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Sgt. Thorne Ryan, who once fought bravely in Korea, now serves as a hard-nosed drill instructor to new Army recruits at Fort Bliss, Texas. But is he really the man he is often described as? His fellow instructor, and friend helps him to face the ghosts of his past experiences in Korea. One night in a bar across the border in Juarez, Mexico, Sgt. Ryan meets a lady who begins to turn his life around. Will this be enough to help him deal with the past? Or will he continue to be so hard on his troops? This movie was filmed mostly on location at Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso.Written by
Vincent Merlaud <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ryan, Holt, and the soldiers and recruits at Ft. Bliss wear the shoulder patch of the 4th Army - a white four-leaf clover on a red diamond. The 4th Army was activated in 1932 as the U.S. Western Defense Command. During World War II, the 4th Army operated the Louisiana maneuver area, and was credited with training about half the combat units that went overseas. See more »
When Ryan and Holt have the troops on a training exercise in the field, Ryan tells Holt to "get back to base." The Army doesn't refer to its facilities as bases. An actual solider would have said "get back to the post." See more »
An opening scene set in the Korean war combat zone leads us ,briefly , to expect a war movie but the picture is actually about the training of a new batch of army recruits at Fort Bliss ,Texas .The drill instructor is teak tough Sergeant Ryan ( Richard Widmark )who bullies , browbeats and cajoles the assorted recruits into effective soldiers.His methods ar harsh but effective and bring him into conflict with the somewhat more avuncular sergeant played by Karl Malden
The recruits are a mixed bag --the black ,poetry reading intellectual ,the farm boy ,a brash young kid ,a Native American etc .The army as melting pot , in other words ,coming together as a smoothly functioning machine.
It is pretty obviously an "approved " movie shot at an actual training camp and this is not the revisionist view of the military that was so prominent in the following decade but a picture that could well be designed as a recruitment vehicle. Elaine Stewart as the girl who comes between the two sergeants is the only major female star in an otherwise testosterone heavy picture heavy on male bonding and the military virtues .Widmark is as ever excellent ,and he is backed up by the always reliable Malden.
A strong genre piece and a reminder that military excellence is not achieved by accident.
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