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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

Taglines:

Just one weakness.... Just one. 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:


Company Credits

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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

 
Glum looking but OK drama
3 April 2012 | by (Salisbury, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This was shown on TCM (Turner Classic Movies).

Set in a post-war Paris is the sergeant in question, one who has high standards and he believes, high morals. When he takes over a new set of men, they're sloppy, of low morale and in his eyes, weak and lazy.

He is naturally drawn to a young private, played by John Philip Law. Pte Tom Swanson (Law) has a sweet, French girlfriend but Master Sgt Albert Callan (Steiger) isn't interested in her, or women generally. He'd been married before but that fell apart.

Sgt Callan doesn't seem to show signs of his homosexual attraction to Law in the physical sense, but as mentor, friend and drinking buddy. Initially, he enlists him as the regiment's clerk, in effect his personal secretary, though Law tries to resist having to do that sort of work.

It's quite refreshing after all those Vietnam war movies where Sergeants are only shouting sadists, who beat their charges into total mental submission. However, this is not sweet nothings whispered over candle- lit dinners either, Steiger for all intents and purposes is a man's man. One, whom perhaps has lost his purpose, particularly in the Army, where they act now only as peacekeepers.

The film itself is quite slow and methodical and not really for a modern audience. But, for a character-driven drama, with Steiger both convincing and good, it passes muster. The script follows in the same vein as the direction.

It must also have been quite a brave role for Steiger to take as its subject was still taboo, especially in the macho world of the Military and any associations with that taboo could seriously affect an actor's reputation. The fact that Amazon don't list it as a region 2 DVD means that it must be a little-seen rarity. Kind of understandable. But, if you can catch it on TV, it's worth a look, I'd say.


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