The Strange One (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Strange One (1957)

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Movie Info

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repulsive creep (another implicitly homosexual character, played by Arthur Storch, is depicted as merely wimpish and withdrawn).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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Cast

Ben Gazzara
as Jocko De Paris
George Peppard
as Robert Marquales
Pat Hingle
as Harolf Knoble
Peter Mark Richman
as Cadet Col. Corger
Paul E. Richards
as Perrin McKee
Paul Richards
as Perrin McKee
Larry Gates
as Maj. Avery
Clifton James
as Col. Ramey
Geoffrey Horne
as Georgie Avery
James Olson
as Roger Gatt
Julie Wilson
as Rosebud
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Critic Reviews for The Strange One

All Critics (4)

It must be admitted that while the events are happening they are often very compelling - and this in spite of the clumsy shape of the narrative.

March 31, 2020 | Full Review…

Fascinating in the way that a killer cobra is fascinating, this is a nasty story about life in a Southern military academy... The central role of a cadet who is a monstrous sadist is skillfully played by Ben Gazzara.

October 25, 2019 | Full Review…

Nobody in the film behaves or speaks like a real person.

December 13, 2009 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Though the homosexual subtext was daring for the 1950s, the film is much softer than the play.

June 25, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

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