The Girl He Left Behind (1956)

101 or 103 mins | Comedy-drama | 10 November 1956

Director:

David Butler

Writer:

Guy Trosper

Producer:

Frank P. Rosenberg

Cinematographer:

Ted McCord

Editor:

Irene Morra

Production Designer:

Stanley Fleischer

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The title card reads: “Marion Hargrove’s The Girl He Left Behind .” Following the opening credits, a written acknowledgment reads: “To the United States Army…and its famous Fifth Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California… whose generous and effective cooperation made this motion picture possible…And to the future young soldiers of America…Greetings!” Voice-over narration, which is heard intermittently throughout the film, states, ”This is American youth, our hope and our legacy to the future.” The narrator then asks, “What are our young people like? …. How are they meeting the challenges of today? Assuming they have challenges in this golden era of prosperity and peace.”
       According to a Feb 1956 LAEx and Oct 1956 LAT news items, Warner Bros. studio head Jack Warner suggested an idea for a film about peacetime draftees to Hargrove, whose autobiography, See Here, Private Hargrove , was the source for a 1944 M-G-M film bearing the same title and its sequel, What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). After visiting Fort Ord as part of his research, Hargrove decided he wanted to write a novel about it. Although he was able to get permission to use Warner’s idea for his novel, the studio’s schedule necessitated that a second author write the screenplay. Thus Guy Trosper was hired.
       Although a HR news item adds Wanda Brown to the cast, her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Portions of the film were shot on location at Fort Ord, CA and brief footage of the Pentagon was shown.
       The MPH ... More Less

The title card reads: “Marion Hargrove’s The Girl He Left Behind .” Following the opening credits, a written acknowledgment reads: “To the United States Army…and its famous Fifth Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California… whose generous and effective cooperation made this motion picture possible…And to the future young soldiers of America…Greetings!” Voice-over narration, which is heard intermittently throughout the film, states, ”This is American youth, our hope and our legacy to the future.” The narrator then asks, “What are our young people like? …. How are they meeting the challenges of today? Assuming they have challenges in this golden era of prosperity and peace.”
       According to a Feb 1956 LAEx and Oct 1956 LAT news items, Warner Bros. studio head Jack Warner suggested an idea for a film about peacetime draftees to Hargrove, whose autobiography, See Here, Private Hargrove , was the source for a 1944 M-G-M film bearing the same title and its sequel, What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). After visiting Fort Ord as part of his research, Hargrove decided he wanted to write a novel about it. Although he was able to get permission to use Warner’s idea for his novel, the studio’s schedule necessitated that a second author write the screenplay. Thus Guy Trosper was hired.
       Although a HR news item adds Wanda Brown to the cast, her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Portions of the film were shot on location at Fort Ord, CA and brief footage of the Pentagon was shown.
       The MPH review praised the film as “a lively succession of fast-moving events depicting the training of 1956 rookies in the peacetime Army.” Taking a different point of view, the NYT review asked, ”what would happen to a draftee if he acted the way Mr. Hunter does?” and, noting the humor, described the film as “a plaything, which we desperately trust is a farce.”



More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Nov 1956.
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Oct 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
12 Nov 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1956
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1956
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1956
p. 12, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1956
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 1956
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 56
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
13 Nov 1956
sect 4, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
12 Nov 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Nov 56
p. 129.
New York Times
27 Oct 56
p. 17.
New York Times
4 Nov 1956.
---
New Yorker
10 Nov 1956.
---
Newsweek
12 Nov 1956.
---
Variety
31 Oct 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus
Orch
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Girl He Left Behind
or, All Quiet in the Third Platoon by Marion Hargrove (New York, 1956).
SONGS
"Honey-Babe," music by Max Steiner, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Marion Hargrove's The Girl He Left Behind
Release Date:
10 November 1956
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 October 1956
Production Date:
mid May--late June 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 November 1956
Copyright Number:
LP9483
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
101 or 103
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18119
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In California, college athlete Andy Sheaffer is pampered by his parents, especially his mother Madeline. Lacking ambition, he shows barely a passing interest in his studies and brags to friends that he stays in school only to avoid the draft. His attitude is in direct contrast to that of his hard-working girl friend, Susan Daniels, who is working her way through college. After Andy causes her to miss a class when he wrecks her car in an accident, Susan wonders if he will ever be mature enough to get married, as they plan, and returns his fraternity pin. Troubled by their breakup, Andy flunks one of his final examinations and loses his Army deferred status. Soon after, he is drafted. While settling into his barracks at Fort Ord, he pointedly refuses to conform to regulations, talks back to his superiors and maintains a constant attitude of sulky rebellion. Capt. Genaro and Sgts. Clyde and Hanna, his superior officers who embrace the ideals of the “new” Army, are strict and gruffly addresses the recruits, believing that discipline instills responsibility. Recognizing Andy’s problem as “acute motheritis,” Genaro has faith that the Army will help him grow up. However, Andy continues to behave disrespectfully and is lax in his duties. With the help of fellow recruit Maguire, Andy searches through little-known Army regulations in order to catch Clyde in violation and embarrass him in front of the men. Andy also fails to lock the rifle rack before inspection, which results in the entire barracks being demerited. Despite his bad attitude, Andy surprises everyone when he kicks a live grenade ... +


