PLAYHOUSE 90: TO THE SOUND OF TRUMPETS

Here is a great summary from www.paleycenter.com of this hard to find Stephen Boyd/ Dolores Hart TV movie which aired in February 1960. Stephen Boyd plays Captain Cronyn and Dolores Hart plays Janet.

PLAYHOUSE 90: TO THE SOUND OF TRUMPETS (TV)

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SUMMARY

One in this dramatic anthology series.

This story is a romance set in France during World War I between a British soldier and an American nurse. In Flanders in 1917, a violent battle takes place between British forces and the German army. The British prepare for a long-awaited attack and tensions are high due to the fear that the war will never end, even with American military aid. One British captain, Leslie Cronyn, leads his unit from a bunker, arguing with one of his subordinates, Roger Smythe, who has become quite cynical about the state of the war due to the loss of many close friends. He also believes that the impending attack will be called off, but Captain Cronyn angrily denies this, also frustrated with the long period of trench warfare he and his men have endured. Just before the attack, another of Captain Cronyn’s men, Sergeant Sommes, is killed by a burst of shrapnel from an artillery shell. He is then informed that the attack has been postponed, causing Captain Cronyn to have an emotional outburst. He escapes his trench and crawls away, taking leave papers from the breast pocket of Captain Barry, a dead soldier, on the way.

Meanwhile, at a military hospital, Janet Marshall, an American nurse, is upbraided by her superintendent, Madame Duvier, for using drugs to treat patients without first securing permission. She threatens to have Janet deported or arrested by military police. As punishment, she instead decides to prevent Janet from meeting her husband Tom in Paris; he is on furlough, and she has not seen him in eight months. She protests, but Madame Duvier is unsympathetic towards her. Suddenly Captain Cronyn enters the hospital and immediately collapses in front of Janet. She and a doctor treat him for massive blood loss, and he attempts to leave as soon as he has regained consciousness. Janet asks for his name, and he claims he is Captain Barry. He informs her that he is taking a hired truck to Paris, and as he leaves she hastily leaps in with him, explaining that she intends to see Tom. Janet and Captain Cronyn express some disdain for each other; she views him as emotionless, and he considers her to be annoying and ill-mannered.

During the trip, Janet explains that she was married for only a short time before Tom was shipped off, and explains her predicament to him. At one point the truck is requisitioned by the French army, forcing Janet and Captain Cronyn to abandon it and go on foot. They steal a pair of bicycles from a farmer to travel the remaining few miles to Paris. Once there, Captain Cronyn places a call to meet someone the next morning, and Janet discovers that Tom has not yet arrived at the hotel where they were supposed to meet. Janet runs into Corporal Beggs, a former patient of hers’ whom she promised to meet in Paris, and he offers to help her find Tom. Captain Cronyn gets Janet a hotel room for the night, assuring her that Tom will likely be arriving in the morning. They are forced to flee when the police arrive, accompanied by the farmer whose bicycles they stole. The hotel does not allow Janet to stay in her hotel room alone, mistaking her for a prostitute, but Captain Cronyn gets him to change his mind by claiming that he is her husband, thus forcing them to share a room together.

Both of them are unable to sleep that night; Janet is kept awake by the sound of constant artillery fire, and Captain Cronyn grows depressed and starts drinking heavily. She is excited at the prospect of meeting her husband and Captain Cronyn is amused by her naiveté about the true state of the war. He drunkenly criticizes her for romanticizing the war and for goes on a tirade about how many people like her remain ignorant of the true horror and cost of warfare. The next morning, Janet is not in the room and Captain Cronyn meets Corporal Beggs in the lobby, who says he also cannot find her and that Tom’s leave has been cancelled. He accuses Captain Cronyn of improper conduct towards Janet and describes how she treated patients affected by mustard gas bombs. Captain Cronyn leaves, but promises to meet Corporal Beggs again later to help him look for Janet.

