The Strange One

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The Strange One
Directed by Jack Garfein
Produced by Sam Spiegel
Written by Calder Willingham
Starring Ben Gazzara
Pat Hingle
George Peppard
Music by Kenyon Hopkins
Cinematography Burnett Guffey
Edited by Sidney Katz
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 12, 1957 (1957-04-12)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Strange One is a 1957 black-and-white film about students faced with an ethical dilemma in a military college in the Southern United States. The film is adapted from a novel and stage play by Calder Willingham called End as a Man, and the film is sometimes referred to by that name.

The cast includes Ben Gazzara, George Peppard, Pat Hingle, Geoffrey Horne, James Olson, and Larry Gates, some of them members of the original cast of the stage version. The film was produced by Sam Spiegel, directed by Herb Gardner and Jack Garfein and is noteworthy due to the entire acting and technical staff being from the Actors Studio of New York City.

The film focuses on the dehumanization associated with the tradition of hazing within the college and is noteworthy for its portrayal of homoerotic themes – and at least one homosexual character – at a time when the Hays Code prohibited such expression.


Cadet Staff Sergeant Jocko De Paris is a senior at the fictional Southern Military College. Using the authority of his own rank, his father's connections with the school, and the college's tradition of allowing upperclassmen to bully new cadets, De Paris effectively does what he pleases. Everyone at the school is either afraid of him or believes he is a normal or even exemplary cadet.

One night, he frames George Avery, the son of a staff member, making it appear that he got drunk and fell unconscious on the quadrangle all by himself. Cadet Avery is expelled, and De Paris sees to it that every cadet who took part in the incident lies during the investigation to conceal his own involvement. Two freshmen, along with the roommates of De Paris and the regimental commander, eventually decide to end De Paris' manipulation of them and the school. By the time De Paris is cornered in a restaurant in the nearby town, a great many cadets have banded together against him.

Laurie Corger, the regimental commander, orders him to sign a statement confessing to engineering Avery's expulsion and going to great lengths to conceal the truth from investigators. Initially reacting with smug confidence and indignant anger at being accused, De Paris finally folds and signs the statement, asking that he be allowed to leave quietly. The cadets then take him away from the restaurant and start dragging an increasingly frantic and blindfolded De Paris towards a railroad track. Instead of throwing him in front of the approaching train as he expects, they put him on board once it stops. As the train begins to move again, De Paris, having now removed his blindfold to see what is happening, runs to the rearmost car and rails at the watching cadets, shouting furiously, "I'll be back! I'll get you guys! You can't do this to Jocko De Paris!"


Ben Gazzara ... Cadet Sgt. Jocko De Paris
Pat Hingle ... Cadet Harold Koble
Peter Mark Richman ... Cadet Col. Laurie Corger
Arthur Storch ... Cadet Simmons
Paul E. Richards ... Cadet Perrin "Cockroach" McKee
Larry Gates ... Maj. George Avery Sr.
Clifton James ... Col. M.N. Ramsey
Geoffrey Horne ... Cadet George Avery Jr.
James Olson ... Cadet Roger Gatt
Julie Wilson ... Peonie aka "Rosebud"
George Peppard ... Cadet Robert Marquales

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