Plot centers around how a young recruit (Audie Murphy) faces the horrors of war. Character vascilates between wanting to fight and doubting his own courage. In midst of first bloody encounter, Youth runs away. After seeing dead and wounded, sense of shame leads him back to his unit, where he distinguishes himself in the next battle. Having overcome his fear of "the great Death" he knows e can face whatever comes. Somewhat sentimental "coming of age" tale was pet project of John Huston, who fought MGM over casting of Murphy and Bill Mauldin in lead roles. Written by
John Huston considered this his best film. After a power struggle at the top of MGM management, the film was cut from a two-hour epic to the 69-minute version released to theaters. It was never released as an "A" feature but was shown as a second-feature "B" picture. Both Huston and star Audie Murphy tried unsuccessfully to purchase the film so that it could be re-edited to its original length. The studio claiming that the cut footage was destroyed. Unless there is an undiscovered copy of the uncut version, this movie will never be viewed as John Huston intended. See more »
The drilling and action center around one platoon. While the platoon did exist in Civil War regiments (as half of a company), in practice it was rarely used. Units quickly lost enough personnel due to illness (if not combat) that companies were the smallest practical unit. See more »
Wives, dogs, and chestnut trees - the more you beat 'em the better they be.
See more »
John Huston's camera and sense of drama and tension make this one of the best soldier's-eye movies ever made. You really get a feel for the confusion Civil War recruits must have experienced - not during battle, but before and after, when orders appear to be arbitrary and nothing is ever explained.
The cast is wonderful, including many who show up for less than 30 seconds, giving their all for their roles - Audie Murphy never had it so good with this material and backdrop. A truly literate action movie that has a soul and a vision.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?