The D.I.

The D.I. (1957) is a black-and-white military drama film starring, produced and directed by Jack Webb.[2] The film was produced by Jack Webb's production company Mark VII Limited and distributed by Warner Bros.[3]

The D.I.
Directed byJack Webb
Produced byJack Webb
Written byJames Lee Barrett
StarringJack Webb
Jackie Loughery
Don Dubbins
Lin McCarthy
Monica Lewis
Music byDavid Buttolph
CinematographyEdward Colman
Edited byRobert M. Leeds
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 5, 1957 (1957-05-05)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.5 million (US)[1]

Webb's co-star is his future wife Jackie Loughery, a former Miss USA.

The film was the first screenplay by screenwriter James Lee Barrett and was based on his teleplay The Murder of a Sand Flea.[4] Barrett had been on Parris Island as a Marine recruit in 1950.[5][6]


Technical Sergeant[7] Jim Moore (Webb), a no-nonsense Drill Instructor on Parris Island, has a thorn in his side in the person of Private Owens (Don Dubbins), who seemingly has what it takes to be a Marine, but inexplicably caves in when the pressure is on. Convinced he can make Owens into a Marine, Moore pushes Owens harder, but Owens continues to falter and very nearly deserts.

After a discussion with Moore and his commander Captain Anderson (Lin McCarthy), during which Owens reveals that he had two older brothers, both Marines killed in action in Korea, Anderson is ready to discharge Owens, but an unannounced visit from Owens' mother (Virginia Gregg) further reveals that Owens' father was also a Marine, lost during the invasion of the Marshall Islands in WWII; she admits she made the mistake of coddling her only remaining son and begs Anderson not to discharge him saying that he will never amount to anything if he doesn't make the grade. She tells Moore that her son can handle whatever he can dish out and to keep on him. Anderson later tears up Private Owens' discharge papers, and Owens is well on his way to becoming a Marine.

Barrett's screenplay expanded the story by introducing subplots of Moore having a romance with a local shop girl (played by Webb's future wife Jackie Loughery) and having Owens' mother (Virginia Gregg) make a trip to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to beg the Corps to keep her son in order to make a man out of him.


Following the Ribbon Creek incident that took place at Parris Island on the night of April 8, 1956, the Marine Corps was deluged for requests from various producers to make films exploiting the incident. Unlike many producers seeking to make exploitation films about Marine Corps brutality, Jack Webb based his treatment on a teleplay by former Marine James Lee Barrett The Murder of a Sand Flea broadcast on the Kraft Television Theatre on 10 October 1956[8] with Lin McCarthy repeating his role. As the screenplay made no mention of the incident of Ribbon Creek and gave a positive view of the Marine Corps, the Marines enthusiastically cooperated with Webb providing many technical advisers and actual Marines [9] to appear in the film as Marines.[10] Portions of the film were shot at Camp Pendleton, California. The film premiered at Parris Island in May 1957 and was shown during the training of Marine Corps Drill Instructors; as Webb's Drill Instructor neither used profanity or physically struck his recruits.[11] Singer Monica Lewis provided a musical interlude, performing the provocative song "(If'n You Don't) Somebody Else Will," backed by the Ray Conniff orchestra and chorus, which was released as a single by Columbia Records.

See also


  1. "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30
  2. "The D.I." The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  3. "The D.I." TCM. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  4. My Name's Friday (1957). Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  6. We...the Marines: [1] Anonymous. Leatherneck Quantico Vol. 53, Iss. 10, (Oct 1970): 72-75.
  8. IMDb
  9. Alvarez, Eugene (2007). Parris Island: Once a Recruit, Always a Marine. Charleston, SC: The History Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-59629-292-5.
  10. Stevens, John C. (2007). Court-Martial at Parris Island: The Ribbon Creek Incident. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. p. 64. ISBN 1-55750-814-3.
  11. Smith, Larry (2007). The Few and the Proud: Marine Corps Drill Instructors in Their Own Words. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-32992-6.
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