5.9/10
2,576
36 user 15 critic

Never So Few (1959)

Approved | | Drama , War | 7 December 1959 (USA)
During WW2, the American OSS mounts covert operations with the native Kachin against the Japanese army in the jungles of Burma.

Director:

John Sturges

Writers:

Millard Kaufman (screenplay), Tom T. Chamales (novel)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A navy lieutenant and his civilian friend use a classified computer to help them break the bank at a Venetian casino.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Steve McQueen, Brigid Bazlen, Jim Hutton
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During WW2, a platoon of Marines crash-lands on a tiny Pacific island occupied by a small Japanese unit.

Director: Frank Sinatra
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, Tatsuya Mihashi
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The bond of friendship between a worldly-wise Army Master Sergeant and his naive worshiper.

Director: Ralph Nelson
Stars: Steve McQueen, Jackie Gleason, Tuesday Weld
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

With her infant daughter Margaret Rose in tow, Georgette Thomas pulls up stakes from Tyler, Texas to head to Columbus, Texas to be reunited with her husband, Henry Thomas, who has just been... See full summary »

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Steve McQueen, Lee Remick, Don Murray
Sergeants 3 (1962)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In this retelling of Gunga Din (1939) transplanted to the 1870's American West, three cavalry officers and a bugler work together to thwart a Native American chief intent on uniting local tribes against the white man.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.
The War Lover (1962)
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1943, while stationed in Britain, arrogant Captain Buzz Rickson is in command of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, but his recklessness is endangering everyone around him.

Director: Philip Leacock
Stars: Steve McQueen, Robert Wagner, Shirley Anne Field
Nevada Smith (1966)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A half American Indian and half white teenager evolves into a hardened killer as he tracks down his parents' murderers.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, Brian Keith
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An up-and-coming poker player tries to prove himself in a high-stakes match against a long-time master of the game.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Edward G. Robinson
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Small squad must hold off German attack.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A lonely Navy sailor falls in love with a hooker and becomes a surrogate father figure for her son during an extended liberty, due to his service records being lost.

Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: James Caan, Marsha Mason, Kirk Calloway
4 for Texas (1963)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Zack Thomas is a tough guy who hooks up with Joe Jarrett to open a casino.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A police inspector, nearing retirement, tracks a serial killer who is terrorizing New York.

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Faye Dunaway, David Dukes
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Sinatra ... Capt. Tom Reynolds
Gina Lollobrigida ... Carla Vesari
Peter Lawford ... Capt. Grey Travis
Steve McQueen ... Bill Ringa
Richard Johnson ... Capt. Danny De Mortimer
Paul Henreid ... Nikko Regas
Brian Donlevy ... Gen. Sloan
Dean Jones ... Sgt. Jim Norby
Charles Bronson ... Sgt. John Danforth
Philip Ahn ... Nautaung
Robert Bray ... Col. Fred Parkson
Kipp Hamilton ... Margaret Fitch
John Hoyt ... Col. Reed
Whit Bissell ... Capt. Alofson - Psychiatrist
Richard Lupino Richard Lupino ... Mike Island
Edit

Storyline

Captain Tom Reynolds and his band of skilled OSS operatives are in WWII Burma to arm and train the Kachin natives. But jungle combat, particularly against a Japanese army as familiar with the terrain as the Kachin, is hazardous. Some respite is found during leaves in the arms of beautiful gold digger Carla, but after Chinese raiders cross the border to loot and murder American soldiers, Reynolds abandons all notions of "military protocol" and seeks requital. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Seven Men The World Had Forgotten And A Woman No One Could Forget! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Campaign Burma See more »

Filming Locations:

India See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,480,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,020,000, 31 December 1959

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,270,000, 31 December 1959
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

John Hoyt, Whit Bissell, and George Takei all went on to become legendary television actors of the 1960s, and all three played memorable roles in Star Trek (1966), but no two of them, let alone all three, were ever in the same episode of that show. See more »

