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Fixed Bayonets! (1951)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | December 1951 (USA)
The story of a platoon during the Korean War. One by one Corporal Denno's superiors are killed until it comes to the point where he must try to take command responsibility.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Sgt. Rock
...
Sgt. Lonergan
...
Medic John Wheeler
...
Lt. Gibbs
...
Whitey
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Storyline

The story of a platoon during the Korean War. One by one Corporal Denno's superiors are killed until it comes to the point where he must try to take command responsibility.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Baionetas Caladas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in 20 days in the summer of 1951. See more »

Goofs

At the initial briefing in division headquarters, the 2-star general and the colonels are all wearing rank insignia. In actuality, officers did not wear their insignia on the front lines, since doing so would identify the officers as choice targets for the enemy. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Rock: You're not aiming at a man. You're aiming at the enemy. Once you're over that hump, you're a rifleman.
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Connections

Featured in The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Indiana
(uncredited)
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
Sung by a chorus when the troops are first pulling out
Played occasionally in the score
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User Reviews

Strip, wrap, bury
24 March 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sam Fuller's no nonsense approach to film-making seemed perfectly suited to the war genre. Films like "Fixed Bayonets", "The Steel Helmet" and "Big Red One" have a certain relentless quality. They're fast, tough, blunt, feature urgent camera work and screenplays which whittle away the fat and get right down to the point. There's no macho heroism, no flag waving, no mourning the dead. Instead, Fuller cuts through the crap and gets down to simple truths.

Indeed, Gene Evans, who plays Sgt Rock in "Fixed Bayonets!" and Sgt Zack in "The Steel Helmet", seems to himself embody Fuller's style. He's simple, bear-like, gruff, angry, world weary, cynical, yet wise and at times warm. He's the product of a post-Hemmingway era of pulp journalism and spring-action typewriters. Fuller's style itself relies more on punchy dialogue, the rhythm of words, the staccato patter of syllables and the energy of screenplays to create their power. Visuals were almost secondary.

Strange then that "Fixed Bayonets", plot wise at least, is so simple. It deals with a group of US soldiers who attempt to hold a mountain pass while the North Korean army advances. Their aim is to convince the enemy that their small 48 man squad is much larger than it really appears. If they succeed, they'd have provided enough of a distraction for a 15,000 man US regiment to pull out of the area, unharassed.

This notion of "pretending", of being "more of a man" than you really are, is Fuller's chief concern. And so throughout the film characters wrestle over, not duty, but responsibility. How can one little man step up and take on the responsibility for the lives of other men? The rest of the film plays like a tactical handbook on how to hold a secure location. Fuller shows us how to lay mines, sucker the enemy in, keep your feet safe from frostbite and take down a tank. There's an almost journalistic sort of attention to detail, which of course masks the films politics; its refusal to approach the broader ethical questions raised by US actions in Korea at the time.

7.9/10 - Plays like one of those pulpy combat comic books printed in the 40s and 50s.


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