Although Colonel Merriam is an Army officer, his ribbons include the Navy Presidential Unit Citation. While it would not be impossible for him to receive this award, it would be extremely unlikely. In addition, he wears a Second Army patch on his left shoulder. That unit was never stationed overseas. See more »
The release of "Seargant Ryker" on tape was beautifully timed to take advantage of Lee Marvin's 'discovery' after 25 years of character acting. There was a brief shining moment when he won an Oscar, top billing and much better parts. However, this movie is a cobbled-together version of a two-part television drama. This drama originally served as the pilot for the series "Court Martial" which predated "JAG" by a few years. (When 'Court Martial hit the air, it was moved to WWII England, as opposed to the Korean War locale of "Ryker.") A few combat sequences were tacked on to "Ryker" make it look like an action film, which it isn't. It's a talky courtroom drama - but some of the talk is first-rate, as is BradfordDillman's performance as the reluctant defender. He's the one that's on screen most of the time, holding the plot together with the strength of baling wire. Vera Miles was always a competent actress, but never a star; she exuded a likable prettiness. If I sound mild about Miles, it's because she never moved me much. Dillman, on the other hand, did - he labored under a terrible handicap in the movies:he couldn't hide the fact that he had been to school, knew which fork to use, and was obviously bright. He was a better-than-good actor (see the underrated "Circle of Deception") and is definitely worth watching here.
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