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The Sergeant (1968) - Plot Summary Poster

(1968)

Plot Summary

  • 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>
  • A most engrossing movie with a brilliant cast, with Rod Steiger, one of the most brilliant actors ever and a young and talented actor, John Philip Law, how these two never made more films is beyond me! A most touchy subject as this to be brought to the screen was very difficult for the era and not a movie for everybody as to it's subject of homosexuality. I saw this film in Vietnam in 1969 and it had an incredible impact for it's time. The acting, cinematography, music, editing, production and direction were all first class, however, obviously overlooked by the Oscars for the same reason. Made long before it's time, If this film was made today, it would be a great success.

    - Written by Jeff Gardner
  • The story involves a veteran of WW2, a man who has a long military career since age 16 who is a hero and winner of a medal for distinguished service. After a brief start as a shoot em up war film, it cuts to an army fuel depot in France. The sergeant is given the assignment of being first sergeant but on arrival he sees the entire base is non-military and discipline is very lax. The captain in charge appears inept and endures an embarrassments as his new first sergeant vows to take charge and straighten out the situation. He comes down hard on the men enforcing rules and regulations the men have all but forgotten. He is not happy with the company clerk so he picks a new man, a young handsome PFC to replace him. It seems he takes a liking to him and they strike up a friendship and drink together. Shortly, the sergeant takes the young PFC to town where he has a date and ends up with them on their date. The sergeant drinks too much and begins to act obnoxious so at the end of the night, the PFC's girl shuns him as he walks her to her door. The sergeant and the PFC become closer friends now that his girlfriend is gone, and they seem almost inseparable to the other men's anger and resentment. While out one night the PFC sees his girl with another man and the sergeant slaps him as he sees the hurt the young man is enduring. The girl ends up coming on the base to see him again and to make up when the sergeant enters and berates him over it. There is a conflict between them and the sergeant punishes him and the entire company out of jealous rage using regulations as an excuse. On more than one occasion,the sergeant follows him as he goes on dates with his girl. Finally the sergeant catches him alone in a bar and confides how much he needs his closeness and comradeship. He seems to have crossed the line and his repressed homosexual tendencies come out in the open. In the final scene the men are lined up in formation having to listen to the insults and ranting when the captain advises the sergeant he is relieved of his duties. This is a blow the sergeant cant live with and he does the unthinkable.

    - Written by James

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