The new commander of a Navy Underwater Demolition Team--nicknamed "Frogmen"--must earn the respect of the men in his unit, who are still grieving over the death of their former commander and resentful of the new one.
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 »
Tonight I'll be whistling at every dame in the country. You can't keep a healthy guy like me stuck away like this for too long - I go crazy - I get hair on the palms of my hands - the beast rises in me.
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Producer Stanley Kramer and Director Edward Dmytryk deliberately chose a cast of unknowns who later did move on to varying degrees of success in the film industry, most notably Lee Marvin, for the cast of Eight Iron Men.
It's a tense situation for this squad in some small town on the Italian front in World War II. One of their number is pinned down by a machine gun and it's wearing on the nerves of the other seven. Especially when they get orders to pull back and leave him until replacements come.
The film shows the tension on all of them. Lee Marvin with his war experience in the Pacific Theater is a natural as the concerned sergeant. Other good performances are from Arthur Franz, Richard Kiley, Nick Dennis, and most of all Bonar Colleano whose career was mostly in the United Kingdom. This was one of the few American made films for the New York City expatriate.
Eight Iron Men is based on a flop play on Broadway by Harry Brown which ran only 23 performances in 1945 and featured Sam Levene and a most unknown Burt Lancaster. Obviously someone named Harry Cohn didn't want to pay Lancaster's going rate in 1952 to get him for the screen version.
Even without Burt, Eight Iron Men is a well made war drama and should not be missed.
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