6.9/10
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Soldier in the Rain (1963)

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

Director:

Ralph Nelson

Writers:

Maurice Richlin (screenplay), Blake Edwards (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jackie Gleason ... MSgt. Maxwell Slaughter
Steve McQueen ... Sgt. Eustis Clay
Tuesday Weld ... Bobby Jo Pepperdine
Tony Bill ... Pfc. Jerry Meltzer
Tom Poston ... Lt. Magee
Ed Nelson ... MP Sgt. James Priest
Lew Gallo ... Sgt. Fred Lenahan
Rockne Tarkington ... Sgt. William Booth
Paul Hartman ... Chief of Police
John Hubbard ... Battalion Major
Chris Noel ... Frances McCoy
Sam Flint ... Old Man
Lewis Charles ... Sgt. Tozzi
Adam West ... Inspecting Captain
Edit

Storyline

Sentemental military comedy revolves around two contemporary army buddies, Master Sergeant Maxwell Slaughter (Jackie Gleason), a smooth operator, who supply Sergeant Eustis Clay (Steve McQueen) idolizes and hopes will join him as a civilian in a private business enterprise. Clay endeavors to be a player in the military, just like Slaughter, but it seems as though Clay still has a lot to learn from his mentor. They are joined by Tuesday Weld as a shrill dizzy blonde teenager named Bobby Jo Pepperdine and Tony Bill as bumbling Private First Class Jerry Meltzer, McQueen's screwball sidekick. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They leave the peace-time army in pieces! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Compañeros de armas y puñetazos See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Ord, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jackie Gleason released a version of the title music as a single on Capitol in early 1964, with another Henry Mancini composition, Bird Brain, as the b-side. This puts Soldier in the Rain (1963) in the same category as Thunder Road (1958) and Because They're Young (1960): movies which had a version of the theme song performed by a member of the cast and released as a single, while that version wasn't the one used in the movie. See more »

Goofs

During the golf sequence, the golfers are driving carts with steering wheels and no makers name on the front sections. But when they are lounging by the sand trap drinking beer, the cart in the background is of the handle steering type with the makers name on front. See more »

Quotes

Slaughter: [At the carnival] One cotton candy, please.
Bobby Jo Pepperdine: Oh, I just LOVE watchin' 'em make it. Don't you?
Slaughter: [Waxing poetic] A gossamer fantasy - the stuff dreams are made of.
Bobby Jo Pepperdine: Boy, you sure talk funny!
See more »


Soundtracks

Listen to the Mockingbird
(uncredited)
lyrics by Septimus Winner (aka Alice Hawthorne)
music by Richard Milburn
heard as background source music as an instrumental at county fair
See more »

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User Reviews

A Charmer!
14 May 2005 | by Doghouse-6See all my reviews

The unlikely pairing of Steve McQueen and Jackie Gleason generates surprising on-screen chemistry in this sweet little film depicting the equally unlikely friendship of enlisted man Eustis Clay and his mentor/idol Sgt. Maxwell Slaughter.

Country boy Eustis is counting the days until his hitch is up, while the erudite, knows-all-the-angles Maxwell has made a home of what Eustis calls "this stupid old army." Theirs is a rather symbiotic relationship; Maxwell guides and educates Eustis, as well as helping him out of his little scrapes, while Eustis, with his devil-may-care enthusiasm, coaxes Maxwell from his comfortable cocoon and into various adventures.

McQueen gives an uncharacteristically animated performance, while Gleason displays ample justification for his nickname, The Great One. Indeed, it can be imagined that Master Sargeant Slaughter is exactly the person Gleason would have become had he chosen a career in the military rather than show-business. There is not so much a story here as a series of episodes in the day-to-day lives of the two friends and the colorful characters with whom they interact. There is able support from Tom Poston as a clueless lieutenant ("What's the poop, Sargeant?"), Tony Bill as Eustis' own sort-of protégé and Tuesday Weld, demonstrating the versatility for which she was already coming to be known. A pre-Batman Adam West also shows up, and has one of the film's best lines. Escorting a Batallion Major to Poston's office, he says "This company's in charge of Lt. Magee." "You mean, Lt. Magee's in charge of this company," corrects the officer, to which West replies with an uncertain shrug, "Well....."

SOLDIER IN THE RAIN moves deftly from farce to drama, and at 88 minutes, packs a lot into a small package. One can't help but wonder what the set of this film was like. Both Gleason and McQueen were uncompromising, take-charge kind of guys and, with the possible exceptions of billiards and broads (excuse the terminology), probably found little common ground over which to relate. Maybe that was enough. Whatever the case, they play off of each other beautifully.

Ralph Nelson was a more than capable director who had associated with Gleason the previous year on "Requiem For a Heavyweight." He wisely lets the charisma of his two lead players dominate, and the result is an unusual but thoroughly charming picture. Not available on video except for a years-old VHS release, it may be hard to find, but catch it if you can. "Until that time, Eustis, until that time."

Update: It's now available from TCM (online only) as part of their "From the Vault" collection, at a very affordable price.


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