The Private War of Major Benson (1955)


Introduction

The Private War of Major Benson is 1955 comedy film starring Charlton Heston, Julie Adams, Sal Mineo and Tim Hovey, about a tough-talking US Army officer who must shape up the JROTC programme at Sheridan Academy, a Catholic boys’ military academy, or be forced out of the Army.

The movie was filmed on St. Catherine’s Military School campus in 1955, with cadets as the actors in all but the leading roles. Universal Pictures chose St. Catherine’s cadets and location for their humorous comedy about the challenges facing the new commandant of a military school by the antics of a group of grade school cadets. The picture featured a full battalion of St. Catherine’s students.

The film has not been remade, but its basic premise was done twice in the following forty years, such as Hard Knox (1984) for TV and most notably with Major Payne (1995), which was also filmed by Universal Pictures.

Outline

As a disciplinary measure, the Army transfers a heavy-handed Major to a ROTC academy where he must shape-up cadets and improve the school’s overall ratings.

Cast

  • Charlton Heston as Major Barney Benson.
  • Julie Adams as Dr. Kay Lambert.
  • William Demarest as John.
  • Tim Hovey as Cadet Tiger Flaherty.
  • Sal Mineo as Cadet Dusik.
  • Tim Considine as Cadet Hibler.
  • Nana Bryant as Mother Redempta.
  • Milburn Stone as General Ramsey.

Release

Screenwriters Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Jerry Hopper.
  • Producer(s): Howard Pine.
  • Writer(s):
    • William Roberts … (screenplay).
    • Richard Alan Simmons … (screenplay).
    • Joe Connelly … (story).
    • Bob Mosher … (story).
  • Music: William Lava, Henry Mancini, and Stanley Wilson.
  • Cinematography: Harold Lipstein.
  • Editor(s): Ted J. Kent.
  • Production:
    • Universal International Pictures.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Universal Pictures (1955) (USA) (theatrical) (as Universal-International).
    • Empire Universal Films (1955) (Canada) (theatrical).
    • General Film Distributors (GFD) (1955) (UK) (theatrical).
    • Universal Pictures Proprietary (1955) (Australia) (theatrical).
    • Société Anonyme Universal-Film (1955) (France) (theatrical).
    • Société Anonyme Universal-Film (1955) (Belgium) (theatrical).
    • Universal Film (1955) (Norway) (theatrical).
    • Universal Film (1962) (Sweden) (theatrical).
    • MCA/Universal Home Video (1997) (USA) (VHS).
    • Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) (2015) (USA) (DVD) (Universal Vault Series).
    • Tonpool Medien (2020) (Germany) (DVD).
  • Release Date: 26 July 1955 (San Sebastian Film Festival) and 02 August 1955 (New York City).
  • Running Time: 105 minutes.
  • Rating: U.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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