5.4/10
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20 user 4 critic

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:

A couple of teenagers and their kiss-and-run battle! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 May 1957 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

De dwarskop van het regiment 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fort Ord, California, where much of this film was shot, formally closed in 1994. Although a small military presence remains, most of the land was turned into a state park, a National Monument wildlife area, and/or is being commercially developed. See more »

Goofs

It is not an error that several of the soldiers seen in this film are wearing other unit patches on their right sleeves. They are all wearing the 5th Infantry diamond on their left sleeve. A soldiers current unit is always worn on the left sleeve. Those soldiers who are combat veterans are authorized to permanently wear the unit patch of the unit they fought with on their right shoulder. So all those patches on the right sleeves represent units those men served in during World War II or Korea. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Story of Esther Costello (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Honey-Babe
(uncredited)
Music by Max Steiner
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Sung by the soldiers while marching
See more »

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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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