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A military school student develops a destructive power over his fellow cadets.
At the Southern Military College, brutish upper-classman Jocko de Paris intimidates freshmen Robert Marquales and Simmons into inviting the school's dimwitted football star, Roger Gatt, to their room for a crooked card game. Although Jocko's amiable roommate, Harold Knoble, assures the reluctant freshmen that the game is just a good-natured prank, in reality, the vindictive Jocko has planned the evening as a ruse to get even with Major Avery, the schoolmaster who once disciplined him. Jocko orders the whining Simmons to act as bartender and ply Gatt with alcohol. Once Gatt becomes drunk and belligerent, Jocko provokes him into beating Simmons with a broom. In the next room, Avery's cadet son Georgie hears Simmons' cries and hurries to alert his father, who is the officer on duty. When Avery reaches the freshmen's room, however, he finds them sound asleep in their bunks, thus casting doubt on Georgie's story. After the major departs, the freshmen jump out of their bunks and Roger emerges from his hiding place in their closet just as Georgie runs into the room. At reveille the next morning, Georgie's badly beaten body is found sprawled next to a tree. When Colonel Cliff Ramey, the officer in charge, summons Jocko to his office and informs him that Georgie has accused him of assault, Jocko asserts that Georgie fell down the stairs while drunk and is now suffering delusions of persecution. The colonel then states that he doubts that Georgie was drunk and has taken a sample of the cadet's blood to prove it. The colonel warns that a negative test result will prove that Georgie was framed. Soon after, word comes that Georgie has been expelled from the institute. Although Marquales expresses remorse for his role in the incident, he is afraid to speak out for fear that his complicity in the incident would result in expulsion. As Simmons chides Marquales for being a hypocrite, Jocko enters the room and taunts Simmons about his fear of women. When Jocko announces that he has arranged a date for Simmons to help him overcome his phobia, the panicked Simmons lies that he has chosen a life of celibacy in order to become a chaplain in honor of his cousin who sacrificed his life during the war. Dismissing Simmons' excuse, Jocko orders him to meet a woman named Rosebud later that night. Soon after, Avery summons Simmons and Marquales to the guard room and appeals to them to tell the truth about Georgie. Although Marquales insists that he was asleep at the time of the incident, Avery suspects that he is concealing something. Afterward, Marquales, furious at being made to lie, warns Jocko never again to involve him in one of his twisted schemes. Later, Cadet Perrin McKee, a sycophant who fawns over Jocko, tells him that he saw him shove a tube down Georgie's throat and pour whiskey into it. Bragging that he is a writer with the "fire of genius in him," Perrin announces that he is in the midst of writing Jocko's biography. When Perrin tenderly places his hand on Jocko's arm and offers to read an excerpt, Jocko, repulsed, calls him a cockroach. That night, Jocko escorts the slatternly Rosebud to the cheap café where they are to meet Simmons. As Jocko begins to toy with Simmons, several guards from the military school arrive to take Jocko back to campus. After he is brought to Avery's office, Jocko is shown a rubber tube found in his locker. When Avery accuses him of using it to funnel alcohol down Georgie's throat and states that whiskey residue was detected in the tube, Jocko, who had thoroughly scrubbed the tube, calls his bluff and cruelly implies that Georgie's problems were caused by parental abuse. Enraged, Avery slaps Jocko and calls him a liar. The attack is witnessed by some cadets, and afterward, Jocko brags to Simmons that he has finally gotten Avery fired. Marquales overhears Jocko, and disgusted, asks Roger to join him and the others in telling the truth. Although he fears expulsion, Roger agrees to meet with Simmons, Harold and Marquales at the armory to discuss the situation. There Marquales accuses them of cowardice for letting Jocko use them. After Marquales asserts that the school is partially to blame by allowing Jocko to flourish, he convinces the others to tell their story to Roger's roommate, Cadet Colonel Corger. Afterward, as Jocko and Rosebud wait for Simmons' arrival at the café, Marquales appears and tells Jocko that the cadets want to meet with him upstairs. There, Corger hands Jocko a confession and orders him to sign it. When Jocko demands to confront his accusers, Roger, Marquales, Simmons and Harold step forward. Claiming that it was all just a practical joke, Jocko refuses to sign the document. The cadets then take him prisoner, shove him into a car and drive into the swamp where they blindfold him. Hearing a train whistle approaching, Jocko, thinking that the cadets are going to hurl him beneath the train wheels, begs for his life. When the train stops, the cadets dump the blindfolded, whimpering Jocko into the passenger car and leave. After removing his blindfold, Jocko runs to the rear of the car defiantly shouting that he will get even.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles premiere: 27 Mar 1957; New York opening: 12 Apr 1957|
|Release Date:||1957||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Horizon-American Pictures, Inc.|
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the strange one
kevin sellers 2015-11-16
A disappointing film, especially considering the excellent performances from three great actors at the dawn of their careers; Ben Gazzara, Pat Hingle, and...