All the Young Men

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All the Young Men
All the Young Men 1960 poster.jpg
1960 theatrical poster
Directed byHall Bartlett
Produced byHall Bartlett
Alan Ladd
Written byHall Bartlett
StarringAlan Ladd
Sidney Poitier
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyDaniel L. Fapp
Edited byAl Clark
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 26, 1960 (1960-08-26)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budgetover $1 million[1]
Box office$2,000,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

All the Young Men is a 1960 Korean War feature film directed by Hall Bartlett and starring Alan Ladd and Sidney Poitier dealing with desegregation in the United States Marine Corps. Poitier plays a sergeant unexpectedly placed in command of the survivors of a platoon in the Korean War. The film explores the racial integration of the American military, centering on the African-American sergeant's struggle to win the trust and respect of the men in his unit.[3]


When a lieutenant is mortally wounded in a winter ambush that decimates his platoon, he passes command to the highest ranking survivor, Sergeant Towler (Sidney Poitier). However, with the exception of African-American Towler, all of the men left alive are white. Towler feels Private Kincaid (Alan Ladd), an ex-sergeant with eleven years experience (demoted for doing things his way), is better suited for command, but the lieutenant orders him to take charge and complete their vital mission: to take and hold a farmhouse strategically positioned in a mountain pass for the advance of their battalion. After the lieutenant dies, Southerner Private Bracken (Paul Richards) initially refuses to take orders from Towler, but Towler forces him, at gunpoint, to back down.

With their radio not working, Towler leads ten healthy survivors and a badly wounded Private Casey on a stretcher to their objective. As they warily approach the farmhouse, one soldier spots someone inside and throws a grenade, which wounds a Korean woman. The only other occupants are her young son and her adult, part-French daughter Maya. Kincaid and some of the others want to leave before the enemy attacks, but Towler keeps them there.

They repel an attack later that night. Hunter, a Navajo, volunteers to scout the area in place of Towler. They agree on a password. Hunter is captured, but despite being hit repeatedly, refuses to say the password when he is forced toward the outpost manned by Towler and Kincaid. After his challenges are not answered, Towler fires, striking Hunter and some enemy soldiers. After the enemy is repelled, Hunter gives the password. Towler and Kincaid find him; he talks to Towler before dying.

Bracken tries to force himself on Maya. Her scream brings Towler, but Bracken ignores Towler's order to leave and strikes him. Towler knocks him down, but Bracken remains defiant.

Lazitech, manning the outpost, is the next casualty. At his own request, Casey is carried to a gunport to fight; he dies in the next assault. Towler and Kincaid start brawling when Towler catches Kincaid slacking off afterward, but they break off when they hear a tank approaching. After driving off the accompanying infantrymen with a machine gun, Towler and Kinkaid use kerosene and torches to set the tank on fire. When a tank man opens the hatch, Kinkaid tosses in a grenade. The tank runs over his leg when he jumps off; Corpsman Wade has to amputate it, but the only man who has the right type blood for a transfusion is Towler. The operation is a success, despite Wade's lack of training.

When a column of tanks is spotted, Towler sends his men and the civilians up the pass, while he goes back and carries Kinkaid to the outpost. Fortunately, friendly aircraft appear and bombard the enemy infantry as they advance, signalling the approach of the battalion.



Hall Bartlett designed a film as a vehicle for Sidney Poitier, based on the integration of the military in the Korean War. Bartlett came up with the original story with Gene Coon and wrote the script himself. He aimed to make the film independently, though the exact start date was going to be dependent on Poitier's success in A Raisin in the Sun.[4]

Columbia Pictures agreed to finance on the proviso that Bartlett rewrite the script for a white co-star. Bartlett found the only major star willing to do the movie was Alan Ladd who co-produced the film.[5][6] Bartlett:

I could have done it [the film] on a shoestring in some canyon in the Hollywood Hills, but I felt that now is the time for me to prove myself with a picture in the million-plus category. I realized that I could not stay in my ivory tower forever, making nice, small, critically praised films. You don't go very far here if you're not successful when the right time comes.[1]

The film features an unusual cast who works well together. In addition to Ladd and Poitier, the cast includes comedian Mort Sahl, who does a comedy routine,[7] James Darren who sings the title song (he was meant to sing three songs in all[8]) and boxer Ingemar Johansson in his American film debut. Bartlett cast his Argentine wife Ana María Lynch/Ana St. Clair as a French Korean,[9] Mario Alcalde as an American Indian, Hollywood born Paul Richards as a bigoted Southerner, and local Blackfoot Indians as North Koreans.[5]

"I just play myself," said Johansson.[10]

All the Young Men was filmed in Glacier National Park in Montana and Mount Hood, Oregon.[11] Poitier's commitment to make the film meant he had to leave the run of A Raisin in the Sun early.[12]

Columbia planned two separate advertising campaigns for the film to white and black audiences.[13] Columbia also used Quentin Reynolds to promote the film in advertising campaigns. A paperback novelisation of the film was written by Marvin Albert.[14]

The Marine Corps provided Lieutenant Colonel Clement J. Stadler, who had been awarded the Navy Cross[15] in World War II as a technical advisor; a function he also performed in Hell to Eternity, The Outsider, Ambush Bay and The Lieutenant television series. The United States Marine Corps had disbanded separate black Marine units and bases since 18 November 1949.[16]


Bosley Crowther, critic for The New York Times, wrote, "Racial integration in the United States Marines is sluggishly celebrated in a variation on a well-used Western plot in the picture that opened at the Forum yesterday."[17]


  1. ^ a b McDonald, Thomas (October 18, 1959). "Hollywood 'Freedom' — Independent Producers Take Timely Inventory". New York Times. p. X7. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. ^ "Cinema: The New Pictures, Aug. 29, 1960". Time.
  4. ^ Pryor, Thomas M. (March 4, 1959). "Poitier Will Play Marine in Movie — Signs to Star in 'All the Young Men' — Replacement Sought for Lana Turner". New York Times. p. 34. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b pp.180-181 Goudsouzian, Aram Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor and Icon 2004 UNC Press
  6. ^ Ladd, Poitier to Co-Star in War Movie Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 06 May 1959: b3.
  7. ^ Schumach, Murray (July 7, 1959). "U.S. Legionnaires to Hear Red Issue — California Unit Will Take Resolution Criticizing Film Industry to Convention". New York Times. p. 36. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  8. ^ "ole in Warm Film to James Darren — Actor Will Join the Cast of 'All the Young Men' — 'Powder Keg' Planned". New York Times. June 19, 1959. p. 28. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  9. ^ Philip K. Scheuer (5 Oct 1959). "Writer Liberated Schulberg Claims: Creator Now Follows Through; Bartlett Imports 'Only Girl'". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Johansson Weeps in Film on Korea — Heavyweight Champion Will Mourn Death of a Buddy in 'All the Young Men'". New York Times. October 12, 1959. p. 14. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Zolotow, Sam (July 28, 1959). "Play is Canceled by Michael Ellis — Tryout of 'Intermission' by Ned Armstrong Dropped — Author Brings Charges". New York Times. p. 24. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  13. ^ Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States, Gormery, Douglas, University of Wisconsin Press, p. 166
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ African-Americans at War:An Encyclopedia, Sutherland, Jonathan, 2004 ABC-CLIO, p. 483
  17. ^ Bosley Crowther (August 27, 1960). "Screen: Korean Episode; Bias Under Fire Seen in 'All the Young Men'". The New York Times.

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