|LONG GRAY LINE (director: John Ford; screenwriters: Edward Hope/based on the autobiography Bringing Up the Brass by Marty Maher & Nardi Reeder Campion; cinematographer: Charles Lawton Jr.; editor: William A. Lyons; music: George Duning/Morris Stoloff; cast: Tyrone Power (Martin Maher), Maureen O'Hara (Mary O'Donnell), Robert Francis (James Sundstrom, Jr.), Donald Crisp (Old Martin), Ward Bond (Capt. Herman Kohler), Erin O'Brien Moore (Mrs. Koehler), Betsy Palmer (Kitty Carter), Harry Carey Jr (President Dwight D. Eisenhower), Phil Carey (Chuck Dotson), Patrick Wayne (Cherub Overton), Robert Francis (James Sundstrom), William Leslie (Red Sundstrom), Walter D. Ehlers (Mike Shannon), Milburn Stone (Capt. Pershing), Sean McClory (Dinny Maher), Peter Graves (Cpl. Rudolph Heinz), Jack Fennick (Recruiting Sergeant); Runtime: 137; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Arthur; Columbia Pictures; 1955)|
and simply directed by John Ford."
by Dennis Schwartz
filled with a fair quotient of blarney, the
inspirational West Point drama is still effective as
family entertainment. It's based on a true story of an
Irish immigrant, Marty Maher (Tyrone Power), who came
to the USMA as a civilian mess hall waiter and then
enlisted in the army to pay off his debts incurred
from the dish breakage due to his clumsiness. Despite
getting off to a rough start in his army career, the
gritty lad rose through the ranks to become a beloved
athletic instructor at the military academy and stayed
there for the rest of his life. His story spans two
world wars, and it makes for a grand but minor film
that is eloquently and simply directed by John Ford ("The
Iron Horse"/"The Hurricane"/"Stagecoach").
on Marty Maher's memoir Bringing Up the
Brass and is co-written by Nardi Reeder
Campion. The screenplay is by Edward Hope.
a fight with an enlisted man (Peter Graves) and
being sent to the brig, Marty impresses the West
Point boxing instructor Capt. Herman J.
Koehler (Ward Bond) with his
boxing skills and soon after the man from Tipperary
begins teaching boxing classes. Marty meets the
Koehler's cook, Mary O'Donnell (Maureen
O'Hara), an attractive young woman who has
just arrived from County Donegal and he ends up
Advancing to a corporal and then a sergeant, the athletic instructor after the loss of his only child due to a stillborn birth settles for becoming a popular surrogate father to the cadets as Mary is told she can't have any more children. The heart of the film shows Marty's love affair with the military academy and his handling of all kinds of adverse and joyous situations. When at 71, serving at the Point for 50 years, he arranges a meeting with President Eisenhower (Harry Carey Jr) to prevent his forced resignation because of age and Ike arranges for Marty's return to the Academy. When back at the Point, the delighted cadets arrange for a full dress parade in his honor and the sentimental patriotic pic ends as the humble man is honored by rank after rank of cadets passing in review and Irish tunes played by the band as in a hokey way both the living and dead friends of Marty (an institution at the institution) seem to be at the ceremony.
REVIEWED ON 1/28/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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