The Sergeant

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By the usual circuitous Hollywood route, Flynn, the old hand guiding the likes of Stallone and Seagal through their paces, actually started his career with this sensitive study of tortured homosexuality within the military. Although the emphasis on the unhappiness of a predatory older man typifies Hollywood's tentative approach towards gay subject matter at the time, Steiger creates a sympathetic portrait of the inner turmoil created by emotional denial. Filmed in the studios at Boulogne, it's set in a US Army supply unit in provincial France in the early '50s, where the arrival of master sergeant Steiger soon has the lower ranks bucking up their ideas. He takes handsome Law under his wing as duty clerk, but as a friendship develops between the two, only later does the young man realise the ulterior motives involved. All this takes longer than it needs to, but in the meantime we get plenty of prime Steiger, parading the gamut from boyish good humour to pained anguish. A stern disciplinarian who can no longer keep his desires a covert operation, he fragments into blazing rage and tearful vulnerability. Flynn's direction tends to the show-off, but he's there in close when it matters.

Release details

Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Flynn
Screenwriter: Dennis Murphy
Cast: Rod Steiger
John Phillip Law
Ludmilla Mikaƫl
Frank Latimore
Elliot Sullivan
Ronald Rubin
Memphis Slim
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