The Long Gray Line
Released – February, 1955
Directed By – John Ford
Starring – Tyrone Power (Martin ‘Marty’ Maher), Maureen O’Hara (Mary O’Donnell), Robert Francis (James N. Sundstrom, Jr.), Donald Crisp (Old Martin), Ward Bond (Capt. Herman J. Kohler).
Description – Warms your heart! Stirs your blood! Fires your imagination!
Based on the true story of Irish immigrant Marty Maher’s 50 year career at West Point. Maher’s dedicated career took him from servant to leader and teacher.
Arriving from County Tipperary, Ireland, Marty Maher reports to West Point for work as a dishwasher. His pay proves insufficient and Maher decides that enlisting would provide a better life.
A mistaken impression provides a rough start and a resulting fight gains him only a stint in the guardhouse. Upon his release, Marty finds that Capt. Kohler, although upset with the fight, believes Marty has enough boxing skill to be an instructor.
His new duties allow for Marty to meet fellow immigrant Mary O’Donnell from County Donegal. Mary works as the cook for Capt. Kohler and their meeting is love at first sight for Marty. Mary, however, refuses to speak with him following the advice of Capt. Kohler that a conversation with the headstrong Irishman would only lead to an argument.
In spite of this, Marty remains persistant. It isn’t long before they speak, they do fight, she falls for him and they marry.
This warm and sentimental human story continues with their life experiences, and their relationships formed during Marty’s long and distinguished career at West Point. The story of Marty Maher is not all smooth sailing as a cheating scandal and racial bigotry make for some rough times.
NOTABLE: Actor Harry Carey, Jr. makes a brief appearance as young cadet Dwight D. Eisenhower.
This was the last film for actor Robert Francis who would suffer an untimely death at age 25.
Location shooting was done at West Point during the summer months in order to not disrupt normal activities.