If that doesn't turn your ignition key, consider who plays the D.I.:
Yes. And people say he's just a stone-face:
As frequent visitors to the site know well, I'm a great fan of Jack Webb. Not for the Dragnet TV show, which felt somewhat inert in its day and looks absolutely glacial now. By the time the TV show was at its peak Webb had disappeared entirely behind the unmovable persona of Joe Friday, a stripped-down version of the already bone-dry character he played in the radio version. But Webb deserves admiration for the innovations of "Dragnet" - an early police-procedural noted in its time for realism - and for three other private-eye shows, "Pete Kelly's Blues," "Jeff Regan, Investigator," and the over-the-top noir-of-noirs, "Pat Novak For Hire." It was great radio, hard-boiled but never humorless. (His first radio program, "The Jack Webb Show," was a half-hour comedy.)
Here he is. Barking time, ladies:
The movie has a romantic subplot, which puts the DI in the china shop from time to time:
Odd to see him pitch woo. Not the smoothest love scene in the history of cinema.
The story concerns a Marine who screws up everything despite his obvious skills and intelligence; seems like he's bucking for a discharge. It takes a talk by his mother to get the plot where it needs to be. Here she is. Recognize her?
One of the most famous, or perhaps ubiquitous, actresses of radio, Virginia Gregg. She'd appear in 399,495 Dragnet TV shows as a woman in middle age.
Does the Marine wash out, or decide to see it through? Well, this isn't "Full Metal Jacket," and it's not the post-Nam 80s, so you tell me what you think.
Anyway, here's the cherry on the ice-cream sundae, maggots. You want to see it?
I can't hear you.
The man in the moon can't hear you.
That's better. Watch the credits. For a movie about the Marines, I'd say it makes a good bid for authenticity, right here. (The first actor was a former Marine.)
Webb, who does not give himself a credit at the end, was a crewman on a B-24 in World War 2.
He was also a drill instructor.
(Trek tie-in: Webb was a friend of Gene Roddenberry. Imagine if they'd switched genres! Kirk would have been logical and laconic; Spock would have been a fussbudgetty family man.)