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Never So Few (1959)

Frank Sinatra , Gina Lollobrigida , John Sturges  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Steve McQueen, Richard Johnson
  • Directors: John Sturges
  • Writers: Millard Kaufman, Tom T. Chamales
  • Producers: Edmund Grainger
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 31, 2005
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008ENHU8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,693 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Never So Few" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Frank Sinatra told the director to give the newcomer a break. John Sturges (The Great Escape) obliged, providing favorable camera angles for Sinatra's young co-star. In his first big-budget film, Steve McQueen was ready to grab the movie world's attention. McQueen plays Bill Ringa, one of the O.S.S. combatants harassing the enemy in World War II Burma. Sinatra is Capt. Tom Reynolds, leading the guerilla fighters and risking court martial while doing so. Also among Never So Few's many are Charles Bronson, Peter Lawford and in her first Hollywood film, Gina Lollobrigida. About McQueen, the New York Herald Tribune's reviewer wrote: "He possesses that combination of smooth-rough charm that suggests star possibilities." A star is born in Never So Few.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Cast, Great Cinematography June 3, 2005
Spectacular cinematography and a strong cast make this a film worth watching, despite a script that is sometimes stilted. Sinatra as always fills the screen with his presence, and he is backed by one of my favorite British actors, Richard Johnson, and stealing every scene that he's in is Steve McQueen, in one of his early post-"The Blob" roles. Also excellent is Brian Donleavy, and another early appearance of a future star, Charles Bronson,
There is a big romance, and here is where the film lags. The bathtub scene should have been left on the cutting room floor, and a few others trimmed. Gina Lollobrigida however is exquisitely beautiful in the thankless role of a woman living with an older, wealthy man (Paul Henreid), until Sinatra saunters into her life. Others in the cast include Peter Lawford, Dean Jones, and if you don't blink, you'll see the future Star Trek Captain Sulu, George Takei, complaining about his hospital food.

The WWII plot is about jungle combat with the Kachin native troops in Burma, with both the Japanese and Chinese as the enemy. Captain Reynolds (Sinatra) and his men are outnumbered, and break rules for the sake of survival. Reynolds is unconventional, sometimes brutal when necessary, and smart; it's a great part for Sinatra, and he makes the most of it.
There are wonderful vistas, filmed by William Daniels (the cinematographer for many Sinatra films), and the screenplay by Tom Chamales was based on his novel. The direction by John Sturges is good in the action sequences, and Sturges was so impressed with McQueen's work, that he cast him in his next film, "The Magnificent Seven," and two years later in "The Great Escape." Total running time is 125 minutes.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never so Few: A Visonary War Movie of Things To Come November 21, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
In 1959,no one heard of Vietnam or the struggles with the Indo-China question,or at least the American public did not know much about the Far East and its complicated politics. The Excellent "Never So Few" really comes out of nowhere to become a topnotch war film and predicts the Vietnam War in some of its implications.The director John Sturges has always been a great action director, for this is the director that gave us the wonderful classic, "The Great Escape," among many very good action films and the action sequences in this movie are vibrant, real, and startling. The cast is excellent. Frank Sinatra has never been better save "The Manchurian Candidate," probably his best role and of course Maggio in "From Here to Eternity," which he won an Academy Award for.He is totally convincing here as the guerilla officer leader of the native forces in Burma with some "advisors" and the similarities are many to Vietnam, when the sides blurr and decisions are made out of necessities over military orders.Other standouts in the cast went on to become superstars. Steve McQueen steals many scenes he is in and gives portents of stardom to come. John Sturges uses him beautifully here and of course again in "The Great Escape." Others include Charles Bronson before he got the Death Wish, Dean Jones, Richard Johnson( One of Kim Novak's husbands for a short time but here and excellent actor), and Gina Lollobrigida, who brings the action to a stop and the romantic scenes don't ring as true as the rest of the film. But overall, "Never So Few" is an action film that holds up fairly well, telegraphs future movie stars, and has an epic stature it really earns. Sturges was one of our best action directors and "Never So Few" is one of his better efforts. Re-dicover it. A great movie of action and substance.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Captains Tom Reynolds (Frank Sinatra) and Danny DeMortimer (Richard Johnson) are fighting the Japanese in Burma during World War II. Ordered to take a "holiday" to Calcutta to find a doctor and get medical supplies for their group of guerrillas, they find Dr. Grey Travis (Peter Lawford) and a driver named Bill Ringa (Steve McQueen). But the two officers also meet war profiteer Nikko Regas (Paul Henried) and his mistress, Carla Vesari (Gina Lollobrigida). Although she is not responsive to Reynold's initial overtures, when she warms up to the captain when he is in the hospital after being wounded. When Reynolds returns to the field he has to put up with not only the Japanese, but a Chinese warlord who is stealing American supplies to sell to the Japanese. The main problem with "Never So Few" is the romance between Sinatra and Lollobrigida, which gets in the way of what is a more than decent story of O.S.S. operatives in the Burma theater. I know this is sacrilegious, but every time Gina came on screen, I went to make popcorn or get something to drink. There is really no chemistry between the two. Only when Sinatra is with his troops out in the jungle is "Never So Few" on the right track. This 1959 film, directed by John Sturges (who later directed McQueen in "The Great Escape"), is based on the novel by Tom T. Chamales.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good war, but a lousy romance August 11, 2005
It never fails to amuse me why someone talks the producer into making war movies into romances. The vast majority that have romance in them have done poorly. In fact "From Here To Eternity", "Casablanca", and "To Have and Have Not" are the only ones I recall that did not fail. I say the producer because they pay the bills so everyone else just listens to what they want. I didn't read the book so I suppose the writer may have put it in the book. Whatever the case it should have been cut from the movie. This movie along with many others would have been stand out movies if not for romance with poor acting females. Perhaps that is why the term bombshell was used. Because they made the movie bomb. The movie is still worth seeing, just get yourself a snack during romance scenes or fast forward.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic movie.
Published 23 days ago by happykono
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read the book -- the movie was very true and the characters right on.
Published 1 month ago by THOMAS E POWERS
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic movie.
Loved the movie.
Published 2 months ago by Northern
5.0 out of 5 stars Great WWII Movie
Classic WWII movie. Sinatra is as usual great. This is a story about the war that we never hear about.
Published 3 months ago by John F. Keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Never So Few with Frank Sinatra!
Saw it years ago, but movie was just as good. Totally enjoyed. Frank Sinatra was at his best as were the other members of the movie.
Published 4 months ago by Mary B.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a trio
Sinatra, Lollobrigida and McQueen are the main attractions in this WW11 movie. Exotic settings in the land of Burma, elegant costumes for La Lolla and great action and dialogue... Read more
Published 4 months ago by david erickson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good simi true movie.
Good story, well acted, well told. This production is a much compacted history of the CBI (China, Burma, India) theater during the early days of WW-ll. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John Morin
1.0 out of 5 stars As bad as the one it replaced.
I ordered this DVD to replace the one I already had of this movie because the first one was not viewable during the last 5 to 8 minutes. Read more
Published 12 months ago by WaltV
1.0 out of 5 stars audio portion is horrible
The audio for the film is unacceptable. the music is very loud and the dialog is not able to be heard when the sound is turned down re the very loud music background. Read more
Published 14 months ago by jack jansma
3.0 out of 5 stars Acting & Screenplay Not Believable; McQueen & Bronson Terrific!
Never So Few, directed by John Sturges, was released on December 7, 1959, 18 years after Pearl Harbor. It is an equally disappointing event. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Anthony G. Mollo
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