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The Strange One (1957)

Ben Gazzara , Julie Wilson , Jack Garfein  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Gazzara, Julie Wilson, Mark Richman, George Peppard, Pat Hingle
  • Directors: Jack Garfein
  • Writers: Calder Willingham
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0024FAG12
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,437 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Strange One" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Legendary actor Ben Gazzara made his feature film debut in The Strange One, recreating his Broadway role in Calder Willingham's gripping "End as a Man." Gazzara stars as Cadet Sgt. Jocko DeParis, a sadomasochistic bully in a Southern military academy who uses his magnetism and the school's own military code to manipulate his fellow cadets and officers. When he engineers the expulsion of a hated rival, his reign of terror begins to unravel. The film features a solid cast drawn from The Actor's Studio in New York, including Pat Hingle, Mark Richman, George Peppard (also in his film debut) and Larry Gates, and is directed by Jack Garfein and scripted by Willingham, based on his novel. Censored in its original theatrical release for its homosexual undertones, The Strange One is presented restored and uncut for the first time on DVD.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power is perverting people April 26, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Ben Gazzara is a perfect bully in a military academy. He uses his position of authority to settle his own accounts with one cadet, the son of the major of the academy, and the major himself. He terrorizes and crushes the freshmen cadets in all possible ways to achieve his own end which is pure domination. The interest of the film is the unanimous rebellion among the cadets and their final treatment of the bully they exclude from the academy after making him sign a confession of his « crimes ». The best part in the role is the fact that the bully always assumes an aristocratic stand and not a purely violent attitude. He dominates like a feudal squire or baron of old and he always manages to enwrap other people in his own acts so that he can blackmail them into lying and silence. But the final treatment reveals him to be nothing but a coward, afraid of suffering and frightened by the perspective of losing his power just as if his power was the only thing he could hold on, he needed to be anything, to respect himself. Power corrupts, it's true, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still worthwhile August 6, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first saw this movie when it came out in the 1950s and was much taken with it, so taken that I read the novel on which it was based, "End as a Man," by Calder Willingham. Some 50 years later, I watched this DVD and was glad that my youthful impression of the movie was unchanged. My taste has changed much over time, but not in this case.

Ben Gazarra is the title character, a sadistic bully at a Southern military academy. How he meets his comeuppance is the entire plot. The characters, plot and ambience are all fine. Beyond that I'll say nothing so that the unsuspecting viewer can see this afresh.

On the disk is a recent interview with Gazarra, telling how he came to play the role (his first in the movies) and interesting details about the filming. Don't miss this. It adds enormously.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies nobody ever saw. October 1, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Do mind the spoilers.

"The Strange One" came out in 1957, attracting precious little attention then- do you know anyone who saw it that year?- or now. Every now and then, a perfectly good movie comes out and just about nobody watches it. This is an ideal example of that kind of movie.

Set at the fictional Southern Military College, "The Strange One" sees us enter into the time of day when platoon sergeant Jocko DeParis is at his most powerful- after taps. He appears in the room of two freshmen, and switches between hazing them and playing games with their heads. Inviting a fellow senior into the room- knowing full well he gets mean when he's drunk- Jocko ensures this senior loses badly at a game of cards while drinking, making noise and becoming irritable. The son of a prominent staff member arrives to investigate the disturbance, and Jocko immediately shuts off the lights and directs his drunk classmate to attack the other cadet. The next day, the son of Major Avery is found on the quadrangle, beaten up and apparently drunk. He is soon expelled. It is soon revealed that Avery was involved in a situation that caused DeParis to be fired as a platoon commander the previous year.

DeParis is a study in what one individual can do when he has enough power in his hands and the will to use all of it. He lies, manipulates, bullies and degrades, all that and so much more. Simply because he can. He's not against anyone in particular- he's against everybody. That someone could be so harsh, so dismissive of everyone around him- it's not as impossible as you might think. Look around you, through enough history books- human cruelty can be quite bottomless.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb October 7, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This would be one of the best movies of this era I have seen, Ben Gazzara is as hilariously evil as ever. I hate to think how many times I have watched this movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strange one July 23, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
an excellent movie, long out of circulation. This restored version - from the previously cut release- makes more sense of the story and is in more in depth and satisfying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gazzara's First Movie October 6, 2013
By Buzzed1
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
You'd never think this was Ben Gazzara's first film role. He tackles his somewhat sado-masochistic character with a subdued urgency and really is the driving force of the storyline. His character weaves in and out of a major theme of the movie--that of power and submission--those who use it and those who abuse it. Adapted from the stage play of the same name, this film version retains its theatrical look with its claustrophobic interior sets and close character cropping. The master and servant interplay between the principle characters drives the film's dialogue driven core, and there is a gay subtext running throughout. If re-made for today's more accepting audiences, this aspect would most certainly be more prominently explored. Gazzara talks about the film in the video's extra features but sadly never broaches the subject of the movie's homoerotic undertones. Also making his film debut here is the fabulous looking George Peppard, who only a few years later would gain stardom opposite Audrey Hepburn in the classic Breakfast at Tiffanys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Film December 27, 2012
By Natalia
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When Laurence Olivier introduced this film at the midnight screening in London he said: "It is the best ensemble acting since Citizen Kane." After seeing this film today I couldn't agree more. Astonishing performances by Ben Gazzara, George Peppard, Pat Hingle, Mark Richman (The Strange One was their film debut!) and brilliant direction by Jack Garfein.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Underworld of a Southern Military Academy
I first saw this film in the late 1950's, in Kansas City, on TV! I was about 12. It is a great, unusual Study of a Cruel, Vindictive Cadet at a Military Academy in the South. Read more
Published 2 months ago by James Bryant Wiser
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Lost Drama from the 1950s
The advent of DVD allows viewers an opportunity to see some terrific films that have faded from public memory. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Silver Screen Videos
5.0 out of 5 stars Ordering all the time
I order for a 70 year old senior citizen that I work with. He love this movie. Every week I am ordering some new DvD or book for him

Published 11 months ago by Ryan.clark
4.0 out of 5 stars Hazy and Crazy !
Four stars for " The Strange One"
Glorious black and white film
it kept my interest all the way to the end !
Published 13 months ago by jeverr wonder
4.0 out of 5 stars 50 years Later
That's how long ago it was since I have seen the
film, (I was 18 then, you do the math) and it was
as good as I remembered. Read more
Published on October 2, 2012 by Big Band Leader
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary film, very underrated
I first saw this years ago and was stunned at how unusual and brilliant it was. Ben Gazzara is incredible, has total command and plays Jocko de Paris perfectly, no other actor... Read more
Published on August 20, 2011 by Schuyler V. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Under the covers and in the closet!
Power-house performances here. One can't imagine better ensemble acting. This was Peppard's first film. Read more
Published on May 7, 2010 by J S Lasher
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