Goofs

Just before the commandos attack the Japanese patrol, Sgt. Jim Nortby is reading a Tom and Jerry Comic Book. The cover is in late 1950s style, and they would never have even had a comic in that shape in a deep penetration operation such as what they were on. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Danny De Mortimer: Whiskey! I just liberated it.
Capt. Tom Reynolds: How do you know it's not poisoned?
Capt. Danny De Mortimer: I don't, that's why I decided to share it with you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Steve McQueen: The King of Cool (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Burmese Fanfare
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Wolcott
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Something Stupid
9 September 2008 | by slokesSee all my reviews

"Never So Few" fails in so many ways; as a treatment of the Burma campaign in World War II; as a tough-nosed action picture; as an involving melodrama; and most especially, as a vehicle for star Frank Sinatra.

Sinatra was too busy playing soldier and practicing his cool look to bother constructing an interesting character; a strange bitter vibe hangs over his performance. Oddly, it was another actor who managed to take the little "Never So Few" had to offer in the way of career advancement: Steve McQueen. Up to this point, he had done "The Blob" and TV, but his comfortable natural bearing around Sinatra's star wattage shows he could hold his own with the big boys, even when the script gave him little to work with.

McQueen is Sgt. Ringa, a jeep driver who finds himself drafted for more dangerous duty when commando leader Tom Reynolds (Sinatra) takes a shine to his street-smart ways. Reynolds leads a small band of Kachin fighters in the hilly jungles of Burma, continually harassing a Japanese force many times its size.

"A regular Abe Lincoln in North Burma" is what rich merchant Nikko Regas calls him. Regas is part of the other story in "Few", the man whose girl (Gina Lollabrigida) Reynolds wants. The exotic Lollabrigida and the world-weary chain-smoking Sinatra are clearly meant to invite comparisons to Rick and Ilsa, and Paul Henreid cements the impression by playing Nikko as much the same character he was in "Casablanca".

None of this comes together, though. In fact, the two parts fail to co-exist at all. You get 20 minutes of war followed by 40 minutes of earnest love talk, then back to the war. The war scenes are about as competently directed as an episode of "The Rat Patrol", with idiotically sequenced insert shots (like soldiers shooting up at people we then see falling in a river) and noble, servile Kachin dying with meek apologies to "Dua" Reynolds. War is hell for Tom, who loses both his monkey and his favorite gun caddy, a faithful Kachin who hands him a new automatic every time Reynolds empties a magazine on the enemy.

The romance is even worse. Sinatra and Lollabrigida have no chemistry, she can't act, and director John Sturges' idea of story advancement is to focus on her bustline and hope you don't notice the dialogue. And what dialogue!

Him: "I hanker for you alone."

Her: "Why don't you go back to the hills and play with your popguns!"

Henreid warns Lollabrigida he won't let her go then disappears for the rest of the movie, leaving Lollabrigida and Sinatra to kiss like dead fish in front of bad process shots.

The film generates a bit of interest an hour or so in, when Reynolds and his men discover the Japanese are not the only force they have to fight. But the resolution of this angle is both trite and ugly, involving the wholesale slaughter of captured prisoners while the camera focuses on Sinatra, looking so sad his previously disapproving medic (Peter Lawford, better than usual here) has to pat his shoulder to let him and the audience know it's alright.

McQueen at least mines his on-screen time to showcase his talents as an action man, and occasional scene stealer with the aid of handy props, like a slice of watermelon or a mortar. Competing with Charles Bronson, Brian Donlevy, and Richard Johnson as Reynolds' monocle-wearing British pal, McQueen hardly has to break a sweat.

The worst performance here is Sinatra's, who just drips with self-importance, whether wearing an ugly goatee (Mitch Miller must have really got to him) or trying to sound like Hemingway with stiff lines like: "You have tasted the pain of wound in combat." Sinatra was not just good but great in parts where he allowed himself to project insecurity. But too often, when permitted to coast, he gave performances like this one, showcasing the boor he could be in life from time to time.

"Never So Few" drags for more than two hours, long enough to listen to four of his Capitol albums. Guess which is a better investment of your time.


32 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 36 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed