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The Long Gray Line (1955)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  9 February 1955 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,695 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 8 critic

The life story of a salt-of-the-earth Irish immigrant, who becomes an Army Noncommissioned Officer and spends his 50 year career at the United States Military Academy at West Point. This ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based upon "Bringing Up the Brass" by), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Martin 'Marty' Maher
...
Mary O'Donnell
...
...
Old Martin
...
Capt. Herman J. Kohler
...
Kitty Carter
...
Charles 'Chuck' Dotson (as Phil Carey)
William Leslie ...
James Nilsson 'Red' Sundstrom
...
...
Abner 'Cherub' Overton
Sean McClory ...
Dinny Maher
...
Cpl. Rudolph Heinz
...
Erin O'Brien-Moore ...
Mrs. Koehler (as Erin O'Brien Moore)
Walter Ehlers ...
Mike Shannon (as Walter D. Ehlers)
Edit

Storyline

The life story of a salt-of-the-earth Irish immigrant, who becomes an Army Noncommissioned Officer and spends his 50 year career at the United States Military Academy at West Point. This includes his job-related experiences as well as his family life and the relationships he develops with young cadets with whom he befriends. Based on the life of a real person. Written by Dennis Huffman<dhuffman11@kc.rr.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Warms Your Heart! STIRS YOUR BLOOD! and fires your imagination!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Ford's The Long Gray Line  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,748,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Average Shot Length (ASL) = 13 seconds See more »

Goofs

A previous post asserts that the attack on Pearl Harbor was at 7:55 AM which was equivalent to 12:55 PM at West Point. This would mean that HST equaled GMT - 10 hours. But, in the era around 1941, Hawaiian time was GMT-10.5 hours, and the attack commenced at about 1:25 PM, EST. The point that church services at that hour were unlikely remains valid. But the Japanese intention was to present their final note about 30 minutes before the attack, not 5 minutes after. See more »

Quotes

Jim O'Carberry: This is Marty Maher. Whitey Larson.
Martin 'Marty' Maher: How do you do, sir?
Jim O'Carberry: If you have any trouble with horses, drop around and see Marty.
Whitey Larson: But he's in the infantry!
Jim O'Carberry: Well naturally! He knows horses. You don't think they'd put him in the cavalry, do ya?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jack Lemmon (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Over There
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by George M. Cohan
Heard at the railway station as the troops leave
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It took him 40 years or so to get the hang of it.
8 July 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Sergeant Martin Maher is in to see President Eisenhower who he knew back in the day when Ike was a West Point Cadet. The army wants to mandatorily retire him. So as Marty pleads his case before the country's most famous West Point Graduate, we're flashed back to the day as a fresh Irish immigrant he arrives at West Point to work as a waiter in their mess.

And the rest of the film is taken up with the telling of Martin Maher's remarkable story which he wrote in a book entitled Bringing Up the Brass on which this film is based. The subject is a can't miss project for John Ford with two of his dearest loves involved, Irish and military tradition.

Tyrone Power who had played in lots of costume pictures as the dashing hero at his home studio of 20th Century Fox, got a chance to do a real character part here. His skill as a player makes us completely believe that he ages during the film from his twenties to his seventies. Of course makeup helped, but I doubt if certain actors could have brought it off.

Maureen O'Hara matches Power equally as Mary O'Donnell the fresh and fiery colleen who marries him. Her relationship with John Ford as she tells in her recent memoirs had its ups and downs, but she respected his talent and gives one of her best acted roles. And O'Hara adored Tyrone Power, she says of him he was a tease at times, loved to play practical jokes, but a fine man and a thorough professional at his job.

The supporting cast is the usual familiar faces in a John Ford production. I would have to single out Ward Bond as the head of West Point's Athletic Department who Power goes to work for as the best of the group. Also note Donald Crisp as Power's father, one of Crisp's best screen parts.

Tyrone Power was very proud of this film, it was a personal favorite and he and John Ford wanted to work together again. They did, but only with Power's voice providing the narration for an anthology film of three Irish stories in The Rising of the Moon in 1957. Tyrone Power's sudden and tragic death in 1958 put an end to what might have been a great actor/director collaboration.

At the beginning of the flashback, Power tells the actor playing Ike that it took him forty years or so to get the hang of the army. At the end he says that now everything he's ever known and loved is in that institution known as West Point. As Power says it, I defy anyone to remain dry eyed.


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