Captain Cronyn meets with a man in a wine cellar to make arrangements to flee to a neutral country. He nearly leaves when the man accuses him of cowardice, but changes his mind and sits down with him. The man attempts to divine the reasons why Captain Cronyn is leaving, and he does not believe him when he claims that he has “lost [his] patriotism.” Captain Cronyn goes to express disdain for being a “murderer,” and through his conversation with the man expresses anger at the concept of warfare and battle being considered “glorious,” recounting the horrific sights he has witnessed during his time in the war and positing that the nature of mankind is to destroy each other eternally. This explanation seems to satisfy his contact, who asks him to stay with a friend of his for a week until arrangements can be made to send him off. The man explains that he lost his three sons to the war, and that he is actually German and just as tired of the war as Captain Cronyn.

On the street, Captain Cronyn suddenly encounters Janet, who informs him that the military police have discovered that Captain Cronyn is not who he claims to be and are looking for him. She wants to help him in return for his assistance, but he feels it is too dangerous. They flee a police detail and enter a café, apologizing to each other for their behavior the previous night. She realizes that Captain Cronyn was right about her romantic idealizations and how this relates to her husband; she comes to the realization that she does not actually love him. Furthermore, she implies that she has fallen in love with Captain Cronyn, and he seems to reciprocate her feelings. She makes arrangements for them to flee Paris together, and he agrees. They check in to a back room in a countryside grocery shop run by an elderly friendly man. Once alone, Janet and Captain Cronyn embrace. Later a brick is thrown through the hotel window of the shop, and the elderly man explains that he is German by birth (with the surname Schiller), although he has lived in France for over sixteen years.

Janet begs Captain Cronyn to take her with him when he flees the country, but he does not wish to endanger her any further. Suddenly a mob enters Schiller’s shop and starts wrecking the place. Captain Cronyn intervenes, attempting to fight them off. The police drive the mob away, but Captain Cronyn is injured in the process. Later he regains consciousness, but Janet is nowhere to be found. He runs into the street looking for her, but cannot find her and returns to Schiller’s. Eventually Janet returns, much to Captain Cronyn’s relief, and he agrees to take her with him. They return to Paris and he meets the man from the wine cellar, much to his surprise. He asks to take Janet with him, and while the man agrees to help her he says that doing so is “an enormous mistake.” He asks Captain Cronyn to meet with an associate of his in order to secure naval passage out of the country. Corporal Beggs encounters Janet and informs her that Tom is in the hospital in critical condition after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. He offers to take her with him to see Tom, but she says she cannot. Tom perceives that Janet is conflicted about Tom’s predicament and sends her to go see him, hoping to arrange for their departure from the country at a later time. They share a tearful farewell.

Captain Cronyn takes the opportunity to return to his unit in Flanders, greeting Roger. Roger reveals that he covered for Captain Cronyn when an inquiry went out about his desertion and decision to pose as Captain Barry. Captain Cronyn explains that he needed to return, and that he should not question the morality of warfare. He resumes his role on the battlefield without much difficulty. Includes commercials.

DETAILS

NETWORK: CBSDATE: February 9, 1960 9:30 PMRUNNING TIME: 1:28:57COLOR/B&W: B&WCATALOG ID: B:44862GENRE: DramaSUBJECT HEADING: TV – DramaSERIES RUN: CBS – TV series, 1956-1960COMMERCIALS: TV – Commercials – Camel cigarettes^TV – Commercials – Allstate insurance^TV – Commercials – American Gas Association appliances^TV – Promos – “Playhouse 90”^TV – Promos – “Be Our Guest”^TV – Promos – “The Red Skelton Show”^TV – Promos – “The Garry Moore Show”^TV – Promos – “The Steel Hour”

CREDITS

Herbert Brodkin…….. ProducerBuzz Kulik…….. DirectorJohn Gay…….. WriterJerry Goldsmith…….. Music by

Stephen Boyd…….. CastDolores Hart…….. CastDan O’Herlihy…….. CastRobert Coote…….. CastSam Jaffe…….. CastJudith Anderson…….. CastBoris Karloff…….. CastMarcel Dalio…….. CastPeter Forster…….. CastJames Forrest…….. CastCelia Lovsky…….. CastLouis Mercier…….. CastPatrick Westwood…….. CastRoy Dean…….. CastGuy Devestal…….. CastBob Duggan……..

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