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Stanley Kramer's WW-II character study has Lee Marvin as the Sergeant of a small squad laid over during fighting in Italy. During the otherwise boring time between battles, tensions arise as they are ordered not to rescue a squad mate pinned down by the enemy, for fear of risking more lives. Based on the stage play "A Sound of Hunting", by Harry Brown. Written by
The rifle used by the snipers was a G43 (1943) and the machine gun with the saddle drum was a MG34. See more »
About a minute in as Pvt Coke ducks into a building through a wooden door, two bullet holes can be seen in the door. The scene cuts to a sniper's rifle barrel. When the scene cuts back to Pvt Coke at the door, the bullet holes are gone until the sniper shoots the door. See more »
Can't recall when I've seen a better war picture. I've seen lots of them with more action, as this is mainly a talking picture, but this one features extraordinarily good acting performances from the entire cast. Especially good was Bonar Colleano, who is the central figure in the story. He is the Wise-Guy-From-The-Bronx, a character movie directors and writers liked to insert into their work, and Colleano makes the most of his star turn.
As with all movies reviewed on the website, the plot has been restated by all contributors, but just let me say it seems mainly like a filmed stage play. But the film is not static and the action moves at a brisk pace, if you can imagine this in a movie with basically one set. We get to learn about each platoon member as characters are fleshed out to a remarkable degree, so that we understand what motivates each one.
Noteworthy, apart from Colleano is Lee Marvin, here honing his tough guy credentials, and Nick Dennis with much more of a part than he normally was used to. I thought Barney Phillips, a good actor himself, was miscast as the Captain. He was just too old for the part - if you have been in the service you would spot it right away. Ol' reliable TCM aired this one the other day, and it is very worth watching.
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