Sergeants 3 (1962)

 


 

They’re the Wildest Characters in All the West!

Sergeants 3 was the last film to feature all five members of the “Rat Pack”.

Set in Indian Territory, in 1870. Mike (Frank Sinatra), Chip (Dean Martin), and Larry (Peter Lawford) are three buddies who are sergeants in the U. S. Cavalry.

Larry’s time in the army is nearly up, and he is determined to leave and marry the beautiful Amelia. Mike and Chip are equally determined to prevent him from leaving. The three cronies befriend a former slave, Jonah Williams (Sammy Davis Jr), who dreams of someday joining the army.

A tribe of Indians begins terrorizing the region, and Chip decides to attempt to capture of their leader. Chip and Jonah sneak into the Indians’ secret meeting place but are discovered, and Chip is taken prisoner. Jonah, however, escapes and races back to tell Mike and Larry.

Larry decides to rescue Chip, but first Mike makes him sign a reenlistment paper “just to make his help official”. Mike promises to destroy the paper after the mission. Mike, Larry, and Jonah make their way to the Indian camp, but end up as prisoners.

The Cavalry is riding into a trap where a thousand warriors are waiting to ambush them, but Jonah blows the regiment’s favorite tune on his trumpet as a warning. The battle ends in victory for the Cavalry, the three buddies are decorated, and Jonah is made a trooper.

Afterwards, thinking he is discharged, Larry drives off in a buggy with Amelia. But Mike shows the commanding officer the signed reenlistment paper, so Larry will be forced to serve another hitch with Mike and Chip.

Genre: Comedy,Western

Sergeants 3 (1962)
Release Date:10 February 1962 (USA)
Country:USA
Director:John Sturges
Cast:
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Dean Martin
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Peter Lawford
  • Joey Bishop
  • Henry Silva
  • Ruta Lee
  • Buddy Lester
  • Phillip Crosby
  • Dennis Crosby
  • Lindsay Crosby
  • Hank Henry
  • Dick Simmons
  • Michael Pate
  • Armand Alzamora

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15 Responses to Sergeants 3 (1962)

  1. daynlarz

    Sargents 3 and other "Rat Pack" movies along with some of Frank Sinatra’s movies (The Man with the Golden Arm, etc.) are available at Wal Mart in a special section. You have to look for it; found the one in ours by accident.

  2. artistatrest

    I am confused as to why all of you think this is so great. I really could not watch Sergeant’s 3.

    Talk about the RAT PACK phoning it in. These guys are just going thru the motions. i am not sure what they problem is. Maybe they were tired of acting like idiots.

    On the other hand, Ocean’s Eleven is a masterpiece and I like it better than the Clooney remake.

    But Sergeants 3 is just terrible. I tried to watch these 45-50 year old men acting like 25 year old frat guys. Ridiculous.

    The mystique was only there in Ocean’s Eleven and when they appeared in Las Vegas. Seeing those guys together now brings back such memories of JFK, Dick Van Dyke Show and Andy Griffith among other naive and innocent offerings.

    I was a young teen when all this was going on. and I admit they were pretty popular then because of the President.

    But seeing it now, I don’t have the same reaction.

  3. artistatrest

    Why do they pretend to tear up Lawford’s re-enlistments papers, let him drive off and then say arrest that man he is a deserter?

    don’t get it.

  4. teaandoranges

    I caught the end of this great movie yesterday on TCM hopefully they will show it again soon. I agree with another poster that the rat pack had great chemistry. Dean Martin and Peter Lawford were soooo handsome in this movie. The only sour note was Ruta Lee, it would have been so much better with Angie Dickinson. Anyway glad this movie is back on TCM this month.

    When you buy a dog you buy a small tragedy.

  5. tdoolaard

    Maybe I missed it but why hasn’t there been a remake of this movie.

    Of all the cr*p that’s been redone you’d think this one would be a candidate.

