If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s you can look around at the people who grew up at the same time and know you have lots of things in common. You saw the same movies, the same TV, you at a lot of the same snack foods. This is just how generations work, what I always find interesting is that we tend to focus on ourselves so much that we can miss the fact that this has been going on since time began. If you already realized this, then what I am about to tell you will not shock you at all — if you did not realize this — hold on to your hat.
My father and your father really liked Steve McQueen.
McQueen was a man’s man and it seems the generation that birthed us, really took a shine to him. So whenever a McQueen film was on TV as a late movie or movie of the week, all scheduled program ceased and we watched Steve. The guy had charisma and I am happy I grew up watching him, but with that constant immersion it is always a surprise when their is a movie that I somehow missed, and Soldier in the Rain, which is now available through the Warner Archive, was a big miss. Why? Because in my household the other star of the movie, Jackie Gleason was equally revered. So how this team up failed to make it into our fairly rigorous McQueen-centric film education in beyond me, but it did.
Well I am happy to report that decades later I finally got to watch this gem and I am not disappointed. The film is well written (Blake Edwards co-wrote it) and really showcases the talent of these two entertainment juggernauts. Plus it has music by Henry Mancini and this amazingly fun fight scene
Here is the full summary of the movie…
His own soda pop machine. Air conditioning. The finest cotton underwear. Someone else doing the work. That’s M/Sgt. Maxwell Slaughter’s (Jackie Gleason) game – and man, can he play it. Just ask Supply Sgt. Eustis Clay (Steve McQueen), who idolizes the big, shrewd, supremely self-confident older man. Maybe someday they can go into business together. In the meantime, how about a hot double date? So Clay fixes Slaughter up with a teenybopper named Bobby Jo (Tuesday Weld), a move that sets off a chain reaction of laughs and drama.
So if you are interested and you should be, follow in the noble footsteps of our fathers and discover OR rediscover one of the rarer McQueen gems and order yourself up a copy of Solider in the Rain on DVD.