Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, May 30, 2008


SERGEANTS 3 (1962). Director: John Sturges.

Along with Ocean's 11, Robin and the 7 Hoods, and 4 for Texas, this was one of the "Rat Pack" movies made during the sixties. It's a variation on the Gunga Din story set in the old west. Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Peter Lawford as the three sergeants, and Sammy Davis Jr. -- in the Gunga Din role -- plays bugler Jonah Williams (and probably gives the best performance; in any case he has more to do in Sergeants 3 than in the other RP movies he appeared in. Joey Bishop has a small role as well.) One critic called this "a 4 million dollar home movie for Sinatra's gnat pack," and while it isn't especially memorable, it does have its good points. Winton C. Hoch's sweeping wide screen cinematography is excellent, and the boys' performances are acceptable. The storyline has them up against a maverick band of white-hating Indians; a sub-plot has Martin and Sinatra trying to talk an engaged Lawford out of quitting the Army (Ruta Lee is very appealing as Lawford's fiancee.) Although essentially light-hearted, the movie does have its "serious" moments. Some of the action is well-staged, although the climactic battle scene is mediocre. There's a funny and tense moment involving a rope bridge wherein Martin nearly falls to his death and for added measure a horse tries to climb out on the already precarious construction. The obvious matte paintings in this and other scenes are a minus, however. Overlong, and a bit slow at times.

Verdict: Some amusing and exciting moments but basically for Rat Pack fanatics only. **.

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