A semi-documentary dramatization of five weeks in the life of Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr., from his assignment to command the U.S. naval operations in the South Pacific to the Allied victory at Guadalcanal.
We follow a band of American soldiers as they engage the Germans in a snowy, foggy winter near Bastogne in World War II. They're low on fuel, rations, and ammunition; the Germans are constantly encouraging their surrender via radio and leaflets, and most importantly, the pervasive thick fog makes movement and identification difficult and prevents their relief by Allied air support. This film focuses much more on the psychology and morale of the soldiers than on action footage and heroics. Written by
Michael C. Berch <email@example.com>
RKO had already invested approximately $100,000 in the film before it was shelved. See more »
When the Colonel leaves the meeting with the German officers, discussing the surrender demand, the jeep he is in takes off without a driver at the wheel. See more »
[while being bombarded by German artillery during a driving blizzard]
We've had good deals before, but this is the best one yet. This is great. I don't ever wanna go back. I found a home in the army.
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MGM made one of their large studios into a freezing, war-torn hell, and let many of their young stars loose within it for this staggeringly realistic dramatisation on the Battle of the Bulge. As war movies go, this one does everything but pile on the glamour; these boys really did have to do some serious acting!
The cast is headed by a surprisingly good Van Johnson, proving he can do more than just romances, musicals, and various takes on 'the boy next door'. With him are some impressive co-stars: Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, and John Hodiak the most memorable; also James Whitmore, Don Taylor, and Leon Ames.
This movie is more than just boy's own stuff; there is a genuine story here and you do care about the characters and what happens to them. It all seems so hopeless and yet you want to keep on watching. This production caused a lot of friction at MGM as Mayer really didn't approve of the starkness of it all in the midst of his family pictures. He was wrong, 'Battleground' is one of the studio's best.
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