The Strange One

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Overview

In his film debut, Ben Gazzara repeats his stage portrayal of Jocko De Paris, a manipulative psychotic who holds a Southern military school in thrall. With the help of his flunkies, cadets Harold Knoble (Pat Hingle) and Roger Gatt (James Olson), Jocko sadistically terrorizes the underclassmen, forcing them to do his bidding. Efforts made by Major Avery (Larry Gates) to expose Jocko are constantly thwarted by the students' conspiracy of silence and by Jocko's own efforts to destroy Avery. Finally, cadet Robert ...
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043396090835 This item is in good condition with all original artwork and materials. Case and/or artwork may show visible wear. The disc may have light superficial marks that do ... not affect play.` Read more Show Less

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Overview

In his film debut, Ben Gazzara repeats his stage portrayal of Jocko De Paris, a manipulative psychotic who holds a Southern military school in thrall. With the help of his flunkies, cadets Harold Knoble (Pat Hingle) and Roger Gatt (James Olson), Jocko sadistically terrorizes the underclassmen, forcing them to do his bidding. Efforts made by Major Avery (Larry Gates) to expose Jocko are constantly thwarted by the students' conspiracy of silence and by Jocko's own efforts to destroy Avery. Finally, cadet Robert Marquales (George Peppard, likewise making his first film appearance) can stand no more: turning the tables on Jocko, Marquales reveals the monster for the snivveling coward he really is. This filmization of Calder Willingham's play and novel End as a Man almost didn't make it to the screen due to its pronounced homosexual subtext. The filmmakers managed to circumvent the censors by removing three minutes of allegedly offensive footage, and by making the film's most overtly gay character a slimy, repulsive creep (another implicitly homosexual character, played by Arthur Storch, is depicted as merely wimpish and withdrawn). As a box-office come-on, Calder Willingham added the superfluous character of good-time gal Rosebud (Julie Wilson).
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Ben Gazzara tears up the screen in The Strange One, an "of its time" drama that is intense but ultimately unconvincing, coming across as more of an opportunity for a bunch of young (or young-ish) actors to strut their stuff than as a cohesive film. The original release included several minutes that were cut by censors, mainly because they dealt with homosexuality. Recent DVD releases have restored these cuts, which only add to the over-the-top feeling of much of the film. Calder Willingham's screenplay, from his own book and play, doesn't stand up; the original excoriation of a military school's damaging "code of honor" is largely absent from the film, and the story is too contrived and manipulative for most modern viewers. That said, it does stand out as a very 1950s project, and film and social historians will appreciate the manner in which it captures the era's "rebel with or without a cause" sensibility. Jack Garfein's direction is capable but somewhat dull; he's mostly interested in the performers, which is fine, but which leaves the visual end of the film lacking. Fortunately, the cast is worthy of Garfein's attention, with Gazzara frighteningly good. He's in total command, as befits his character, and the nasty charisma he generates is unbelievable. He dominates the proceedings, despite very good work from the other actors, including George Peppard.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/14/1997
  • UPC: 043396090835
  • Original Release: 1957
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Gazzara Jocko De Paris
Pat Hingle Harold Knoble
Mark Richman Cadet Colonel Corger
Paul E. Richards Perrin McKee
Larry Gates Maj. Avery
James Olson Roger Gatt
Julie Wilson Rosebud
George Peppard Robert Marquales
Geoffrey Horne Georgie Avery
Clifton James Col. Ramey
Arthur Storch Simmons
Technical Credits
Herb Gardner Director
Jack Garfein Director
Burnett Guffey Cinematographer
Kenyon Hopkins Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Sidney Katz Editor
Sam Spiegel Producer
Calder Willingham Screenwriter
Joseph C. Wright Art Director
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Strange One!

    This is one strange movie, too. They couldn't come right out and say that Ben Gazzara's character was gay because of censorship issues; it makes me wonder if many of the people who saw this movie when it was new had any idea of its' subtext. It's also funny how obvious the subtext of the movie is now...these days, it's pretty obvious, and the viewer doesn't have to read between the lines. At all. That said, THE STRANGE ONE is a very entertaining movie, which plays a lot like REFLECTIONS OF A GOLDEN EYE except, well, good. Very Southern, military school background, overheated plot...you just can't go wrong with this movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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