For 50 years, Marty Maher (played here by Tyrone Power) served the US Army as an athletic instructor and trainer at the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.
He began in the dining halls of West Point as a civilian mess boy just off the boat from Ireland in 1903. He quickly discovered that enlisted men did not have to pay for the dishes they broke, which he had to do, and promptly joined the Army.
His admiration for Army ways and traditions grew through the years just as the love and affection for his Irish bride, Mary O’Donnell (Maureen O’Hara) grew.
Under Maher’s tough and understanding discipline, class after class of cadets – “the long gray line” – came and graduated from the Army’s famous citadel on the Hudson.
Filmed almost entirely on location at West Point, The Long Gray Line is full of vivid and striking scenes; the afternoon parades across lush green fields; June Week, the ceremony of diplomas at the Point’s monument overlooking the Hudson; the rigours of training, and the problems which develop in young men from such training.
The emphasis shifts from humour and laughter to scenes heavy with sentiment – a tearful farewell at the train station as cadets leave for overseas during World War I, and a scene in the chapel on Pearl Harbor Sunday when the news of the day is announced.
It’s all heart-warmingly told by Academy Award director John Ford.
James N. Sundstrom Jr.
Capt. Herman J. Kohler
Charles ‘Chuck’ Dotson
James Nilsson ‘Red’ Sundstrom
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Harry Carey Jr.
Abner ‘Cherub’ Overton
Cpl. Rudolph Heinz
Capt. John Pershing