  6. wtl471629

    It is a great movie so don’t miss it. Enjoy it as entertainment and not as political satire. Also please double check your tv guide for the time in your area. Sammy davis, Jr. is hilarious in this one and his acting is great.

  7. ecarle

    In his prime, Frank Sinatra was a pretty powerful guy.

    So powerful that, for quite some time, he pulled three of his movies out of TV distribution: "Suddenly" (in which Frank played a psycho gangster assassin out to kill Harry Truman); "The Manchurian Candidate" (in which Frank played a man out to stop an assassination that was just too close to the JFK killing a year later), and "Sergeants Three."

    "Suddenly," and "The Manchurian Candidate" were pulled out of sensitivity over the JFK killing.

    "Sergeants Three" seems to have been pulled because it eventually became WAAAAYYY politically incorrect: it was a remake of "Gunga Din" in which Sammy Davis Jr. played the servile and childish Din character as an "American Negro" and in which American Indians were substituted for the bloodthirsty Hindu Indian Thuggees of the original.

    "Suddenly" and "Manchurian Candidate" eventually were cleared for distribution, years ago. But "Sergeants Three" was left to rot.

    Until recently. It has been re-released on DVD. (Its extremely offensive trailer, hosted by Henry Silva as a drunken Indian, has not.)

    It is a pretty crucial "Rat Pack Movie."

    For there are only really TWO "Rat Pack Movies" in which all five of them appear together: "Ocean’s Eleven" (1960) and "Sergeant’s Three" (1962.) In those two and only those two, you get Frank, and Dino, and Sammy, and Peter, and Joey.

    Peter Lawford would be banished after "Sergeant’s Three" for being the messenger that his brother-in-law JFK would not be staying at Frank’s Palm Springs house. Joey would just sort of phase out.

    There would be one more "Rat Pack Movie" with the Big Three: Frank, Dino, and Sammy in "Robin and the 7 Hoods" (with Bing Crosby added for vocal power and Peter Falk doing a kind of flashier Joey Bishop.) Frank and Dean alone would fake a Rat Pack movie ("4 for Texas" — you digging all the craps references in these titles?) and make one more bomb (How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life) before ending the Rat Pack mystique for almost good (less a failed 1988 concert tour from which Dino dropped out early.)

    Which brings us back to "Sergeant’s Three." Whereas "Ocean’s Eleven" and "Robin and the 7 Hoods" have been in perpetual cable channel rotation for many years, "Sergeants Three" has been MIA for around 40 years. It used to play on the NBC-TV Saturday Night Movie in the sixties, but no more.

    Seeing it recently, "Sergeant’s Three" to me looked like a very peculiar, very strange movie. Hard to explain it, really.

    It was directed by John Sturges, in between "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Great Escape," so it is a very professional movie, with sweeping wide-screen vistas of the Utah desert and peaks and a surprisingly serious air a lot of the time.

    These things were most noticable:

    – The total absence of any singing by the boys (In "Oceans," Dino and Sammy sing, though Frank does not; in "Robin" EVERYBODY sings).

    – A musical credit theme of rather drab, quaint Western seriousness (this from the director of "The Magnificent Seven")

    – But above all, a very strange SLOWNESS and quietude. Scene after scene unfolds a ridiculously leisurely pace, with the men waiting a long time between lines, scenes going on and on and on, and deeply serious stares being exchange between and among our Rat Packers. Its kind of "Ingmar Bergman does Vegas."

    "Gunga Din" is followed religiously, scene by scene, but the transplant to the American West doesn’t quite play, and key scenes from "Gunga" are poorly restaged by Sturges (perhaps because Sinatra wouldn’t cooperate for more studied takes.)

    As for the "politically incorrect" material. It is there. But Sammy Davis always had great self-mocking authority, and he manages to keep his Gunga Din ("Jonah") cool beyond his surface servitude. The Indians are generally not played by Indians (two "Ocean’s" guys…Henry Silva and tough guy Buddy Lester are among them), and are indeed, straight villains, but…well, Marlon Brando took care of THAT.