In California, college athlete Andy Sheaffer is pampered by his parents, especially his mother Madeline. Lacking ambition, he shows barely a passing interest in his studies and brags to friends that he stays in school only to avoid the draft. His attitude is in direct contrast to that of his hard-working girl friend, Susan Daniels, who is working her way through college. After Andy causes her to miss a class when he wrecks her car in an accident, Susan wonders if he will ever be mature enough to get married, as they plan, and returns his fraternity pin. Troubled by their breakup, Andy flunks one of his final examinations and loses his Army deferred status. Soon after, he is drafted. While settling into his barracks at Fort Ord, he pointedly refuses to conform to regulations, talks back to his superiors and maintains a constant attitude of sulky rebellion. Capt. Genaro and Sgts. Clyde and Hanna, his superior officers who embrace the ideals of the “new” Army, are strict and gruffly addresses the recruits, believing that discipline instills responsibility. Recognizing Andy’s problem as “acute motheritis,” Genaro has faith that the Army will help him grow up. However, Andy continues to behave disrespectfully and is lax in his duties. With the help of fellow recruit Maguire, Andy searches through little-known Army regulations in order to catch Clyde in violation and embarrass him in front of the men. Andy also fails to lock the rifle rack before inspection, which results in the entire barracks being demerited. Despite his bad attitude, Andy surprises everyone when he kicks a live grenade into a pit, thus saving the life of Maguire, who fumbled it during grenade practice. Although the other men praise Andy for his courage and quick thinking, he sullenly rejects all friendly overtures, saying he was thinking only of himself. Later, when trophies are given to the top riflemen in the unit, Andy receives first prize, but no one claps for him. During a special inspection for visiting VIPs, the rifle rack is again found unlocked and afterward the men in his barracks gang up on Andy. Hanson, a divorced, World War II veteran who rejoined the Army out of loneliness, breaks up the resulting fight. Sentenced to K.P. duty, Andy is given the odious task of cleaning out the kitchen’s grease trap, when Madeline decides to visit the base. Her bossy, difficult behavior causes a backup at the entrance to the camp. To avoid a scene in front of politicians and other non-military visitors, a general orders the guard to escort Madeline. When the guard and Madeline find Andy doing menial labor, she makes a fuss and complains to Congressman Hardison, who is being given a tour high-ranking officers. Fearing bad publicity, superior officers order Genaro to give Andy a weekend pass to get him out of the way until the visitors are gone. Embarrassed by the special treatment given him, Andy refuses to go home with Madeline for his furlough. Instead, he convinces Susan to meet him at the beach, ignoring her concerns that she has final examinations on Monday. There she stops him from kissing her and accuses him of wanting her without accepting responsibility for their relationship. When he admits that he does not understand her, she suggests that he must first understand himself. Later, during war maneuvers, Andy is assigned to stand guard in a tower, where he is to survey a dangerous target practice area that civilians sometimes mistake for a peaceful and secluded picnic area. Troubled by his quarrel with Susan, he fails to see two boys and a dog enter the field, just as heavy artillery is fired. Although the boys are unharmed, Genaro, feeling unable to “rehabilitate” Andy, offers him a dishonorable discharge. Despite warnings that his career opportunities will be ruined, the delighted Andy agrees to it. When Clyde later suggests that he reconsider, for the sake of his future, Andy dismisses him. Angry, Clyde offers to meet him privately to settle their differences with a fistfight and then easily beats the undisciplined Andy with a few punches. Later, finding Andy alone in the barracks, Hanson tells him about his failed marriage and recovery from alcoholism, and suggests that Andy stop being a loner. Meanwhile, high-ranking Army officials at the Pentagon, who are planning a major “exercise,” choose Andy’s regiment as the first outfit in basic training to participate in a full-scale Army-wide maneuver. In a last attempt to teach Andy responsibility, Genaro, Clyde and Hanna risk assigning him to lead a squad. Andy is ordered to have his squad choose sites for command and observation posts and then lay wires for communications. After choosing a command post site, Andy sends four of his men to the observation post on the other side of a valley. Because live shells will be dropped in the valley, Andy orders the men to walk around that area to get to the post. However, Preston, an uncooperative and belligerent private, disobeys and leads the men through the target area. When shells start dropping, the panicked men take cover in an old tank, unaware that it is the bombs’ target. Andy realizes his men are in peril and runs through the dangerous area to order them out of the tank, which a bomb hits seconds after the men clear it. Realizing that Andy saved their lives, a contrite Preston thanks him. Months later, the next influx of recruits coincides with Fort Ord’s open house day, which the Sheaffers and Susan attend. In the barracks, as Clyde looks on with amusement, Andy, now a corporal, addresses the new men with the same gruff manner used by his mentor. Watching her son shout orders during a parade, Madeline says proudly, “I knew the Army would just love Andy!”


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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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