MovieChat Forums > Never So Few (1959) Discussion > Brian Donlevy as Gen. Sloan

Brian Donlevy as Gen. Sloan


As a retired combat vet, I thought the presence of Brian Donlevy as Gen. Sloan enhanced the movie. Especially in his last scene with Sinatra where he simply states how fine it feels to do the right thing regardless of the consequence.

Donlevy exuded just the right amount of dignity, confidence, magnanimity and military bearing.

That's the of kind of leader I liked serving with.

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Good lines and good writing. Doubtless, the lines were enhanced by Donlevy's backgound: enlisted in the U.S. Army at 14 (lied about his age). flew with Lafayette Escadrille in WW1, and spent two years at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Pretty good background training, I would say.

On the other hand, I can say as a retired combat vet, the worst officer I ever served under was a West Pointer, and the best was ROTC. I guess it all depends on what's inside a man, doesn't it?

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Well, I was an NROTC grad, though I have to say, I wasn't quite mature or self confident enough at the time to be a good officer. I had plenty of good colleagues who came through ROTC and knew some good ring knockers, but the Academy types did have rather large egos.

One of the best officers I ever served with was a commander who was a second generation officer. He was a no nonsense type, but with a sense of humor. He inspired respect in his men and took care of them, which is the mark of a great officer. He also wasn't above bending the rules, when necessary. A chief who served onboard ship with him told me about a particular captain's mast (nonjudicial punishment), with a very belligerant sailor. After repeated displays of insubordination and disrespect, the commander told everyone to leave his stateroom, except the sailor. The chief said her heard two loud "thumps," one when the commander's fist hit the sailor (he presumed) and the other when the sailor hit the deck. The commander told everyone to come back and "get this piece of (expletive deleted) out of my stateroom!" Knowing the man, I have no doubt it was true.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."-Groucho

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I agree. He was a great presence and played the part perfectly.

By the way, did anyone else notice how profusely he was sweating during his closeups? It must have been awfully hot on the set, yet I didn't notice Sinatra or anyone else sweating like that.

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Agree . . . Donlevy gives the film an important "lift", if you will, in the ending part, fun seeing him . . .

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Yes your highness I'm in agreement with you too. The one thing this disappointing film had going for it was a good casting manager and IMO it was a mini-coup getting Brian Donlevy to play General Sloan. His character exuding integrity, decency and common sense allowed that rather odd sub-plot involving conflict with renegade Chinese nationalist war lords, to close with some sort of sensible finality.

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Yes, he really does come in to help carry the rest of the film . . . a needed lift . . .

Actually Never So Few is a finely done film . . . it has an important story to tell . . . though it's heavily masked . . .

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"Actually Never So Few is a finely done film . . . it has an important story to tell . . . though it's heavily masked . . ."

Disguised so insidiously I'm afraid I couldn't see it.

Frank Sinatra and John Sturges were associated with a number of very fine war films between them IMO (Sinatra even directed one), but sadly this was not one of them.

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This film is far more important than all those, and others, put together . . . did you perchance happen to read the novel?

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No sir, I haven't and quite honestly the literary background is unimportant.

I judge films on their cinematic merits and this one IMO is a stinker.

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Yes, that's what they want you to believe . . . it takes a while . . .

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I liked Brian Donleavy in Never So Few. He reminded me of Robert Lansing in Twelve O'Clock High The TV Series.

BTW, did any of you know that Mr. Donleavy was in Gamera The Invincible? I am not making this up. When I saw him in the movie, my first thought was "WTF"?

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I was thinking when the General had left after his visit with the Cptn, that what was needed was someone like 'Ol 'Blood & Guts.'
And he appeared later!


Can you fly this plane?
Surely u cant be serious
I am serious,and dont call me Shirley

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