Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Steve McQueen Films
- Tuesday Weld Films
Shortly on the heels of his notable performances in The Hustler (1961) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), Jackie Gleason was given another somber role in this military comedy based on a novel by William Goldman, co-written by Blake Edwards, and with a score by Henry Mancini. Unfortunately, the nearly non-existent storyline has nowhere to go: McQueen’s pathetic Sergeant Eustis Clay (a caricature of a dumb hick) for some reason spends the first half-an-hour of the film trying to hustle a fan:
… and the rest either getting into hijinks with his moronic friend Jerry (Tony Bill):
… or for some reason trying to get Gleason to hook up with Weld.
None of these characters or relationships make much sense — and they’re certainly not compelling. While this film is purportedly about Gleason and McQueen’s enduring friendship, it’s challenging to see why we should care about them.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Jackie Gleason as Master Sergeant Maxwell Slaughter
No; you can skip this one.