The Strange One

1957

Drama / Film-Noir

107
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 492

Synopsis


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May 28, 2020

Director

Cast

Ben Gazzara as Giuseppe 'Joe' Coppola
Clifton James as Colonel Ramey
George Peppard as Jonas Cord
Pat Hingle as Ace Stamper
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
915.48 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.66 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by cchase 7 / 10 / 10

Offbeat Military Drama Offers Early Glimpses of Some Major Stars...

Of all the movies offered during TCM's "Screened Out" Festival through the month of June, the inclusion of the little-seen THE STRANGE ONE certainly makes the most sense. I had never heard of the film before this program, and I am still trying to recover from the shock of seeing a treasure trove of matinée idols and character actors in the rawest, earliest stages of their careers. Because of this, many moments of the performances here teeter dangerously on the edge of pure camp, but this film was made well before the military school drama became a cliché with other movies such as THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE and DRESS GRAY. It's also worth noting that the homoerotic context of some of the characters' interactions were more than a little daring at the time of this movie's release, and that the filmmakers ran afoul of the Production Code in more than one instance before it ever saw life in a darkened theater. Adapted by Calder Willingham from his own play, "End As A Man", the story centers around a manipulative sociopath named Jocko DeParis (Ben Gazzara in his first major role.) Jocko never met a rule he didn't want to break, and his main goal in life at a Southern military academy is to break them all, while using his intuitive knowledge of human nature to get everyone else to do it for him. This would include his roommate, Harry Koble (Pat Hingle), and two lower classmen he keeps under his cruel thumb, cadets Robert Marquales (George Peppard, also in his first movie,) and the thoroughly unlikeable Simmons (Arthur Storch), Marquales multi-phobic roomie, who hates liquor, gambling and girls - in other words, everything DeParis enjoys. I'm not sure exactly what scenes were supposedly trimmed from the film previously, but it all seems to be pretty intact with this showing. The opening sequence that takes place during bed-check features some not-so-subtle S&M references as DeParis, with Koble's help, browbeats (or just plain beats) Marquales and Simmons into scamming a hulking rube of a cadet into a fixed poker game, the dim-witted Roger Gatt (a very young James Olson). Knowing the kind of violent mood that liquor provokes in Gatt, DeParis uses this to cause the brutal assault of the cadet next door, George Avery Jr., (Geoffrey Horne) whose father also happens to be the OIC running the academy. The remainder of the film is all about the cat-and-mouse game between DeParis and his unwitting and unwilling co-conspirators, who finally bring about his comeuppance in a manner that feels justified but curiously unsatisfying. Worth noting are the production values and the tone of the film, all that seem to be suffused with a pulsating gay undercurrent. An earlier review commented that the image in the opening titles could have been taken directly from a Tom of Finland painting, but it seems that such images abound throughout the film; any one scene framed as a still picture could have been inspired (or an inspiration for) any one of that artist's most famous paintings. (A scene where backroom poker games are played by sweaty, mostly shirtless cadets comes to mind.) But the most striking scenes are shared by Gazarra and a cadet nicknamed "Cockroach", the unsettling Perrin McKee (Paul Richards). It's somehow apt that even as the despicable DeParis dishes out liberal doses of abuse to McKee, the nebbishy underclassman seems to be undeterred in his hero worship and admiration for Jocko, which at times threatens to cross the line from the sexual into the erotic. Not so strange is DeParis's reaction to "Cockroach's" attentions, which feeds into his egotism. The scene in which McKee reads to DeParis from an autobiographical novel he's been writing about Jocko's life are only lacking stolen kisses and quick embraces, so charged are they with homoerotic metaphors in both the body language and the dialogue. THE STRANGE ONE is hardly one of the best films ever made about its particular subject matter, nor is it the first, but it is a unique look at the initial launch of the careers of its stars, which also includes (Peter) Mark Richman and Clifton James.

Reviewed by preppy-3 7 / 10 / 10

A strange one indeed

Film takes place at a military academy. Cadet Jocko DeParis (Ben Gazzara) concocts an elaborate scheme to get another cadet thrown out of the school. He has the unwilling help of two freshman--Simmons (Arthur Storch) and Robert Marquales (George Peppard). He orders them to keep quiet--but they're not sure if they can and Jocko is a very dangerous man... Bizarre movie. I hated it at first--it took some time for me to get used to the characters and figure out what was going on but I eventually did. It's not an ordinary Hollywood movie--it was independently made and had trouble with the censors. There's a VERY obviously gay character named Cockroach (Paul E. Richards) who has a crush on Jocko and a shower scene that is homo erotic to a strong degree. There's also a hint of sex between some of the cadets. Pretty raw for 1957. The acting is just OK. Gazzara and Peppard made there debuts with this film so their overly mannered performances can be forgiven. The rest of the cast is pretty good and carry the film. This was not a commercial success and is rarely screened but it's so strange and different it deserves some recognition. Worth catching if you're interested in offbeat films. A 7.

Reviewed by Handlinghandel 7 / 10 / 10

"Nightboy"

An interesting look at gay themes from the 1950s. At the time this movie came pout, homosexuality was still a crime in most (maybe all) states. It had another decade and a half to go before being declassified as mental illness. This opens with a drawing that looks like Tom of Finland. The people involved in making this may never have heard of Tom of Finland. It was the stylized gay zeitgeist. (I guess. I was not there.) Ben Gazzara plays the central character. He is a horrible, thoroughly unlivable bully. It all takes place at a military academy. A fey student who seems to worship him, despite his cruelty, is writing a novel based on his life. It's called "Nightboy." And John Rechy was still a youngster! It's a worthwhile movie. The acting is good all around. The plot is not entirely plausible. But it's exciting and consistently well done.

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