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The Rack (1956) Poster

(1956)

Quotes

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: Do you know what's the matter with me?

Aggie Hall: No.

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: My mother wasn't in the army, so I'm a half-breed.

Aggie Hall: I don't know you very well yet. Is that your way of being bitter or laughing at yourself, or...?

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: Remember those things that were half horse and half man? Well, that's me... half my father

[Looking at the sagging miniature American flag on the 'welcome home' cake]

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: ... half my father's disappointment and half my mother's hope.

Aggie Hall: He's not disappointed in you.

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: You know what I did this afternoon? After I left the post, I went out to my mother's grave and stood there for a long time, and I said, 'Mom, I'm sorry. I turned out human like you wanted me, but I picked the wrong time. So... tha's the change you see. Isn't that a laugh?

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Lt. Col. Frank Wasnick: [Addressing the jury, presenting the closing arguments for Capt. Hall's defense] Gentlemen, I have here a document which is not very pleasant to read. It's a communiqué written by the Communists describing shortcomings they observed among certain American prisoners of war.

Lt. Col. Frank Wasnick: [Quoting from the document] "One: Many of the prisoners reveal weak loyalties to their families, their communities, and their army. Two: When left alone, they tend to feel deserted, and they underestimate their ability to survive, because they underestimate themselves."

Lt. Col. Frank Wasnick: Now, the report goes on to say that even some of our university graduates have a very dim idea of American history and of the strengths and weaknesses of American democracy and that they are virtually ignorant of Communism, because we have never taken the trouble to inform them of its nature. The Communist program of indoctrination was based on this appraisal - and succeeded, because in many cases, the appraisal was true... And now we must judge Capt. Hall. Gentlemen, if there is guilt, where does it lie? In that small number who defected under pressure, as Capt. Hall did? Or do we not share it? At least those of us who created *part* of a generation which may collapse, because we have left it uninspired, uninformed, and - as in the case of Capt. Hall - unprepared to go the limit, because he had not been given the warmth to support him along the way... And now we must judge Capt. Hall. And let us make absolutely certain, that we have had no part in his collapse. This man has proven himself in the two wars of his youth, who has been exposed to conditions of captivity, against which we have never had to test ourselves.

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[last lines]

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [addressing the court martial one last time after the verdict has been read] This isn't going to be an extenuation, but I want to say it anyway. Capt. Miller came to my hotel this morning, just about dawn. He's the witness who was tortured. He said he'd read the papers and he'd seen my testimony there and he wanted to talk. So we sat down and we started talking about the men we knew who were prisoners over there... He said he thought that every man has a moment in his life when he has to choose. If he chooses right, then it's a moment of magnificence. If he chooses wrong, then it's a moment of regret that will stay with him for the rest of his life. I wish that every soldier... I wish that everybody could feel the way I feel now. Because if they did, they'd know what it is like to be a man who sold himself short... and who lost his moment of magnificence. I pray to God that they find theirs.

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Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: Pete never knew what got him.

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Ironically] Lucky Pete!

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Maj. Sam Moulton: What did you do?

Capt. John R. Miller: [Refering to his Chinese captors] Oh, I was mad. I called them things they didn't need an interpretor for.

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Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Coming into Ed's darkened bedroom in a very agitated state] Ed! Ed!

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Drowsily] What time is it?

Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Angrily] Get up!

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Waking up] What's the matter?

Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Angrily] Get up!

Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Ed gets up] All right... I want to ask you a question. I want a simple, direct yes or no answer. Did you collaborate with the enemy?

Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Ed appears stunned by the question] Did you collaborate with the enemy?

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Deliberately] Yes, I did.

Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Screaming emotionally] Why didn't yuh die? Why didn'y yuh die like your brother did? It would have been much better that way!

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Hall, Sr. walks out and a distraught Hall Jr. limps hurriedly after him] Dad! Dad!

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Stopping before the bottom of the stairs] I would have liked it better too... a nice, clean, acceptable death with dignity. Does that make sense to you?

Captain Edward W. Hall Jr.: Your excuses for treason must have been tremendous to make you crawl on your belly and break faith with your country and me!

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Angrily shouting] With you? What about me? You know wht I got for that crawl on my belly? You know what I got, Dad? Well, I'll tell you. I sold my soul for a blanket that smells of fish and urine and three lousy hours of uninterrupted sleep, and you know what else, Colonel? At the time I thought I was getting one hell of a bargain!

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Lt. Col. Frank Wasnick: Well, what are we going to do about you? We've got about two weeks to prepare.

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: [Shrugging] I don't know.

Lt. Col. Frank Wasnick: [laughs] That's an interesting attitude.

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: Oh, look, Colonel, uh, what axe are you grinding, or do you just have a penchant for lost causes?

Lt. Col. Frank Wasnick: I don't admire self-pity. I don't think it's constructive.

Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.: Haven't you heard? I'm guilty.

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Capt. John R. Miller: [on the witness stand] I remember Pak told them not to put out their cigarette butts on the floor because they were trying to keep the prison clean, so they put them out on me,

Maj. Sam Moulton: On your naked body.

Capt. John R. Miller: Yeah.

Maj. Sam Moulton: How many?

Capt. John R. Miller: They smoked a lot.

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Maj. Sam Moulton: [Addressing the jury, presenting the closing arguments for the prosecution] Gentlemen, in answer to Col Wasnick's moving plea, I should like to say that, while in some instances society may seem to be responsible for an individual criminal and his crime, this does not release society of the further responsibility of bringing the criminal to justice. For to collaborate with the enemy in time of war is a crime. It does to a country exactly what murder does to an individual. The defense has only one legal argument - an argument which attracts both the public and the press - the "breaking point." A point which most certainly exists. But gentlemen, in this case, the deeds are clear. The duress has been described. And by the accused's own admission, no breaking point was reached. Captain Hall, an officer responsible for command, collaborated with the enemy. He attempted to persuade his country's troops to surrender in the field. He was willing to inform on fellow prisoners. He tried to influence others to collaborate with him. He set aside the Army's simple rule for "name, rank, and serial number" - and in so doing, opened himself to the enemy. If you find Capt. Hall innocent of collaboration, then you find all those other Americans who refused to collaborate guilty of stupidity. You must find on the evidence that Capt. Hall committed the offenses as charged.

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