Sgt. Thorne Ryan, who once fought bravely in Korea, now serves as a hard-nosed drill instructor to new Army recruits at Fort Bliss, Texas. But is he really the man he is often described as?... See full summary »
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Joseph M. Newman
Sgt. Thorne Ryan, who once fought bravely in Korea, now serves as a hard-nosed drill instructor to new Army recruits at Fort Bliss, Texas. But is he really the man he is often described as? His fellow instructor, and friend helps him to face the ghosts of his past experiences in Korea. One night in a bar across the border in Juarez, Mexico, Sgt. Ryan meets a lady who begins to turn his life around. Will this be enough to help him deal with the past? Or will he continue to be so hard on his troops? This movie was filmed mostly on location at Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso. Written by
Vincent Merlaud <email@example.com>
Thorne Ryan holds the enlisted rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7), Verne Holt that of Staff Sergeant (E-6), and Ryan's nemesis Opperman is a Master Sergeant (E-8). See more »
When Ryan and Holt have the troops on a training exercise in the field, Ryan tells Holt to "get back to base." The Army doesn't refer to its facilities as bases. An actual solider would have said "get back to the post." See more »
While this may not be the movie that made me want to join the Army in 1956, it may have helped. The plot is a formulaic coming of age in basic training story, turning boys into men. The personal interactions and love affairs of Widmark and Malden, the veterans of Korea who are now leading a trainng platoon at Fort Bliss, Texas, next to El Paso are also formulaic.
The real value of this picture is as a time capsule. Nothing herein is BS, dreamed up, or recreated such as are Platoon, or Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now, to mention some more modern highly praised but highly fictionalized films. Nor is it an anachronistic mish mash such or a low budget BW cheapie such as many of that period were.
Everything shown here is as it was at the time of filming and the background extras and other military individuals were actually going through infantry training with the real possibility of going to combat in Korea when it was being made. (An amusing aspect is that the opening scene of the newly arrived trainees and the disciplined troops entraining for their new assignments were filmed on the same day with the same Southern Pacific locomotive and equipment. Yet supposedly took place three months apart.)
Other time capsule films of the time are Bombers B-57, and Strategic Air Command, which prove that officially approved films can be entertaining and informative both.
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