The Thin Red Line (1964) The Sane and Mad VS First Sgt Jack Warden

The Thin Red Line (1964) poster movie film dvd cover soldier cross

This is the first adaption of the 1962 novel The Thin Red Line by James Jones. The story follows a band of American soldiers as they are thrown into tough terrain fighting during the Battle of Guadalcanal during the Second World War in the Pacific.

The Thin Red Line (1964) private doll Keir Dullea ww2 filmThe Thin Red Line (1964) first sgt welsh jack warden ww2

This version centers mainly on two very differing men, the rookie Private Doll (Keir Dullea) and his First Sergeant Welsh (Jack Warden). Pvt Doll is a fish out of water and probably a little on the autism spectrum to be honest. He is angry, disobedient and not capable of taking orders, especially when he sees them for what they are, ridiculous missions of certain death and destruction. So he makes a pact with himself to do whatever he can to survive, even if that means going rogue and refusing orders. This irrational behavior actually starts to help in certain ways as his actions become unpredictable, turning past plans and orders on their head.

The Thin Red Line (1964) private doll Keir Dullea and sgt welsh jack wardenThe Thin Red Line (1964) private doll Keir Dullea and sgt welsh jack warden battle

All this is much to the annoyance but also fascination to Sgt Welsh who takes the young soldier under his wing. Welsh is an old battle worn veteran whose attitude is mean, rough and tough but under all that exterior is a warm, almost father figure. Teaching Pvt Doll how to deal with his first kills, dealing with the dark horror of war and that thin red line that exists between sanity and madness.

First Sgt Welsh – “The point? ha what’s point got to do with it?…. If these guys get off this ship without being killed they gonna be fighting for an island they never even heard of before. They gonna spill out their guts for a piece of real estate that even the birds don’t want….. now whats the point in that?”

The Thin Red Line (1964) Second World War in the Pacific.The Thin Red Line (1964) battle war

Whereas most the film is the relationship between those two guys there are some other stand out performances like with Captain Stone (Ray Daley) who realises his superior officers haven’t much concern for the safety of his men, putting them in more dangerous and dire situations that he tries to make a stand against them.

The Thin Red Line (1964) charlie campany ready from battle river water fightingThe Thin Red Line (1964) battle fighting wwII

Their platoon is called Charlie Company and with orders to capture a strategic hill, where two other platoons have already failed, called “The Dancing Elephant”. To get to this main objective, they have to endure one suicide mission after another with a minefield called “The Bowling Alley”, dodgy bridges, snipers, hidden ambushes, caves and treks across killing fields. Can this band of men survive the madness of war and stay on the right side of the thin red line?

The Thin Red Line (1964) platoons wlaing world war two

A few Wolfman Observations

  • This really should of been called “The Jack Warden Show” as he shines in every scene he appears. He truly is a delight in this film.
  • Keir Dullea would later on in his career take on the monolith and a certain AI called HAL 9000 in the legendary 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • What with Keir’s portrayal of Doll with all his funny mannerisms, I couldn’t stop thinking of his David from the wonderful 1962 film David and Lisa. You can so imagine that maybe this is Pvt David Doll who has been kicked out the home and thrust straight into battle. If you have seen both those films I’m sure you will get the same feeling.
  • Time for me to revisit the very different and deep Terrence Malick’s 1998 all-star singing and dancing version.
  • Look out for the great little surreal dream “When your number is up, it’s up!” featuring a very sexy girl called Merlyn Yordan.

The Thin Red Line (1964) strange dream sexy Merlyn Yordan judy sweet

The movie is on YouTube in full at the time of writing. It’s a great little film and as I say Jack Warden is awesome.  If you’ve seen it, what did you think?


Our Mother’s House (1967) For if we tell, We’ll go to hell

Our Mother's House (1967) film movie poster dirk bogardeOn my quest to watch more of the magnificent Dirk Bogarde, a man who excelled in finding diverse and challenging roles, I happen upon Our Mother’s House from 1967. And however brilliant Dirk’s performance is, it’s not him that steals the show this time but the dynamic of seven young children. Continue reading “Our Mother’s House (1967) For if we tell, We’ll go to hell”

Johnny Got His Gun (1971) Jesus H Sutherland This Film Is FUBAR

Johnny Got His Gun (1971) movie poster film dalton trumbo

Jeepers creepers, what can you say! How deep can a film go? Seriously this is an emotional thought-provoking, haunting journey into the human soul. What happens to the human mind when that is all you are, just a mind?

