Sergeants 3

Overview

John Sturges's Sergeants Three (1962) was a staple on network television for much of the mid-1960's through the 1970's, and then it disappeared. Perhaps its absence, coupled with the rising appreciation for Sturges's work, helped the movie's reputation, which was never that great to begin with. Its reissue on DVD, letterboxed to its proper 2.35-to-1 aspect ratio (something it never offered on broadcast television) was considered a major event among fans of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy ...
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Overview

John Sturges's Sergeants Three (1962) was a staple on network television for much of the mid-1960's through the 1970's, and then it disappeared. Perhaps its absence, coupled with the rising appreciation for Sturges's work, helped the movie's reputation, which was never that great to begin with. Its reissue on DVD, letterboxed to its proper 2.35-to-1 aspect ratio (something it never offered on broadcast television) was considered a major event among fans of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr., the four stars. But as the disc reveals, it's little but a fairly good action-western, distinguished more for its cast and its source (George Stevens' 1939 Gunga Din) than for anything that we see on the screen. The producers have tried to impart some value and significance to the movie by including a commentary track by Frank Sinatra, Jr., who was a production assistant on the movie, but his work consists more of gee-whiz enthusiasm than any serious insights into the picture, its content, or its maker. Indeed, in the first three minutes of his audio track, he manages to mis-identify John Sturges as the son of Preston Sturges (the two were not related). In fact, the sheer superficiality and unfocused nature of his commentary only points up the movie's lightweight nature -- some pictures can carry a commentary track, and some can't, and this is one that shouldn't have been asked to. The only other bonus feature is a theatrical trailer. The disc opens automatically to a simple two-layer menu, which makes accessing (or shutting down) the audio commentary very easy.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with Frank Sinatra Jr.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Sad to say, Sergeants Three is one of John Sturges's lesser movies from a period in which the director was making generally superb films, including several notable westerns. It could have been a better picture than it is, given its source material (lifted from Gunga Din) and a cast that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Peter Lawford -- and plot with all kinds of topicality, dealing with the struggle of one man (Davis) for dignity and a place where he could call himself a man on the American frontier. But it's more of a fun romp than anything else, with the cast members, apart from Davis, having more of a good time than they are putting their acting muscles to serious work; and the comedic aspect is the flattest part of the picture, a fatal flaw in a movie that wasn't taking itself too seriously at any stage of production. Sturges could do serious movies about as well as anyone in Hollywood, as his early films such as Mystery Street and The People Against O'Hara demonstrated. And starting eight years earlier, with Bad Day At Black Rock (1954), actually a kind of modern western with a strong story at its center about racial prejudice with deadly consequences, he'd been making important movies, even under adverse conditions -- witness Gunfight At The OK Corral (1957), a picture on which he was only a hired director, but which was filled with powerful scenes and superb acting; and Last Train To Gun Hill (1959), about as finely acted and structured a western as you could hope to find; and then, from there, come the mega-hits The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963), on which he was the producer as well as the director, and all of the huge productions that followed on from there. But Sergeants Three fails because it is, at heart, a comedy, and comedy was one area that Sturges never succeeded at -- look at The Hallelujah Trail (1965), a gargantuan misfire, to see how much he was not a comedy director. Sergeants Three is less dire than that later work, but its flat where the jokes should rise to the fore, and too light where the serious sides of the plot see the light of day. All of which doesn't mean it isn't fun to see Frank, and Dean, and Peter, and Sammy (and Jjoey Bishop) -- just don't expect anything too substantial.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/13/2008
  • UPC: 883904108047
  • Original Release: 1962
  • Rating:

  • Source: United Artists
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:53:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Frank Sinatra First Sgt. Mike Merry
Dean Martin Sgt. Chip Deal
Sammy Davis Jr. Jonah Williams
Peter Lawford Sgt. Larry Barrett
Joey Bishop Sgt. Maj. Roger Boswell
Henry Silva Mountain Hawk
Buddy Lester Willie Sharpknife
Phillip Crosby Corporal Ellis
Dennis Crosby Private Page
Lindsay Crosby Pvt. Wills
Hank Henry Blacksmith
Dick Simmons Col. William Collingwood
Michael Pate Watanka
Armand Alzamora Caleb
Richard Hale White Eagle
Mickey Finn Morton
Edward Little Sky Ghost Dancer
Rodd Redwing Irregular
Madge Blake Mrs. Parent
Dorothy Abbott Mrs. Collingwood
Wally Merrill Telegrapher
Mack Gray Bartender
Ruta Lee Amelia Parent
Ruth Lee Amelia Parent
Herny Silva
James Waters Colonel's Aide
Technical Credits
John Sturges Director
Angela Alexander Costumes/Costume Designer
W.R. Burnett Screenwriter
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Winton Hoch Cinematographer
Frank Hotaling Art Director
Wes Jeffries Costumes/Costume Designer
Howard W. Koch Executive Producer
Billy May Score Composer
Paul Pollard Special Effects
Johnny Rotella Songwriter
Frank Sinatra Producer
Franz Steininger Songwriter
Ferris Webster Editor
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sergeants 3
1. Main Titles/Invasion [3:58]
2. Scoundrels [7:56]
3. Shape Up [4:20]
4. Mystery [10:21]
5. Big Bang [10:07]
6. Victory [5:19]
7. Change of Order [3:34]
8. Home Remedies [6:59]
9. Boys Will Be Boys [8:07]
10. Substitute [6:43]
11. Secret Lair [8:30]
12. Midnight Run [8:24]
13. One for the Team [7:10]
14. Upper Hand [6:28]
15. Warning [10:38]
16. Well Done/End Titles [3:54]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Sergeants 3
   Play Feature
   Language Selection
      Audio
         English Mono
         Audio Commentary With Frank Sinatra, Jr.
      Subtitles
         English
         None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Audio Commentary With Frank Sinatra, Jr. :On
      Audio Commentary With Frank Sinatra, Jr. :Off
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