) Hitting a New High
Hitting a New High
(1937) O.H.M.S. (1937) Jump for Glory (1937) College Swing
College Swing
(1938) St. Louis Blues (1939) The Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties
(1939) Dark Command
Dark Command
(1940) They Drive by Night
They Drive by Night
(1940) High Sierra (1941) The Strawberry Blonde
The Strawberry Blonde
(1941) Manpower (1941) They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
(1941) Desperate Journey
Desperate Journey
(1942) Gentleman Jim (1942) Background to Danger
Background to Danger
(1943) Northern Pursuit
Northern Pursuit
(1943) Uncertain Glory
Uncertain Glory
(1944) Objective, Burma!
Objective, Burma!
(1945) Salty O'Rourke
Salty O'Rourke
(1945) The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) The Man I Love (1947) Pursued
Pursued
(1947) Cheyenne (1947) Silver River (1948) Fighter Squadron
Fighter Squadron
(1948) One Sunday Afternoon (1948) Colorado Territory (1949) White Heat
White Heat
(1949) Captain Horatio Hornblower
Captain Horatio Hornblower
(1951) Along the Great Divide
Along the Great Divide
(1951) Distant Drums
Distant Drums
(1951) Glory Alley (1952) The World in His Arms
The World in His Arms
(1952) Blackbeard the Pirate
Blackbeard the Pirate
(1952) The Lawless Breed
The Lawless Breed
(1953) Sea Devils (1953) A Lion Is in the Streets (1953) Gun Fury
Gun Fury
(1953) Saskatchewan (1954) Battle Cry (1955) The Tall Men (1955) The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) The King and Four Queens
The King and Four Queens
(1956) Band of Angels
Band of Angels
(1957) The Naked and the Dead (1958) The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw
The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw
(1958) A Private's Affair (1959) Esther and the King
Esther and the King
(1960) Marines, Let's Go
Marines, Let's Go
(1961) A Dist

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