6.3/10
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15 user 8 critic

The Sergeant (1968)

A story of a brilliant master sergeant with a great career behind him and transferred to yet another post, his attraction to a younger man eventually overrides him, to a point where his latent homosexuality, finally emerges.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
MSgt. Albert Callan
...
Pfc. Tom Swanson
Ludmila Mikaël ...
Solange Gérard
...
Capt. Loring
Elliott Sullivan ...
Pop Henneken
Ronald Rubin ...
Cpl. Cowley
Philip Roye ...
Aldous Brown
Jerry Brouer ...
Sgt. Komski
Memphis Slim ...
Night Club Singer
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Storyline

THE SERGEANT is the story of the dark inner struggle of Master Sergeant Albert Callan to overcome the overwhelming attraction he feels for one of his charges. In the staid and stifling environment of a post-World War II army post in France, Callan's deeply repressed attraction to other men surfaces when he encounters handsome Private Swanson. Maintaining the rugged "man's man" image of a war hero, Callan barks orders to his underlings. Later, lonely in his solitude, he recalls the frightening experiences of war and the events that led to this crossroads. Filled with self-loathing and unable to act on the natural attraction he feels for Swanson, Callan's affection festers into antagonism. He pushes Swanson constantly with verbal assaults and undeserved punishments. Oblivious to Callan's attraction to him, Swanson comes finally to feel enmity for his Master Sergeant. Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Did he give them so much hell because he had so much to give? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az őrmester  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Simon Oakland campaigned hard to play the lead role and even told director John Flynn that he would do it for no salary. However, Rod Steiger was ultimately cast instead because he was a bigger name at the time. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Celluloid Closet (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

An important film that needs to come OUT of the closet
6 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

Cliché? No more than a thousand other films that make melodrama of the agony of unrequited love. What makes the film unique is not just that The Sargeant was "secretly" homosexual, what makes it unique is that he was TOO OLD (and fat!) for Swanson, who was obviously a "hottie", and more likely just plain heterosexual anyway.

It's impossible to watch this film and not be somewhat awed by the performance of Rod Steiger, who doesn't speak a word until ten minutes into the film, but his silent performance at the end still screams in your gut as the closing credits roll.

Did Swanson feel guilty for not helping out the old guy, or just pity because The Sargeant was a pervert? This question is left unanswered at the end of the film. It is as vital and important today as it was when released. It tells a story not only of general attitudes toward homosexuality at the time, but the never-ending story of young men's indifference to the attentions of fat old supervisors.

Seriously, the WB Archive DVD looks very good, but it's easy to see how a full restoration of the film could look exceptionally good. The important thing is that the film not be overlooked because the gay man doesn't get his guy.


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