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Lee H. Katzin
Sentemental military comedy revolves around two contemporary army buddies, Master Sergeant Maxwell Slaughter (Jackie Gleason), a smooth operator, who supply Sergeant Eustis Clay (Steve McQueen) idolizes and hopes will join him as a civilian in a private business enterprise. Clay endeavors to be a player in the military, just like Slaughter, but it seems as though Clay still has a lot to learn from his mentor. They are joined by Tuesday Weld as a shrill dizzy blonde teenager named Bobby Jo Pepperdine and Tony Bill as bumbling Private First Class Jerry Meltzer, McQueen's screwball sidekick. Written by
In the beginning Eustis Clay is seen admiring a parked sports car. It is a 1962 or early 1963 Shelby AC Cobra, one of the first cars Caroll Shelby made, and extremely valuable. See more »
The window air conditioner in Sgt. Slaughter's office has been pulled from the window and into the set, exposing the rear, so the camera can frame Eustice Clay kneeling in front of it. See more »
[Looking at himself in a full-length mirror]
You know, Eustis, all men are vain in one way or another. I happen to be a secret narcissist.
Really? Well, Maxwell, I thought you was nutty about girls as anybody else.
[Turning and giving Pvt. Clay a curious look]
"Narcissist" is a ten-letter word meaning a person who likes to admire himself...
[turning back to look at himself in the mirror]
Let me tell you something, my friend: being a fat narcissist isn't easy.
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This is truly a special film. Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen give two of their most untypical performances. The film is what I would categorize as a comedy-drama, light on the comedy and heavy on the drama. Gleason is wonderfully dry and witty as Sgt. Slaughter and McQueen is also funny in his part as well. His accent is a little difficult to get used to, but it's essential to the part he plays. The standout performance here, however, is Tuesday Weld's. She plays the slightly infantile "Miss Pepperdine" who acts as a romantic angle for Gleason's character. Their scenes together are the film's highlights. Her "introduction" in the film, involving a car wreck, is most memorable. It also features some nice acting by the supporting players. A really unique film, that hasn't had much exposure, known only to those who have seen it, and treasure it.
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