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The Strange One

21 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features

None.

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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0024FAG12
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,538 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Strange One" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 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.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roger Long on 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 By Alan Edward Creager on 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.
Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mathew nicholls (matt-nicholls@xtra.co.nz) on 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 By Natalia on December 27, 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Schuyler V. Johnson VINE VOICE on August 20, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 could have done this. George Pappard, in his debut, is fantastic; Pat Hingle and Mark Richman are excellent as well as is the entire supporting cast. What strikes me the most is Gazzara's complete mastery of not only his own part but the whole film as well. He portrays Jocko de Paris, a consummate bully in a Southern military college and as Peppard comments, flourished in this atmosphere "like a toadstool in a swamp." The homosexual overtones caused a bit of trouble for this film which is a shame, but thank God due to its overall excellence, it survived and after being a play on Broadway, achieved immortality on film and now DVD.
It is a fascinating and very unusual glimpse into the lives of men in a Southern military college in the 1950s, focusing on one incident that de Paris planned and carried out and the ramifications it caused for the lives of all these men.
Gazzara discusses the film and his role as a bonus, and mentions how James Dean tried to steal the role, which would have been a disaster and doomed this film into permanent obscurity. Not to take anything away from Dean, but this role requires a subtlety, finesse and intelligence way beyond Dean's capabilities.
Gazzara owns this part.
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