The Long Gray Line

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The Long Gray Line is a 1955 film about an Irish immigrant who is hired as a civilian employee at West Point where, during a 50-year career, he rises to the rank of NCO and instructor.

Directed by John Ford. Written by Edward Hope, based on the 1951 novel Bringing Up The Brass: My 55 Years at West Point by Martin Maher.
Warms Your Heart! STIRS YOUR BLOOD! and fires your imagination!
Everything that I treasure in my heart, living or dead, is at West Point. I wouldn't know where else to go. ~Martin Maher
Who do you think is leadin' our men in battle? And I mean, leadin 'em? Standing out there under fire, saying, "Follow me!" Where else would the West Pointers be when there's dying to be done?! And who's making the plans, directing the war? Eisenhower, let us say! Douglas MacArthur, Joe Stilwell, Omar Bradley and Georgie Patton. You think generals like that just happen? They do not. They're made. They're made, Mr. Alderman or Tax Collector! They're made right here at West Point! ~Martin Maher

Master Sergeant Martin "Marty" Maher[edit]

  • So, you see, sir, it's been my whole life. Everything that I treasure in my heart, living or dead, is at West Point. I wouldn't know where else to go.

Opening Credits Title[edit]

  • The United States Military Academy at West Point is 153 years old. This is the true story of an enlisted man who was there for 50 of those years. His name is Marty Maher.

Dialogue[edit]

Martin Maher: What is this place? Is it maybe a prison, or is it a looney house?
Cpl. Rudolph Heinz: This is the United States Military Academy.
Martin Maher: [glances around] What a fine ruin it would make!

Jim O'Carberry: This is Marty Maher. Whitey Larson.
Martin Maher: How do you do, sir?
Jim O'Carberry: If you have any trouble with horses, drop around and see Marty.
Whitey Larson: But he's in the infantry!
Jim O'Carberry: Well naturally! He knows horses. You don't think they'd put him in the cavalry, do ya?

President of the United States: Good to see you, Marty. What's this all about?
LTG Charles Dotson: Marty says his business is pretty urgent, Mr. President.
Martin Maher: Urgent, sir? It couldn't be more urgent. They've been counting their fingers, sir, and they find I'm over 70. They want to retire me! After fifty years, the ungrateful... So I got Chuck- I mean General Dotson to fix it for me to see you, sir.
LTG Charles Dotson: Fifty years in the Army is a long time, Marty.
Martin Maher: It is, sir, but then again it isn't, sir. It took me 30 or 40 years just to get the hang of it, you know. And now that everything is goin' smooth, it'd be throwin' away my trainin', a waste of the taxpayers' money, sir. [Starts to light his pipe, but stops.]
President: Go ahead and smoke your pipe, Marty. I'd hardly know you without it.
Martin Maher: Thank you, sir. You know, sir, we Mahers take our own time about gettin' old. Oh, over 70 I may be, and I wear glasses for fine print these days, and maybe I have put on a pound or two here or there. But I tell you, sir, I'm in better shape now than I was that mornin' fifty years ago, when I rode that milk train up the Hudson, not knowin' what I was gettin' myself into. I walked up that hill, a young lad, fresh off the boat...

State Governor: You work here, Pops?
Martin Maher: I do, sir.
State Governor: Did it ever occur to you as an American citizen with a vote that a place can be so overgrown with tradition that it loses touch with reality?
Martin Maher: Uh, how was that again, sir?
State Governor: I'm talking about tradition! Why, those same silly uniforms have been worn for over a hundred years! Now it's time for more realism here and less tradition! Why, man, we're at war! Our boys are dying in battle!
Martin Maher: Pardon me, sir, but how old are you?
State Governor: Why, 42. I'm the youngest governor in the United States.
Martin Maher: Oh, you don't say, sir.
State Governor: I do.
Martin Maher: Youngest... who do you think is leadin' our men in battle? And I mean, leadin 'em? Standing out there under fire, saying, "Follow me!" Where else would the West Pointers be when there's dying to be done?! And who's making the plans, directing the war? Eisenhower, let us say! Douglas MacArthur, Joe Stilwell, Omar Bradley and Georgie Patton. You think generals like that just happen? They do not. They're made. They're made, Mr. Alderman or Tax Collector! They're made right here at West Point!
State Governor: [Taking out a notepad] What's your name?
Martin Maher: Martin Maher, sir. [Calling after the Governor as he leaves] And you'll find the name in the book! [Taking a moment to compose himself, Maher looks up at the plaque honoring Lt. Col. Herman J. Koehler.] There's no use glarin' at me like that, Colonel, darlin'. You'd have said the same thing yourself.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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