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Shirley Anne Field
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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
Buddy movies seem to work particularly well when the twosome is made up of opposing elements often reflected in physical types and races. Pryor and Wilder, Mostel and Wilder, Glover and Gibson, the list goes on... Steve Mcqueen and Jackie Gleason are certainly an unexpected buddy duo, but it's a coupling which works very well.
The heroic action type seems to have dominated Mcqueen's career. As an actor he was capable of a lot more. As a likeable rogue he brought much charm to "The Reivers" similar to what we find in "Soldier in the Rain" though with an added edge of eccentricity.
Jackie Gleason, (who not only looks like Orson Welles but seems to sound like him to here), complements the duo with his own inimitable charm. Tuesday Weld, who as always has that special charm of her own, adds to the general good vibe this innocuous army life comedy has to offer.
While not exactly a film of much importance, its undeniable abundance of good nature plus talented cast make it a pleasant way to pass 88 minutes.
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