Random Film of the Week: Soldier in the Rain

(thanks, Mind Hunger!) 

Steve McQueen may have been the “King of Cool” in his prime, but if his performance in 1963’s Soldier in the Rain is any indication, he was also a pretty lousy comedian. On the other hand, the film is all Jackie Gleason’s, and he makes it well worth viewing. The film is one of those interesting comedy/drama hybrids that tends to lean too far into either direction when a more subtle middle ground would have worked better. Despite the flaws, this Blake Edwards-produced film has enough laughs and some fine performances throughout. McQueen plays Eustis Clay as a goofball caricature who’s great at whipping up scams that never net him the fortunes he dreams about. Gleason’s Master Sargent Slaughter (no relation to the 90’s TV wrestler) is a career man, heavyset and aging who humors Clay and his crazy schemes partially because they brighten his usually dull days. Continue reading