Voltaire – “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
My quest for trying to find a copy of the Playhouse 90 TV program “To the Sound of Trumpets” is finally complete, thanks to the Paley Center in NYC. More than 2 years ago I set out on trying to find this rare program, which stars Stephen Boyd and Dolores Hart in their first venture together. In Dolores Hart’s autobiography “The Ear of the Heart”, she mentioned finding a rare 16mm tape of this show in her Abbey. The book stated how this was probably the only copy available, besides the Library of Congress. There are very few Stephen Boyd’s shows that are impossible to find, and this was one of them.The other program, the Hallmark TV show “The Hands of Cormac Joyce”, is luckily available for viewing at the UCLA media facility and the Paley Center (but more on that in a future blog!). So seeking to find this film, I actually emailed the Library of Congress myself to see if they could give me any clues. I also wrote to Dolores Hart, and began a lovely pen-pal relationship with her concerning this particular movie. The Library of Congress gave me the name of someone who might help- a wonderful lady by the name of Jane Klain, a Manager at the Research Services area at the Paley Center for Media in New York. After emailing Jane, she was so kind as to help get a digitized copy of “To The Sound of Trumpets” uploaded for me to view when I finally made my travel plans to New York about a year later.A huge thank you to Jane again for making this all work out as this program is now available to anyone that walks into the Paley Center!
Visiting the Paley Center was a wonderful experience from beginning to end. I met Mark Ekman when we walked in the door, and he escorted us up to the viewing area. You can pay a simple donation of $10 USD to have access for 1 1/2 hours to view all sorts of different programs in their viewing area. There a beautiful large, flat screens set up with ear phones at each station. Another friendly person there, Patty, got us all set up to view the shows we had requested. Jane Klain also came down to welcome us with some printed reviews of the program and inquire about our visit.
So after months and months of waiting, here I was, ready to see one of the rarest Stephen Boyd shows on the planet! It was well worth the wait.
“TO THE SOUND OF TRUMPETS”
This Playhouse 90 show aired on CBS on February 9, 1960. Besides starring Boyd and Hart, the program also included other big names such as Sam Jaffe (who also starred in Ben Hur with Stephen), Judith Anderson and Boris Karloff. It was essentially filmed like a live play. Boyd’s acting is marvelous and more fluid than his usual movie acting, giving you a sense of how great he would have been to see on stage in a theater production. Hart is also very impressive in this as well. Like a play, the two main characters get to interact constantly on screen, and they have loads of dialogue. The story has a “Farewell to Arms” feel to it in the atmosphere and despair of war within which love can blossom between a solider and a nurse. Both Boyd and Hart received good reviews when this came out, and the entire show was praised for being one of the better Playhouse 90’s of the season.
The story begins in a grimy WWI bunker, and Stephen, who plays a British office Leslie Cronyn, seems weary and he is trying to give orders to the men around him, who seem as equally despondent. After he sees one of his close officers killed by shrapnel, something snaps in Boyd and he feels the urge to flee the chaos around him- and he does. The story moves over to Dolores Hart, who plays a young nurse, Janet Marshall, who is stealing drugs for one of her patients. Boyd shows up at the hospital himself and passes out. After recovering and giving a false name, he mentions his plans to go to Paris. Hart is equally interested in finding passage to Paris to meet her husband. In one of the best scenes, as Boyd slips away to the lorry outside (in order to avoid bringing her along), but Hart jumps inside the lorry to catch a ride. Hart’s character is both talkative and naive, and she chatters on to a notably irritated Boyd who can’t help but roll his eyes at her behavior. In the next scene, the lorry is requisitioned, and the pair are literally thrown out; Hart without her luggage as well. After stealing bikes to make more headway, they finally arrive in Paris, but they have to hide out as the man from who they stole the bikes is looking for them. Boyd helps Hart get a hotel room by telling the man at reception that she is his wife. The best scene is the following interaction between Boyd (who is noticeably drunk) as he sits outside on the porch, and Hart, who keeps trying to make conversation. After describing her romantic marriage (to a man she barely knew before he was shipped off to war), Boyd is finally done with her naivety. She goes to bed and pulls the covers up tight. As Boyd enters to refill his drink he scoffs at her, saying “don’t bother- I’m not interested.” At this remark, Hart follows him outside again, trying to explain herself. Boyd laughs, a little maniacally, and reminds her how even now, with a strange man in a strange hotel, she is still dallying with romance. He also implies that should he actually desire her, her romantic visions would be changed into a sharp reality. Roughly, he grabs her wrists and presses her down on the bed to make his point before moving away in disgust. Outside he screams at the marching troops as they go by below singing “It’s a Long Way To Tipperary.” In his unheard drunken shouts, Boyd reminds them that the road to Tipperary is covered with corpses.
Below pictures From Dolores Hart autobiography “The Ear of the Heart”
The next half of the program focuses on the reason for Boyd’s desertion. Boyd meets with a man in a wine cellar, who just happens to be Boris Karloff, who might be able to offer him a safe escape. This is the heart of the story. Karloff questions Boyd’s courage, which Boyd denies, but also causes him to walk away in anger. As Karloff probes deeper, Boyd explains how he has lost his patriotism. Karloff asks if there is a girl involved with his emotions as well, and Boyd says no.Karloff mentions something about Voltaire, which Boyd echos in quoting the famous philosopher – “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Boyd is very passionate in this scene as he describes the horrors of war, the falsity of the neat gunshot in the forehead, and the reality of throats cut out which muffle the sound of screaming men. His passion stirs Karloff, who agrees to help him while also admitting he himself is of German descent. After this conversation, Boyd finds Hart again, and she tells him the military police are on his tail. In a cafe, Hart admits his criticism of her romantic ideas was correct, and that she really doesn’t love her husband. She implies she had fallen in love with Boyd. She tells him that her worst fear was leaving him behind. She asks his real name, and he tells her. Both of them start to cry, and they leave the cafe hand in hand. They finding a hideout together in the backroom of a grocery store. In their room Hart asks Boyd to tell her he loves her to make the situation all right. She asks to be held, and he obliges, then they share a tender kiss. After a stone is thrown into the shopkeeper’s window, Boyd is told by the shopkeeper that he Parisian born but actually of German background. Hart returns with food to eat and the shopkeeper generously offers them more as Boyd laughs warmly at his generosity. In their room again, Boyd teases Hart, lifts her skirt playfully, spins her around in a hug and kisses her again. The two talk about asking the rats to join in their cheese breakfast. Hart talks about the news and the fact that the English are banning Wagner’s music. Boyd agrees and talks about facing the enemy in full, God, and the evils of war. Hart asks to go with him in his escape, and Boyd says no. Hart follows him across the room and mischievously pushes him back onto the bed and jumps on top of him, insisting. Boyd struggles feebly, trying to tell her that he doesn’t wish to endanger her more -he can only endanger himself. A noise startles them both, and the shop has been attacked by neighbors. Boyd tries to help fend off the attackers, but he is injured in the process. Waking up, he finds Hart gone again, but soon she reappears in the doorway. He approaches her with a kiss, then holds her closely and tells her “I love you.”
The next day Boyd meets Karloff in a hotel bar to discuss his escape. Immediately Karloff notices a change in Boyd–he is not as angry and sullen. Boyd admits that a girl is now involved, and he is in love. As Boyd speaks with Karloff, Hart receives a phone call that her husband is injured and recovering in nearby hospital. Boyd overhears the end of the conversation and understands that their relationship will have to come to an end. As they walk outside, Hart is distracted and tries to be happy about their rendezvous point which they have agreed upon. Boyd loads her in a carriage to go see her husband and tells her not to mention ‘us’. Hart expresses her fear at parting with him and with the future. Boyd touches his mouth, then places his fingers on her lips, and she holds them there, crying. The carriage drives off as Boyd watches.
Back at the war front, Boyd reappears with his old regiment. The officer who meets him isn’t too surprised to find him back. Boyd explains that he returned to the front because a shopkeeper’s store was ransacked, implying that people need to stand up for what is right. He realizes that as a common solider it really wasn’t his place to question the morality of war.
Stephen Boyd and Dolores Hart had a very special relationship. They starred in two films together–one was a TV special called To The Sound of Trumpets in 1960, and the other The Inspector (or Lisa) in 1962. They were two of the top 20th Century Fox rising stars- Boyd with his sex appeal and success in Ben Hur, and Hart with her Grace Kelly looks and her hit movie Where the Boys Are. When they initially did To The Sound of Trumpets, the studio had them pose for a few magazines together, hinting at a romance. This was not the case initially, but when they filmed The Inspector about a year and a half later, there was a romance afoot. According to Dolores in her autobiography The Ear of the Heart, she had very deep feelings for Stephen. Hart was a Catholic who would soon chose to become a nun. She found Stephen to be very spiritual and they had many in depth conversations together, several of them about religion. Dolores was truly heartbroken and baffled when Stephen gently rebuffed her romantic inclinations, telling her she was ‘marked.’ According to Dolores, he never explained what he meant, but she understood his words in time to mean that she was destined for the Church and a future cloistered life. In 1962 Dolores would complain publicly that the studio had cooked up a “phony romance” between her and Boyd. In late 1962 she become briefly engaged to businessman Don Robinson. She even teased Hedda Hopper at the time about inviting Boyd to both the wedding and the reception so “he can’t get out of sending me a present.” Around the same time she was asked about Doris Day’s apparent crush on Boyd. Dolores would reply, “I know nothing about it, but I can see how a girl could flip for him.” But truly, Dolores’s heart belonged to the Church. Later in 1963 she would break off her engagement to Robinson and permanently join the Abbey of Regina Laudis, shocking Hollywood and her fans. Later on in 1966, Stephen would visit her at the Abbey in Connecticut, but it was a brief and tense reunion. They would keep up a writing friendship for several years until Stephen’s interest in Scientology caused them to drift apart. Dolores appeared on TCM in 2014 to premiere the movie Lisa, which was her favorite role. She told some interesting stories about the filming of the picture. She and Stephen would go over their characters motivations repeatedly. He also apparently had to carry her on the beach for several takes while the director tried to get the perfect lighting for the scene. Dolores was also disappointed with the end of the film. Interestingly, Dolores said “I wanted to marry him” to Robert Osbourne when the film finished. It’s hard to say if she meant the characters in the film, or Stephen himself. Dolores still lives at the Abbey of Regina Laudis to this day.
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)
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.
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”
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……..