Immortal Sergeant (1943)

“Drinking water is the worst thing in the world for wound like mine. [in the groin]” – Sgt Kelly

Number of Times Seen – 1 (23 Apr 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A group of British soldiers lost in the desert try to find their way around the German forces while their leader thinks about what he left at home.

My Take on it – This is a film that I came across in my quest to expand my knowledge of films starring Henry Fonda.

The premise sounded quite intriguing and that made me more curious to check this out.

Unfortunately, the film tries much too hard to show a story of a soldier reminiscing about his lover while in the midst of battle.

The idea isn’t as powerful as one might hope.

Fonda does a nice job in the lead role here and his scenes in the desert come across quite realistically.

The problem here is that they try much too hard to ix these two stories and things come across quite choppy because of the way that they jump back and forth between these two very diverse stories.

The idea of trying to show the character’s motivations via the second story is understandable but it just doesn’t work well enough here.

Thomas Mitchell is great in a powerful supporting role as the leader of the platoon and his character is quite poignant in much of the advice that he gives his men as the story moves along.

This might have been a more solid story if they had focused more on the scenes in the desert with just a few short flashbacks, but trying to give both stories equal footing here takes more away from things than necessary.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that isn’t as powerful as one might expect. Fonda does a fine job in the lead role and the way that he leads his squad comes across quite realistically. The film tries too hard to mix both a war story with a love story and the way that the film jumps back and forth doesn’t work well enough to mesh both of these themes together properly.  Mitchell is great as the leader of this platoon and allows us to gain some real wisdom as to how things should be done in these kind of situations.  The scenes in the desert work much better than the ones prior to the war.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to TCM’s Robert Osborne, this was the last film Henry Fonda worked on before enlisting in the U.S. Navy for World War II. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)


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