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The Lost Battalion (1919)

 -  Drama | War  -  2 July 1919 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 46 users  
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A battalion of the U.S. Army's 77th Division penetrates deep into the Argonne Forest of France during the First World War. The battalion becomes surrounded and holds out for six long days, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Alexander ...
Himself (as Major General Robert Alexander)
George G. McMurtry ...
Himself (as Major George G. McMurtry)
Charles W. Whittlesey ...
Himself (as Lt. Col. Charles W. Whittlesey)
William J. Cullen ...
Himself (as Capt. William J. Cullen)
Arthur F. McKeogh ...
Himself - Adjutant to Lt. Col. Whittlesey (as Lieutenant Arthur F. McKeogh)
Augustus Kaiser ...
Himself (as Lieut. Augustus Kaiser)
Jack Hershkowitz ...
Himself (as Private Jack Hershkowitz)
Philip Cepaglia ...
Himself (as Corporal Philip Cepaglia)
Herman J. Bergasse ...
Himself (as Sergeant Herman J. Bergasse)
J.J. Munson ...
Himself (as Private J.J. Munson)
Abraham Krotoshinisky ...
Himself (as Private Abraham Krotoshinisky)
Jack McLean ...
The Kicker
Gaston Glass ...
Richard Merwin's Son
Marion Coakley ...
Nancy Brystal - Richard Merwin's Ward
Lieutenant Jordan ...
Himself - An Officer Friend
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Storyline

A battalion of the U.S. Army's 77th Division penetrates deep into the Argonne Forest of France during the First World War. The battalion becomes surrounded and holds out for six long days, awaiting reinforcement and rescue. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 July 1919 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As much as possible, the enactment of the events were made with the original people who survived. Actual maps and documents were used in the film, which was authorized by the U.S. Government. Some footage by the U.S. Signal Corps was also used in the film. See more »

Connections

Remade as The Lost Battalion (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An intriguing recreation of the famous U.S. military event in WWI.
18 February 1999 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

We're told at the start that the people who survived the actual "lost battalion" battle played themselves in this recreation, and without compensation either. The first 35 minutes introduces some of the men who formed the 77th Division, and some of the women in their lives. Included are two Chinese Americans fighting on opposite sides in a Tong war, a Jewish kid, a burglar, a thief, a wealthy merchant's son in love with his father's stenographer, etc. In short, the 77th had men from the melting pot that was America. We see them train at Camp Upton, Long Island and then finally shipped to France. The action then is riveting. Ordered to take the Argonne Forest, the American army faces formidable German resistance. By means of the actual map used by headquarters at the time and stop-action photography, we see on the map the dotted lines representing the German army facing the dotted lines representing the one-million man American army. The lines move as the push is on. Lt. Col. Charles W. Whittlesey (who plays himself) commands the left flank (the 77th division), which rapidly advances and breaks through the German lines into German-held territory, and winds up in "The Pocket" surrounded by the Germans. Cut off from headquarters without food and water for 123 hours, and nicknamed "The Lost Battalion," the men settle into a siege of dauntless defense. 34 runners to headquarters are killed; their only hope to contact headquarters is by means of a carrier pigeon called Cher Ami.

I thoroughly enjoyed the use of the map to detail the action, which made everything crystal clear. Modern films involving battles should use the technique to avoid the confusion so often present. The U.S. Government sanctioned this film and some footage shot by the U.S. Signal Corps was used in the film. The film also tells us that the drawings used on the title cards were by Lt. Augustus Kaiser (also in the film) and some of them were made while under siege in The Pocket. There was some comic relief even in the heat of battle. When a gun jams, the title card reads "The guy who invented this gun ought to be pinched for aiding the enemy." I also enjoyed seeing Tammany Young, the only actor in the film I recognized from films he made in the 30's.


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