Tagline – The most shattering experience you’ll ever live.

Continue reading “Johnny Got His Gun (1971) Jesus H Sutherland This Film Is FUBAR”

The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963) Two Bit Hustler and Strip Club Dancing Girls

The Small World Of Sammy Lee (1963) poster film movie strippers jazz beat

Looking like the love child of Leonard Rossiter and Bob Monkhouse, our hero Sammy “Lee” Leeman struts and steps around the streets of sixties London Soho. He’s a fast talking, quick thinking, two bit hustler with his brain on the game two paces before it’s happened, Sammy is a wheeler and a dealer. One minute flush with cash, the next minute, totally skint. Continue reading “The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963) Two Bit Hustler and Strip Club Dancing Girls”

The Last Wave (1977) Mystical Magical Aboriginal Dreams & Ju-Ju Frogs

The Last Wave (1977) poster peter weir richard chamberlain movie film

You know what, I really should read the descriptions of the films I watch! I had imagined from the title and the cover image this movie was going to be a surfing drama, oh how wrong could I be. I guess it makes it so much more fun when the crazy starts to go down and that’s pretty much the first scene. Continue reading “The Last Wave (1977) Mystical Magical Aboriginal Dreams & Ju-Ju Frogs”

The Mind Benders (1963) T For Traitor Or Z For Zombie?

The Mind Benders (1963) awesome poster film movie dirk bogarde mary ure 2 mind control cold war

Major Hall (John Clements) follows a man he has been tailing onto a train to Oxford when suddenly the Professor randomly decides to commit suicide. On further investigation he finds a bag filled with cash and reports come in that the Professor had a vacant, lost look upon his face! What was going on? Could he of sold secrets to the Soviets? The Major visits Oxford University to try and unravel the mystery.

Tagline – Out of the Black Pit of the “Hate Machine” Came a Thing – Not a Man!

Continue reading “The Mind Benders (1963) T For Traitor Or Z For Zombie?”

633 Squadron (1964) Flight Lieutenant Singh Attacks The Death Star

633 Squadron (1964) poster movie film cliff roberton star wars

The right honourable Flight Lieutenant Singh (Julian Sherrier) is not content with being a crack shot fighter bomber pilot with an awesome dashing mustache and a proper gentlemen to all the ladies. This valiant Sikh is part of 633 Squadron, a courageous band of brothers, tasked with a mission to take out a German V-2 rocket fuel plant built in Norway. A truly suicidal mission but this is the stuff these boys from Royal Air Force’s No. 633 Squadron are made for.

633 Squadron (1964) Flight Lieutenant Singh (Julian Sherrier) bomber pilot Continue reading “633 Squadron (1964) Flight Lieutenant Singh Attacks The Death Star”

No Blade of Grass (1970) British Eco Disaster Savagery

No Blade Of Grass (1970) poster awesome cornel wilder nigel davenport film movie

I’m not sure what is worse? The absolute devastation and total armageddon carnage or folk singer Roger Whittaker singing the theme tune? Hehe I only jest as I’m actually quite liking the cheesy ditty with it’s strings, flute and Rogers deep vocal tones singing of pure doom. Continue reading “No Blade of Grass (1970) British Eco Disaster Savagery”

King & Country (1964) The Horrors Of Man

King & Country (1964) movie poster dirk bogarde tom courtenay world war 1

When you get two impeccable performances taking center stage talking about the evils and horrors of men at war during World War 1. Descriptions so horrifying, shocking and unfortunately all so real, you can’t take your eyes of the screen for one heart stopping second. Two men of different standing and rank discussing the “crime” of desertion. One young, Private Arthur James Hamp (Tom Courtenay) shell shocked, battle worn, depressed, confused but honest, friendly and open. The other, Captain Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde) a veteran of the Boer War, a man of compassion, a decent moral man. Continue reading “King & Country (1964) The Horrors Of Man”