The Sergeant and the Spy (April 5, 1954)
Released on April 5, 1954: (running time 61 minutes) A soldier stationed in Milan, Italy after WWII is sent to London with a secret paper, and encounters many humorous crises on the way.
Produced by Gene Martel
Directed by Roy Rich
Written by Sam Gilman and Irve Tunick
The Actors: Janis Carter (Gizelle Ballmar), Richard Ney (Sergeant Stanley Gilchrist), John Steinmetz (Hank), Lucian B. Garcia (Colonel Daley), Michael Fernandez (Lieutenant Pepperidge), John Friar (tailor), Barbara Balaban (little girl), Joe King (Sergeant Beaver), George Needham (customs officer), Hans Erich Pfleger (train conductor)
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Have you ever been in a fog, Stanley?
Richard Ney died in July of 2004, but his acting career died many years before, albeit by his own mouth. My dad was a Pentecostal preacher who taught that it was a sin to drink alcohol, and many devout Catholics will eat only seafood on Fridays, especially during lent. My Jewish friends will not eat pork on any day . . . all of these 'rules' imply that if I would eat or drink any of these things that I would be sinning against God Almighty. I have decided that St. Matthew had it more correctly stated when in Matthew chapter 15 verse 11 he says something to the effect that it is not what enters into one's mouth that will defile him, but rather what comes out of his mouth.
Richard Ney graduated from Columbia University as an economics major, but in 1942 for some reason he got a job in the Oscar winning movie "Mrs. Miniver" as the son of Greer Garson. After the movie this led to that and Ney married veteran actress Greer Garson, but it was alleged in the divorce proceedings four years later that he verbally abused Ms. Garson by taunting her about being so much older than him.
Even in jaded Hollywood this was enough to doom his acting career. Sure, he found parts in movies like this one, but he had a fork stuck in him . . . he was 'done.' During the long run of the Johnny Carson nightly television show there were only two people that Johnny Carson refused to bring on the show ever . . . political activist Ralph Nader and Greer Garson's ex-husband Richard Ney. He left movies a few years after this one and became a wealthy stock market guru, and one of his sons by a different wife was the guitarist Rick Dufay for the rock band Aerosmith.
In this movie Richard Ney and John Steinmetz are two 'Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis' wanna-be characters who are U.S. soldiers stationed in Milan, Italy after the end of World War II. They want to go to Paris and have fun with the girls but Richard Ney, as Sergeant Stanley Gilchrist, is assigned by he sunglass-wearing Colonel to deliver a letter to an address in London, and a week later re-visit the address and bring back whatever is given to him.
Sunglasses must have been the rage in 1954, because almost the entire cast wears sunglasses even inside buildings and on board trains. Anyway, the bag he is carrying the letter in looks like everyone else's bag and it gets switched early in the journey, and our two soldiers frantically try to find the real bag with his important letter in it. You just gotta have a pretty girl in any wacky comedy and that is handled well by Cleveland, Ohio aspiring opera singer Janis Carter. I promise you that this story was never in danger of being considered for an Oscar, but if you are in the mood for a light comedy that doesn't require a single brain cell worth of thought, pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.
Janis Carter on the train
Lucian B. Garcia
Richard Ney and George Needham
Richard Ney and Janis Carter aboard the train
Richard Ney and John Steinmetz
Richard Ney and Lucian B. Garcia
Richard Ney and Michael Fernandez
Richard Ney meets Janis Carter