MovieChat Forums > Never So Few (1959) Discussion > so many great actors and such a mediocr...

so many great actors and such a mediocre film


5/10



I Worship The Goddess Amber Tamblyn


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despite being un-Hollywood in terms of excitement, despite clearly being manhandled by producers looking to make a 'bridge over the river kwai' meets 'from here to eternity', despite looking too sound-stagey - i enjoyed this film. it was more balanced than many other one-dimensional WWII films, had a lot of rarely-seen footage of Burmese temples, and suggested movies that would come far after it (those would mostly be about vietnam). it even seems to predict M*A*S*H in many ways.

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Complete balderdash! Sinatra's Capt. Tom Reynolds was unbelievably arrogant and insubordinate. I don't care how good he was at his job. An Army that crushed George Patton for slapping a private would never have put up with the crap he, a mere captain, gave his superiors. He ran his unit like he ran "The Rat Pack" in real life. It was totally unrealistic.

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They sell it decaffeinated now.

Anyway, I was entertained. Having heard my father's tales of Korean-era service, I didn't find the 'special ops' team stuff to be wildly outrageous or off the mark.

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I prefer the real stuff. I was in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 and met a number of "special ops" types. They could be independent and speak their mind, but no captain would have been so stupid as to talk to colonels and generals the way Sinatra's character did. He was way off the mark.

However, I will concede that in all probability, no one would have accepted Sinatra playing a respectful, obedient type. I doubt he would have lasted a week in the real army, even if he hadn't been 4-F. It was a Frank Sinatra movie, and I suppose it should be judged in that context.

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Good point. You know, I've got several older friends who were also in Vietnam, some doing some very interesting things, and it sounds like a lot of work was really done on the ground with personnel creating the 'procedures' as they went along - i'm talking more about special ops and humanitarian hearts-and-mind stuff. Things that would NEVER have been permitted in kosher frontline WWII or nowadays in orthodox military procedure. Things like 'borrowing' red cross convoys for projects other than grain delivery... Things like carrying obscure stamps used to 'verify' and 'certify' documents by smudging the ink. And so on...

But you're right - there is a level of cavalier to Sinatra... although, look at other 'military' actors - John Wayne, Steve McQueen - a lot of them have films where they are 'too cool for school'... 'mavericks', so to speak...
M*A*S*H, anyone?

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You have also made some excellent points. I myself was a combat medic in the air cavalry, and proudly admit some friends and I "requisitioned" a few boxes of oranges and lemons destined for use in making drinks for an officer's club in Saigon. We "diverted" them to an orphanage to help children who were suffering from vitamin deficiencies. I'd do it again.

The difference is we didn't make big speeches and lecture our superiors about it like Sinatra's self-righteous character did. An officer caught us later. We were sufficiently humble and respectful, and he was sufficiently decent so we were let off with an unofficial reprimand. If we'd given him lip, it would have meant the brig. Sorry, but making speeches isn't that important. I recall that Wayne's characters were mavericks, but never talked smack to generals.

That was my problem with M*A*S*H. They were too sanctimonious. Watch the episode where they try to hide a pretty Korean peasant girl, believing she has been wrongly accused of being a terrorist. It turns out she's guilty and bears them no gratitude. Yet they don't hear a word the ROK security officer, played by Mako, says when he foils them and captures her. They just want to be the big moralists.

PS: Don't get the idea I liked war. I did not. The only glory in war is surviving it.

"When you've got them by the bXXXs, their hearts and minds will follow." - Anonymous (but wise)

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perhaps M*A*S*H and Sinatra and Wayne's more outspoken roles (and the others) serve to put the dream world on the screen, much the way 'tearjerkers' or 'chick flicks' (sorry to use disparaging terminology, the culture did it, not me) put romantic vignettes and speeches into lovers - it gives an outlet for all of us who have ever been annoyed in bureaucracy the fantasy world where the 'hero' maverick tells off the super and gets away with it... when we all know you get more done if you shut up and work under the radar...

nice diversionary tactics for the orphans! scurvy prevention over public intoxication... hard to argue that.

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You make an excellent point. Also, who would accept Sinatra being polite and respectful to a mere general, or anyone for that matter? It wasn't his image. If the movie were realistic, would his uniform have remained constantly neat, clean, and pressed throughout months of grueling jungle guerrilla warfare in the Burmese jungle? Certainly, transporting wounded men in and out of Japanese-occupied territory and beating off a Japanese attack on their base camp would not have been nearly so easy.

Come to think of it, why didn't he have guards posted well ahead so he could have pulled out his force long before the Japanese even got there? Oh well, it was the "swank era," and "Old Blue Eyes" was at his peak around then.

Note: Officers never get intoxicated. They merely "unintentionally overindulge" (and I'm General Petraeus).

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i like governmental definitions. i'm never going to die. one day i just will stop coming around as often.

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They do seem to abound these days, don't they?

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http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21199

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2629

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Very interesting. Thank you. Of course, all sides use them. During the Cold War, the Communists had a million of them, as did the West.

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the Soviets were master manipulators of the lexicon! i lived in a CIS country and the propaganda still stood around on signs and banners (the prez was the old soviet leader in new 'independent' costume). from reading the signage, one would have thought it was a wonka paradise...

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You don't think it was realistic enough?

I just watched the segment where Sinatra was wounded bad enough to be sent back to the hospital, but not bad enough to keep him in bed, so he marches into the colonel's office and gives him a good dressing down in front of about ten people. He then goes to a hotel where Gina Lollobrigida is waiting for him, and he gets mad at her because someone else is paying for the room.

Just what part of this don't you believe?

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makes me think of something leno said, the less money and stuff they got to work with, the better the movie gets. or can sometime perhaps. i'm not saying this is bad though, i didn't see the whole thing. i was quite suprised to see bronson appeared, i noticed in one scene, something weird abut the camera and some guys mouth moving or not moving.


seem your old partner's been teamed up,
with everyone except you in recent years,
in the early tick of the clock,
of what's left of there,
nomather how many years race,
don't seem right the chicks taking your place,
changes took greatness like theft,
there was a time,
you were here from morning to night,
and i was hooked like the biggest turkey to be found,
your legs and your tempting eyes,
like no other woman i cross my heart and hope to die,
seem impossible for those days to come back around,
so many changes has been brought here now,
that old partner seem to be all that's left,
of when you were here yesterday.

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[deleted]

I'm a few years late to the party on this one, but have enjoyed reading past posts on this thread.

Suffice for me to add that on another thread on this board I wrote the only good thing this movie got right was hiring a very competent casting manager. The rest IMO was a bit of a shambles.

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[deleted]