6.7/10
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9 user 14 critic

Immortal Sergeant (1943)

Approved | | Drama, War | 1943 (Argentina)
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During a WW2 patrol in the North-African desert, a Canadian corporal reminisces about his sweetheart and must lead his platoon when the sergeant gets wounded.

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

Lamar Trotti, John Brophy (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Henry Fonda ... Cpl. Colin Spence
Maureen O'Hara ... Valentine Lee
Thomas Mitchell ... Sgt. Kelly
Allyn Joslyn ... Cassidy
Reginald Gardiner ... Tom Benedict
Melville Cooper ... Pilcher
Bramwell Fletcher ... Symes
Morton Lowry ... Cottrell
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Storyline

Out on patrol in the war-time desert a Canadian corporal reminisces about the woman he has left behind in London and ponders whether she will fall for the charms of his rival in love. At the same time he worries about how he would get on with his outfit if his crack sergeant was not there to guide him. Circumstances combine to give answers to both questions. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Many heroic stories will come out of this war ... but there will never be a greater one than this !

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1943 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

El sargento inmortal See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

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. See more »

Goofs

When the survivors come across the vehicle tracks after the attack on the Italian armoured car, multiple shadows of the soldiers can be seen, indicating multiple light sources. See more »

Quotes

Valentine Lee: I feel guilty being here
Cpl. Colin Spence: Why don't you like the water?
Valentine Lee: Ooh, I love it, but I should be working.
Cpl. Colin Spence: Oh it too hot to work beside this is my first leave you owe it to me.
Valentine Lee: [laughs] I broken an engagement to be with you, you know
Cpl. Colin Spence: Tom?
[She nods]
Cpl. Colin Spence: Does he know your not going to be there?
See more »

Connections

Edited into All This and World War II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

There Will Never Be Another You
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Benedict and Valentine are dancing at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I liked this film more than my wife and Henry Fonda did.
19 September 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Immortal Sergeant" was apparently not one of Henry Fonda's favorite film roles. I am not sure why "The Big Street" wasn't his least favorite (it was god-awful, believe me) but he disliked it. And, I might add, my wife wasn't super-fond a this film as we watched it. However, I really thought it was pretty good...though I do wonder if the main character played by Fonda might have been schizophrenic--that's because throughout the film he keeps hearing the voice of his sergeant--even though the guy is dead!

The film is a WWII propaganda film. Because of this, it's main thrust is NOT realism but to bolster folks' support of the war effort. I cut the film a bit of slack, as it was 1943 and keeping up morale was a major concern. What I didn't like was the casting of Fonda, as he was supposed to be a Brit--and seemed about as British as John Wayne or Hattie McDaniel! In this sense, I could see why he didn't like playing this role--but the plot is pretty good and more than makes up for this.

The sergeant in the title is played by Thomas Mitchell--and he's very good in this role. This guy is a career soldier and seems indestructible to his men--and he is adored by them. However, although he seems to have all the answers, his corporal (Fonda) seems quite different--unsure of himself and not at all the soldier Mitchell is. But, when the sergeant is killed and Fonda is left in charge of a small group of men in the North African desert, he's given a chance to show his mettle.

In many ways, this film is a lot like the film "Sahara"--though "Sahara" is a much more enjoyable (and less realistic) film. Both are set in the same locale and are about a small group of soldiers overcoming greater numbers of enemy soldiers. But the casting and script just weren't quite as good here--though the film STILL is enjoyable and did what the studio wanted it to do. I also appreciate how the men in this film were NOT indestructible--many died even though you KNEW how it all had to end. Not brilliant but quite entertaining.


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