5.9/10
2,385
36 user 12 critic

Never So Few (1959)

Approved | | Drama, War | 7 December 1959 (USA)
During WW2, the American O.S.S. mounts covert operations against the Japanese army in the jungles of Burma.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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ON DISC
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Capt. Tom Reynolds
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Carla Vesari
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Capt. Grey Travis
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Bill Ringa
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Capt. Danny De Mortimer
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Nikko Regas
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Gen. Sloan
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Sgt. Jim Norby
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Sgt. John Danforth
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Nautaung
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Col. Fred Parkson
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Margaret Fitch
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Col. Reed
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Capt. Alofson - Psychiatrist
Richard Lupino ...
Mike Island
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Storyline

Captain Tom Reynolds and his band of skilled O.S.S. operatives are in WWII Burma to train the Kachin natives in modern warfare. But jungle combat, particularly against a Japanese army as familiar with the terrain as the Kachin, is more grueling than Reynolds had reckoned. Some respite is found in the arms of beautiful Carla, but after Chinese rebels cross the border to loot and murder American soldiers, Reynolds abandons all notions of "military protocol" and seeks requital. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Kiss by kiss the time ran out and never so few were the moments left for love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Campaign Burma  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,480,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The airplane taxiing on the airfield in the movie is an actual WW II Japanese Nakajima KI-84 "Hayate" (code named 'Frank'), and was the equal of any allied fighter plane at the time. This aircraft is now on display at the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots in Kagoshima Japan, and is the only surviving example of this type. See more »

Goofs

During the opening scene, when the plane is flying over the Burmese countryside, the small rocky plateau shown in one shot is actually located in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Danny De Mortimer: [down with cerebral malaria] I feel like an old serial. When does the train run over me?
Capt. Tom Reynolds: [tending him] Shut up.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Guns for Hire: The Making of 'The Magnificent Seven' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Kachin Koncerto
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Wolcott
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Nothing in this war makes sense. Why you expect it to make sense now?
30 August 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An allied guerrilla unit led by Capt. Tom Reynolds (Frank Sinatra) deals with the Japanese army and warlord controlled Chinese troops out in the Burma jungle.

"In the hills of North Burma, gateway to the vast prize of Asia, less than a thousand Kachin warriors, fighting under American and British leadership of the O.S.S., held back 40,000 Japanese in the critical, early years of World War II. It has been said NEVER have free men everywhere owed so much to SO FEW".

Killer Warrants and The Unprecedented War.

Directed by John Sturges and featuring Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Peter Lawford, Brian Donlevy, Gina Lollobrigida, Richard Johnson and Paul Henreid. Never So Few it's fair to say has a iffy reputation, originally conceived as a rat pack war film, it has some great strengths and some annoying weaknesses. The story itself is great, a part of the war that deserves to have been portrayed on the big screen, but why the makers didn't exorcise the whole romantic thread remains not just a mystery, but nearly a film killer.

As lovely as Miss Lollobrigida is, her whole character arc, and the relationship with Sinatra's stoic Reynolds, is surplus to requirements. It serves absolutely no purpose to defining other characters or for narrative invention. This strand of the story carries the film to over two hours in length, without this strand it's a film of 90 minutes focusing on the brave souls who fought in the Burmese conflict. Which is what it should have been.

When dealing with the conflicts, both outer and inner, the film does excite. The wily Sturges knows his way around an action scene and all the efforts here are gripping. Cast are fine and dandy, with McQueen dominating his scenes, Johnson the class act on show, while Sinatra, once he gets rid of the fake beard, shows his knack for tortured emotion to the point you just can't help but root for him even when he's being pig-headed (not a stretch for old blue eyes of course).

Tech credits are mixed, the studio sets are easily spotted, but conversely so are the real and pleasing location sequences filmed in Ceylon. The Panavision photography (William H. Daniels) is beautiful, a Metrocolor treat, but Hugo Friedhofer unusually turns in a lifeless musical score. All told it's not hard to see why it's a film that divides opinions, it's very episodic and that romance drags it something terrible. But still strong merits exist and it at least gets the core of the real story out in the public domain. 6/10


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