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The Strange One (1957)

 -  Drama | Film-Noir  -  12 April 1957 (USA)
7.0
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Jocko De Paris, cadet leader in a Southern military academy, so manipulates events that George Avery, Jr., son of the school's executive officer, is found drunk and expelled. Through ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jocko De Paris
...
Harold Koble
...
Cadet Colonel Corger (as Mark Richman)
Arthur Storch ...
Simmons
...
Perrin McKee (as Paul E. Richards)
Larry Gates ...
Major Avery
...
Colonel Ramsey
Geoffrey Horne ...
George Avery
...
Roger Gatt
Julie Wilson ...
Rosebud
...
Robert Marquales
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Storyline

Jocko De Paris, cadet leader in a Southern military academy, so manipulates events that George Avery, Jr., son of the school's executive officer, is found drunk and expelled. Through various pressures, Jocko silences such involuntary accomplices as his roommate Harold Koble, football star Roger Gatt and freshmen Robert Marquales and Maynard Simmons, a girl-fearing cadet whom Jocko terrorizes into dating Rosebud, a town girl. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"THE STRANGE ONE" IS A STRANGE ONE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 April 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

End as a Man  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Trivia

Movie debut of Ben Gazzara. See more »

Connections

Version of Sorority Girl (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Night Boy
21 September 2009 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Back in the 1950s the movie Production Code in the U.S. censored topics and dialogue that it considered morally offensive or too provocative for a general audience. To get around this, Hollywood disguised the plot and dialogue in some films. The disguise allowed the presentation of underlying subversive themes, but in veiled form. "The Strange One" is a film with a provocative premise rendered opaque by its plot and dialogue.

A Machiavellian-minded Cadet named Jocko DeParis (Ben Gazzara) throws his weight around at a Southern military academy. DeParis is a terrible human being: bullying, manipulative, and sadistic, yet unemotional, always in control of the situation. In the film's plot, he carries through on a well-thought-out scheme to have a cadet he doesn't like expelled. He uses other cadets to implement his plan, so that he personally cannot be blamed. One of his puppet cadets is a visually unappealing Cadet Simmons (Arthur Storch), a guy with a mouth full of conspicuous teeth, who doesn't approve of alcohol and doesn't like women.

Another Cadet in Jocko's orbit is Perrin, (a.k.a Cockroach), a slightly effeminate guy, played by Paul Richards. Cockroach hero-worships Jocko, which thus allows Jocko to humiliate him in front of others. Yet, Cockroach, who refers to Jocko as "Night Boy", has his own plans, disguised by the script's dialogue, when he tells Jocko: "All I want to have is your confidence and your friendship". Well, you can see where this is headed in one sense, though the plot implies something else. The dialogue is heavy on subtext. And the film was quite subversive in its day.

The film's B&W visuals are rather dark, in keeping with the story's subversive theme. A jazzy score amplifies the seedy nature of these inter-relationships. The film's casting and acting are quite good, Arthur Storch's bizarre performance notwithstanding.

On the negative side, the plot doesn't explain why Jocko had such a grudge against others at the academy, nor do we learn the basis for his apparent political hold on the academy's higher-ups.

Yet these are fairly minor issues. And my overall impression of "The Strange One" is highly favorable. In addition to a deeply thematic story, we get to see a number of actors early in their careers, including Gazzara, Pat Hingle, James Olson, and George Peppard, among others. This is a film that would have been all but forgotten had it not been released recently on DVD. It's worth a look.


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