During the Korean War Sergeant Paul Ryker is accused of defecting to Communist China and then returning to his unit as a spy.He's court-martialed and sentenced to death but his attorney believes Ryker's innocent and asks for a new trial.
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During the Korean War Sergeant Paul Ryker is accused of defecting to Communist China and then returning to his unit as a spy.He's court-martialed and sentenced to death but his attorney believes in Ryker's innocence and pleads for a new trial. Written by
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After Lee Marvin won his Oscar for Cat Ballou and had great critical and popular success also with Ship of Fools and The Dirty Dozen, this former two part television episode from the Kraft Suspense Theater was edited together for release as a feature film. Sergeant Ryker casts Lee Marvin in the role of a soldier who was convicted of treason during the Korean War and sentenced to hang.
Sergeant Ryker could have been a whole lot better though. It has the look and feel of a made for television film, but more important than that, the editing probably left a lot out.
We come into the story with Bradford Dillman who has just successfully prosecuted Marvin now having doubts about what he did. The military more than most organizations does not like to admit mistakes and Dillman's doubts are raising all kinds of problems for him and for the United States Army.
Dillman has other problems as well, he's falling for Marvin's wife Vera Miles and she him. Still he persists in the quest and does get Marvin a new trial, courtesy of General Lloyd Nolan.
Marvin says he was given a confidential assignment to defect and gather intelligence. Problem is that the officer who allegedly gave him that assignment was killed and no record of it was found.
The trial takes an interesting turn and Dillman does a skillful job for his client. Yet the end of the movie will leave the viewer with a lot of unanswered questions.
Look also for good performances from Norman Fell as the sergeant who gives Dillman some key evidence, Murray Hamilton as Dillman's good drinking buddy and prosecutor Peter Graves.
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