GenreDrama ScreenplayDennis Murphy CountryUnited States
Release dateDecember 25, 1968 (1968-12-25) WriterDennis Murphy (screenplay), Dennis Murphy (novel) CastRod Steiger (MSgt. Albert Callan), John Phillip Law (Pfc. Tom Swanson), Frank Latimore (Capt. Loring), Ludmila Mikaël (Solange) Similar moviesLove Is Strange, I Killed My Mother, The Crying Game, Taboo, The Witnesses, Caravaggio
TaglineJust one weakness.... Just one.
The sergeant 1968
The Sergeant is a 1968 American drama film starring Rod Steiger and John Phillip Law, directed by John Flynn, and released by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts.
A dedicated, decorated war veteran, Sgt. Callan (Rod Steiger), is posted in France at a fuel supply depot in 1952. Finding a lack of discipline under the frequently drunk Capt. Loring, he takes charge in a tough, no-nonsense manner.
But distracting the sergeant is a physical attraction to one of his men, Private First Class Swanson (John Phillip Law), that seems at odds with everything in Callan's personality. He makes Swanson his orderly and befriends him socially, but behind his back scares off Solange, the private's girlfriend (Ludmila Mikaël).
Callan's confusion and depression grows and he begins to drink. Unable to resist the urge, the sergeant attempts to kiss Swanson and is violently warded off. He turns up for morning formation hungover and Loring relieves him of duty. Callan goes off to a nearby woods alone, rifle in hand, and commits suicide.
Rod Steiger: MSgt. Albert Callan
John Phillip Law: Pfc. Tom Swanson
Ludmila Mikaël: Solange
Frank Latimore: Capt. Loring
Elliott Sullivan: Pop Henneken
In 1966, Robert Wise set up a company to produce low-budget films that others would direct. He optioned Dennis Murphy’s novel The Sergeant and hired his former assistant, John Flynn, to direct. Flynn says Simon Oakland badly wanted to play the lead, but so did Rod Steiger, who was in much demand at the time, and Steiger played it for less than his usual fee.
The film was excerpted in the documentary film The Celluloid Closet (1996).