Soldier In The Rain

1963, Movie, NR, 87 mins

Review

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A curious comedy-drama with Gleason providing both and McQueen providing neither. Gleason is a marvel to watch and can say more with no words than most actors can with pages of dialog. He's a career top sergeant in the army and very happy with his service life. Fellow sergeant McQueen idolizes Gleason and is looking forward to leaving the army and getting involved in business enterprises. He tries to convince Gleason that there's a fortune to be made outside the army, but Gleason is quite content: he has his room and board paid for, he has an air-conditioned room in their southern camp, and he even has a free soft drink machine that he can tap at any time--what could be better? Gleason is a lifelong bachelor and carries his copious weight around with him as a shield against getting involved in male-female relationships. McQueen introduces Gleason to Weld, a teenage blonde, and they go out together even though he is old enough to be her father. They have a good time with each other, and Gleason takes a paternal attitude toward her. She is to date Gallo but stands him up. Later, while Gallo is dressing her down, Gleason steps in and forces Gallo to apologize to the girl, which impresses Weld. Gallo and Nelson hate McQueen (this is never explained fully) for some old slight, and, being tough MPs who wield their clubs with abandon, beat McQueen to a bloody pulp. Gleason arrives before they kill McQueen and stops the beating, but he is so exhausted by his efforts that he suffers a collapse. On the following day Gleason tells McQueen that when he retires, his goal is to find some quiet tropical island, kick back, and let the rest of the world go by. It never happens. Gleason dies, and McQueen, touched by what's happened, re-enlists in the service, perhaps as a tribute to his late friend. Gleason's acting is fluid and realistic, and McQueen, perhaps thinking that Gleason was stealing the movie, overplayed and is second only to Paul Newman in his vain attempts at comedy. The situation between Gleason and Weld never comes to fruition, but the by-play between the two is charming to watch, and Weld acquits herself well. Gallo later gave up acting to become a successful TV producer along with his wife Lillian. Nelson went from this small role to a leading part on TV's "Peyton Place." Director-producer Tony Bill is seen in one of his early roles, and Adam West, who was to burst upon America's TV screen two years later as "Batman," does a neat job as a superior officer. Not enough comedy to put it into the NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS category and not enough interesting drama either. leave a comment

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