    If any kudos are worth offering to "Sergeants Three" it would be in the area of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra looking great together in this movie and playing beautifully well off of each other. They are "slumming" here, but each man was a far better actor than they got credit for. From "Gunga Din," Dean Martin’s got the Cary Grant part, and Sinatra has the Victor McLaglen part, but the pairing is really more like Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart together. Martin plays for the funny, and Sinatra plays for the serious, and it WORKS.

    Martin in particular knew his way around a breezy comic attitude. There is one extremely overlong verbal scene between Sinatra and Dino that ends with Dino challening Frank to a fistfight, Frank hitting him in the jaw, and Dino waiting about three seconds to fling himself back from the blow. It’s Three Stooges stuff, but it works. Cuz of Dino (in real life, Dino was an ex-boxer who would have cleaned Frank’s clock.)

    Dino and Frank also rather graciously play a long, long, long scene centered on Junior Rat Packer Joey Bishop, as the two cool guys drink Joey’s martinet Army staff officer into a stupor. Its another weird scene, but Joey gets his due.

    The particular weirdness of seeing "Sergeants Three" for the first time since my childhood decades ago hasn’t quite worn off several days after I did. (I recall seeing it as a child at the theater with my grandfather, who died only about a week later. The movie and the man are joined in my mind. Its the last thing my family really did with him, seeing that movie. He wasn’t well, he enjoyed the movie.)

    "Sergeant’s Three" is a "lost movie" of no real value or power beyond showing us "how it used to be at the movies."

    Still, I’m glad I got to see it again, and it is undeniably true: Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin WERE big stars, great to look at in their prime and even better to listen to — even if they rather egregiously threw their star power away in too many of their movies, together and apart.

    P.S. Funny how Dean Martin ended his partnership with Jerry Lewis just in time to begin a more informal one with Frank Sinatra. It began with the fine drama "Some Came Running" — for which Martin had to campaign to BE in a movie with the bigger-at-the-time Sinatra — and puttered on through the Rat Pack specials. Still Dean and Frank were a much cooler duo than Dean and Jerry. And Dino is the best thing in all the Rat Pack movies, the coolest, the cutest, the most committed to acting and entertaining.

  8. llloid95675

    Is anybody up for a trip to Utah? here is a link to a western festival to celebrate the ‘Gunsmoke’ series. One of the events is a theater screening of Sergeants 3. It seems that the movie was made in this town, along with shooting for Gunsmoke. charles https://secure.areatravel.net/westernlegendsroundup/tickets2.asp

  9. mfan0825

    This is a remake of Cary Grant’s excellent film "Gunga Din" and I was wondering. Was he Cary Grant’s character? or was it Frank?

  10. wtl471629

    This is a very funny movie worth seeing. Please be sure to double check your tv guide for the time in your area.

  11. nelson95

    This is the only Rat Pack movie I’ve never seen on TV–either commercial or cable–or in video. Does anybody out there happen to know why it’s never appeared on either?

  12. JohnnyWeissmuller

    Yes, that’s right… Warner Bros. will finally releases Sargeants 3 as part of a new Rat Pack box set which will hit shelves on May 13th. Included is all four Rat Pack adventures, namely Ocean’s 11, Robin and the 7 Hoods, Sargeants 3 and 4 For Texas.

    NOW TARZAN MAKE WAR!

  13. Kcrpg400

    The 3 Sergeants are missing in action and have been for years.It’s a shame that they aren’t on DVD yet. I saw this John Sturges film when it first came out in movie theaters back in 1962 and I rembember it being very entertaining. Reading 12Charlie comments it seems to be a victim of "copyright infringements from the folk behind Gunga Din." I concour with him that it should be released ASAP. I always liked the chemistry that the Rat Pack had and the sooner this blast from the past is avaiable the better.Jerry Connolly [email protected]

  14. justify73

    I know a source where you can get Sergeants 3 on DVD. Send me a private message if you want it.

  15. moviesvideoman

    I actually obtained recently a great copy of this film as well.

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