During the Korean War Sergeant Paul Ryker is accused of defecting to Communist China and then returning to his unit as a spy. He's court-martialed and sentenced to death but his attorney believes Ryker's innocent and asks for a new trial.
During the Korean War Sergeant Paul Ryker is accused of defecting to Communist China and then returning to his unit as a spy. He's court-martialed and sentenced to death but his attorney believes in Ryker's innocence and pleads for a new trial.Written by
Although Colonel Merriam is an Army officer, his ribbons include the Navy Presidential Unit Citation. While it would not be impossible for him to receive this award, it would be extremely unlikely. In addition, he wears a Second Army patch on his left shoulder. That unit was never stationed overseas. See more »
In this legal drama -- not unlike Anatomy of a Murder, A Few Good Men, and Compulsion -- ambiguity permeates the courtroom like humidity in August -- in Florida. Who's right? Who's wrong? No one can tell, yet decisions have to be made. Peppering the proceedings with plot twists and flashbacks that recall film noir and Sergio Leone, the story maintains a quick pace that overcomes its clearly low cost shooting budget. Lee Marvin burns brightest in the film's constellation of great character actors (like Peter Graves, Murray Hamilton, and Norman Fell), largely because of The Big Gray One's tendency to switch from calm menace to scary violence, on a dime. Jaded critics bang and hack at Sgt. Ryker, calling it trite and stale. The film doesn't warrant this sort of hostility. It is simple, direct, and powerful. Who cares if it isn't a re-invention of a very old sort of wheel?
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