Soldier in the Rain (1963) starring Jackie Gleason, Steve McQueen, Tuesday Weld
Review of Soldier in the Rain
Soldier in the Rain is a great many things. It’s a “buddy” film, as Jackie Gleason‘s character take under his wing the young man played by Steve McQueen. It’s a story of the two becoming friends, then close friends, and finally Gleason treating McQueen as a younger brother. He goes so far as to rescue McQueen towards the end of the film, with tragic consequences.
It’s the story of a fish out of the water, for both characters. Jackie Gleason’s character is supremely confident, having carved out a very comfortable niche for himself. But he’s trapped inside it. Until Steve McQueen talks him into going on a double data with Tuesday Weld. Gleason’s character is older, heavier, and doesn’t consider himself good-looking. To the opposite sex, at least.
“It’s hard to be a fat narcissist.” The line is used for a (funny) joke, but it’s very revealing about the character as well. And Steve McQueen’s character is perpetually chasing the quick buck. And sees the military service as the means to an end. At least, at first.
It’s frankly one of my favorite movies, and I highly recommend it.
Editorial review of Soldier in the Rain
His own soda pop machine. Air conditioning. The finest cotton underwear. Someone else doing the work. That’s M/Sgt. Maxwell Slaughter’s (Jackie Gleason) game – and man, can he play it. Just ask Supply Sgt. Eustis Clay (Steve McQueen), who idolizes the big, shrewd, supremely self-confident older man. Maybe someday they can go into business together. In the meantime, how about a hot double date? So Clay fixes Slaughter up with a teenybopper named Bobby Jo (Tuesday Weld), a move that sets off a chain reaction of laughs and drama. Gleason and McQueen make a surprisingly engaging comedy team in this overlooked gem (co-scripted by Blake Edwards, who at this time was also embarking on The Pink Panther movie series) that showcases both stars’ unique talents.
Be sure to check out the funny movie quotes from Soldier in the Rain as well.
Cast of characters
- Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners, Gigot) … MSgt. Maxwell Slaughter
- Steve McQueen (The Great Escape) … Sgt. Eustis Clay
- Tuesday Weld (I’ll Take Sweden, Lord Love a Duck) … Bobby Jo Pepperdine
- Tony Bill (Never a Dull Moment) … Pfc. Jerry Meltzer
- Tom Poston (Newhart, Cold Turkey) … Lt. Magee
- Ed Nelson … MP Sgt. James Priest
- Lew Gallo … Sgt. Fred Lenahan
- Rockne Tarkington … Sgt. William Booth
- Paul Hartman (The Reluctant Astronaut) … Chief of Police
- John Hubbard (Maisie) … Battalion Major
- Chris Noel … Frances McCoy
- Sam Flint … Old Man
- Lewis Charles … Sgt. Tozzi
- Adam West (Batman the Movie, The Outlaws is Coming) … Inspecting Captain
Trivia for Soldier in the Rain
- Jackie Gleason released a version of the title music as a single on Capitol in early 1964, with another Henry Mancini composition, Bird Brain, as the b-side. This puts Soldier in the Rain (1963) in the same category as Thunder Road (1958) and Because They’re Young (1960): movies which had a version of the theme song performed by a member of the cast and released as a single, while that version wasn’t the one used in the movie.
- In the beginning, Eustis Clay is seen admiring a parked sports car. It is a 1962 or early 1963 Shelby AC Cobra, one of the first cars Caroll Shelby made, and extremely valuable.