6.2/10
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19 user 4 critic

Take the High Ground! (1953)

Not Rated | | Drama , War | 30 October 1953 (USA)
In 1953, at Fort Bliss, Texas, two former Korean War combat veterans work as drill sergeants and fall in-love with the same woman.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Millard Kaufman (story), Millard Kaufman (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Widmark ... Sgt. Thorne Ryan
Karl Malden ... Sgt. Laverne Holt
Elaine Stewart ... Julie Mollison
Carleton Carpenter ... Merton 'Tex' Tolliver
Russ Tamblyn ... Paul Jamison
Jerome Courtland ... Elvin C. Carey
Steve Forrest ... Lobo Naglaski
Robert Arthur ... Donald Quentin Dover IV
Chris Warfield Chris Warfield ... Soldier
William Hairston William Hairston ... Daniel Hazard
Maurice Jara Maurice Jara ... Franklin D. No Bear
Bert Freed ... Sgt. Vince Opperman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Iris Adrian ... Mrs. Butterfly (scenes deleted)
James MacArthur
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Storyline

Sgt. Thorne Ryan, who once fought bravely in Korea, now serves as a hard-nosed drill instructor to new Army recruits at Fort Bliss, Texas. But is he really the man he is often described as? His fellow instructor, and friend helps him to face the ghosts of his past experiences in Korea. One night in a bar across the border in Juarez, Mexico, Sgt. Ryan meets a lady who begins to turn his life around. Will this be enough to help him deal with the past? Or will he continue to be so hard on his troops? This movie was filmed mostly on location at Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso. Written by Vincent Merlaud <merlaud@studi.mathematik.hu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gripes ! Gags ! Girls ! Guts ! Guys !

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Making of a Marine See more »

Filming Locations:

El Paso, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,166,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,968,000, 31 December 1953

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,855,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (remix for video release)| Stereo (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Anscocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At about 18 minutes into the film while Richard Widmark and Karl Malden's characters are shooting pool there is a sign on the wall that reads: Watch Your Language Single Men Present. A real "sign" of the times. See more »

Goofs

When Ryan and Holt have the troops on a training exercise in the field, Ryan tells Holt to "get back to base." The Army doesn't refer to its facilities as bases. An actual solider would have said "get back to the post." See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Thorne Ryan: This is your rifle, and not your gun; it's made for shooting, and not for fun!
See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Blame Me
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
See more »

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User Reviews

Undistinguished, To Say The Least
31 December 2013 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

An utterly routine military film, minus anything that might distinguish it from the many other recruiting posters of the time, e.g. The DI (1957), Battle Cry (1955), et al. Except for the first few minutes of combat in Korea, the remainder is taken up with Basic Training at Fort Bliss, TX. Widmark gets the stereotypical role of an emotionally crippled drill sergeant, while Malden is wasted as his straight-arrow assistant. Third billed Stewart is the required love interest, who unfortunately is all hair and little talent. The remainder of the cast fills out the ranks of recruit trainees, with the usual array of witty or problem personalities. The movie's one notable feature turns up in the multi-racial ranks of the trainees, a relatively new updating for Hollywood.

As a guy who went through Basic (at Ft. Bliss in the 60's), I have to agree with reviewer bkoganbing. Many of the incidents portrayed in the film would never have occurred in real training, especially Malden slugging Widmark in front of the trainees. But I guess the screenplay needed more action at that point. Then too, the language was really cleaned up for public viewing. I had to laugh every time Widmark benignly called the recruits "young people".

What surprises me is the movie's director, Richard Brooks. How he got the job of supervising this sort of pablum is a puzzle, having built a reputation for highly serious work as a screenwriter, Brute Force (1948), Crossfire (1947), et al. Anyway, the movie is fairly typical of the sanitized type of military drama of the 1950's, before the stark realities of Vietnam sank in. (Contrast Basic Training here with it's more starkly realistic counterpart in Full Metal Jacket {1987}.) All in all, Take The High Ground is little more than a bland period curiosity.


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