Frank Sinatra told the director to give the newcomer a break. John Sturges (The Great Escape) obliged, providing favorable camera angles for Sinatra's young co-star. In his first big-budget film, Steve McQueen was ready to grab the movie world's attention. McQueen plays Bill Ringa, one of the O.S.S. combatants harassing the enemy in World War II Burma. Sinatra is Capt. Tom Reynolds, leading the guerilla fighters and risking court martial while doing so. Also among Never So Few's many are Charles Bronson, Peter Lawford and, in her first Hollywood film, Gina Lollobrigida. About McQueen, the New York Herald Tribune's reviewer wrote: "He possesses that combination of smooth-rough charm that suggests star possibilities." A star is born in Never So Few.
Frank Sinatra stars as Capt. Tom Reynolds, a charismatic guerrilla fighter who heads a combined British and American force assigned to repel Japanese invaders in Burma during World War II while training the Kachin natives in his style of warfare. During quieter moments, he finds time to romance Carla Vesari (Gina Lollabrigida), the voluptuous paramour of enigmatic local businessman Nikko Regas (Paul Henreid). Dispensing with the niceties of seduction, Reynolds explains to his conquest, "I kissed you, you kissed me back. I got the message." Although ordered to remain in Burma, Reynolds gets annoyed when his Kachin friends are attacked by Chinese nationalists commanded by Chiang Kai-shek. Defying orders, he leads his guerrilla unit over the border into China for some particularly brutal payback. As a result, he will have to deal with legal retribution, possibly a court-martial, upon his return. Meanwhile, Carla must decide whether to stay with Regas or leave for a new life in the U.S. with Reynolds. Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen can be seen in small roles, limbering up for a more auspicious Sturges project, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
A charismatic military leader stationed in Burma during World War II teams his British and American soldiers with native Asian troops to repel the invading Japanese army. While dodging bombs and bullets, the commander also finds time to get involved in a potentially dangerous romance.
Theatrical Release |
World War II