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The Girl He Left Behind (1956)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 31 May 1957 (Netherlands)
Privileged college student Andy Shaeffer is a mama's boy who flunks out of school and is drafted by the army where he becomes a real man, to the astonishment of everyone.

Director:

David Butler

Writers:

Guy Trosper (screenplay), Marion Hargrove (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Tab Hunter ... Andy L. Shaeffer
Natalie Wood ... Susan Daniels
Jessie Royce Landis ... Mrs. Madeline Shaeffer
Jim Backus ... Sgt. Hanna
Henry Jones ... Hanson
Murray Hamilton ... Sgt. Clyde
Alan King ... Maguire
James Garner ... Preston
David Janssen ... Capt. Genaro
Vinton Hayworth ... Arthur Shaeffer
Budd Knapp ... Congressman Hardison (as Wilfred Knapp)
Les Johnson Les Johnson ... Lt. Taylor
Raymond Bailey ... General
Florenz Ames ... Mr. Hillaby
Fredd Wayne ... Sgt. Sheridan
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Storyline

College students Andy Shaeffer and Susan Daniels are pinned. While Susan works hard to put herself through college, Andy sponges off his parents, his mother, Madeline Shaeffer, who in particular will give him whatever he wants. In other words, Andy is a mama's boy, which he doesn't really realize. Andy and Susan have used the word love to describe their relationship, but Susan isn't sure if that's what they are really feeling for each other or if it is solely a loveless passion. And if it is love, she isn't sure their relationship can survive without Andy taking some ownership of his life. The near end of their relationship, initiated by Susan, leads to Andy starting to flunk out of college, which in turn makes Andy a prime candidate to be drafted. During basic training at Camp Ord, California, Andy makes it clear to his superiors and his fellow privates that he doesn't want to be there and will do only what is requested of him without any extra effort. His superiors and fellow ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's the Big Happy Look at the New-Look Peace-Time Army! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the mid-1950s, Warner Brothers pursued a strategy of promoting some of their biggest young stars as believable on-screen couples in multiple films. They followed the model of famous 1930s pairings such as Myrna Loy and William Powell, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Audiences had continued to flock to see those on-screen couples in the many movies they made together. In each case, the studio had cultivated rumors of off-screen romance between the popular couples and had worked to make sure that each pair appeared in public events together and were seen in public dates set up by the studio. Warner Brothers tried to emulate this model, including the studio-arranged dates, in order to make Hunter and Wood appear as a believable couple that would capture the public's imagination. The studio had plans for five films to feature the pair, asked Wood and Hunter to give multiple magazine interviews suggesting a real romance, and conspicuously placed the two on dates in high-profile establishments. Despite these machinations, Hunter and Wood never attained the success of the more-recognizable 1930s pairings, and the highly promoted couple only appeared in two films together, both of which were shot nearly simultaneously and released within two months of one another. In real life, Hunter and Wood were very close friends and got along quite well. Hunter, however, was a closeted homosexual and Wood was attracted to men older than her co-star. As a result, no romantic relationship ever developed. See more »

Goofs

Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) is the motto of the U.S. Army's Eleventh Infantry Regiment, as well as the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Genaro: OK. Now, you can get out of the Army under this regulation. But before you make up your mind, I want to tell you this. It is not an honorable discharge. It's a discharge under conditions other than honorable. It'll be on your record as long as you live.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

You're In The Army Now
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Tell Taylor and Ole Olsen
Played briefly twice during the opening credits
Played occasionally in the score
See more »

User Reviews

 
No Pushups In A Basic Training Film?
14 June 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The title role of The Girl He Left Behind is none other than Natalie Wood. But it is Tab Hunter who is doing the leaving because he's gotten a greetings letter from President Eisenhower inviting him to join the US Army. Those draft notices can ruin the plans of many a young man.

In this case the young man Hunter is playing is quite rich and really acts to the manor born. If he's got the right stuff it will take all the people above him in his training company from captain David Janssen to First Sergeant Jim Backus to platoon sergeant Murray Hamilton to bring it out of him.

Fifteen years after this film was made I was doing basic training at a lovely garden spot of the earth called Fort Polk, Louisiana. It would never have occurred to me to mouth off the way Tab Hunter was doing to those above him. I've also never seen a basic training film that didn't have one trainee doing a single pushup. Hunter should have been down in a prone position on all fours pushing the good earth of Fort Ord away from him.

The Girl He Left Behind was filmed at Ford Ord and that certainly made it look authentic if it wasn't quite. In the cast as Hunter's fellow trainees are Alan King, Henry Jones and James Garner in what was his second film appearance.

Both Hunter's memoirs and a recent biography of Natalie Wood mention that at this time the two of them were linked romantically in a series of studio arranged dates. We know now just how far from the truth that was, but at least from Hunter's point of view, Natalie Wood was a good scout about it all. One of the lines I remember best from his autobiography was that he (Tab) could have qualified for veteran's benefits with all the military movies he was cast in. He certainly did have that all American military look about him.

The Girl He Left Behind is one of the most unrealistic of army films I've ever seen, still it has a great cast and I'm a fan of a whole lot of the people in this film.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 May 1957 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Girl He Left Behind See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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