Movie Review: Soldier in the Rain (1963)

“A grand pair – add a brand new curve to AN OLD ARMY GAME!”

1 Stars
Soldier in the Rain (1963)

Soldier in the Rain (1963)

 

Director: Ralph Nelson

Cast: Steve McQueen, Jackie Gleason, Tuesday Weld

Synopsis: A young sergeant develops a close friendship with an overweight Master Sergeant.

 

If this oddity proves anything it’s that Steve McQueen (The Blob, The Magnificent Seven) was no comic actor.   He plays it broad here – in direct contrast to an understated performance from Jackie Gleason (Papa’s Delicate Condition, Smokey and the Bandit II) – and it really doesn’t work; pulling faces, talking in a country bumpkin voice with his tongue curled, he comes across as both stupid and annoying, and it’s fair to say that Soldier in the Rain is a better film when he isn’t on the screen.   Gleason is by far the best thing in this.   His Maxwell Slaughter displays a pleasingly laid-back, jaded cynicism, and an amiability that only partly conceals a deep-seated insecurity about his weight: ‘Being a fat narcissist isn’t easy,’ he ruefully declares.   His character has a pathos that is completely absent from every other aspect of the film.   There are a few snappy one-liners like Slaughter’s quip about narcissism, but they’re too few and far between to make Soldier in the Rain anything other than a routine movie.

(Reviewed 12th December 2011)

 

WETA Movie: Soldier in the Rain (1963)

 

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