Movie Details

"You guys will never be soldiers!" With these words, Richard Widmark opens and closes Take the High Ground. Widmark plays tough drill sergeant Thorne Ryan, whipping his recruits through basic training in preparation for shipment to Korea. Merton Tolliver (Carleton Carpenter) is the standard-issue private who just can't seem to cut it, despite Ryan's (Widmark) relentless special attention. To prove that the behemoth sergeant has a tender side, the script contrives a romantic triangle involving Ryan, Julie Mollison (Elaine Stewart), and Sgt. Laverne Holt (Karl Malden). The film is an amalgam of rugged realism and Hollywood hokiness, with Widmark terrific as the topkick you love to hate. Filmed at Fort Bliss, TX, Take the High Ground utilizes several real-life soldiers in the drill sequences (you can recognize the real ones; they aren't afraid of Richard Widmark). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi