The Strange One
Primarily remembered today as offering Ben Gazzara his film debut, The Strange One is a middling 1957 drama that is never quite as important as it would like to imagine itself to be.
Based on Calder Willingham’s novel and play "End as a Man," the film repeatedly aims for psychologically emotional goals, but only occasionally hits the mark.
Set in a military college in the Deep South that bears more than a passing resemblance to The Citadel, the film offers Gazarra as a conspicuously mature cadet sergeant (the actor was 27 when the film was shot) with the unlikely moniker Jocko DeParis.
Jocko is obsessed with bringing down George Avery, the son of one of the school’s top ranking officers.
Working with a sycophantic classmate and two unwilling freshman, Jocko manages to get Avery expelled under the phony charge of drunkenness. The remainder of the film is basically a morality tale where the cadets of the college slowly band together to bring revenge on Jocko.
"The Strange One" has its roots as an Actor’s Studio project, and that shows with the overly intensive Method acting brought by the cast.
Nobody in the film behaves or speaks like a real person - the angst and tumult experienced throughout each scene resonates with overkill that may have appealed to Lee Strasberg but would baffle everyone else.