Take the High Ground is an absorbing study of the training that makes tough, fighting GIs out of raw civilians. It has meticulous attention to detail and authenticity of incident.
There’s the strictly general-issue top sergeant intent on making fighting men out of callow youths; the non-com who uses a softer, more the understanding good fellow, approach to the fresh recruits; the mixed-up girl whose drinking covers a great sorrow; and the assorted trainee types, brash, shy, cowardly.
In the script treatment and under Brooks’ direction, however, these standard forms take on new life and become interesting people whose careers through the plot attract the attention and hold it.
Richard Widmark comes over very strongly as the tough top sarg. Karl Malden is the understanding sergeant and he too gives the character life and feeling. Elaine Stewart is the mixed-up girl and, as the only credited femme in the cast, makes much of her part.
1953: Best Story & Screenplay