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Alfred L. Werker
In this documentary, actual American soldiers and others re-enact a real Korean War operation, with some real battle footage, filmed some time before the actual truce. The story: with peace supposedly imminent, Lieut. Thompson and 13 men of his platoon are ordered on a deep scouting mission to check for last-minute treachery. Assorted perils are encountered, ending with a decidedly un-peaceful battle. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Cease Fire" has third rate acting, misrepresents the last days of the Korean war and makes combat troops look like buffoons.
Warning: This is a bad review for "Cease Fire" from personal experiences.
I was in Chorwan Valley, Korea with the 7th Infantry Division Combat Signal Company in 1953. I was a radio repairman and My job was to help keep lines of communication open between combat units when the "Cease Fire" film crew was there to make the film. In the military the service creed is your a rifle man first and everything else is second. I don't mind telling you it enraged us tremendously that people in USA thought the Korean war was such a cake walk to make the first true to life combat film. Lots of G.I.'s were still getting killed and some from our unit.
The movie was not shot on the front lines ( MLR Main Line of resistance) as some people might have thought. Today it is the demilitarize zone between North Korea and South Korea. They wanted to shoot there but the North Koreans and Chinese were not a fan of theirs and threw some live rounds their way so they took themselves way back to the rear areas where there was no war.
The 7th division's military campaign at the end of the war was to keep the enemy out of Chorwan valley and the Chinese communist job was get into Chorwan valley in mass with their tanks that were rendered obsolete in mountain country.
They tried very hard but didn't make it but a few times they almost did. Pork Chop hill was one of the many hills that was smack dab in the way. Some of the famous hills along side were Old Baldy white horse, alligator, castle rock were near where a lot of major assaults took place before the war ended. Castle rock was the highest point so from the top a person could look down and scan the war zones for miles. Sometimes it was so quiet it was scary. It must have been the lull of the war at times and the ideal spot where the film crew reconnoitered but the war would flair up like a roman candle and people were getting killed near there.
A North Korea/Chinese assault usually came at night with loud speakers blaring, thousand of enemy screaming and careening across no mans land,artillery blasting each other, night flares lighting the skies like daytime, machine gun fire, search lights scanning, and all of us shooting at the onslaught that sometimes turned into hand to hand combat. I was spared some of the combat because if it got to hot we could take our communication repair truck back to a safer area.
The worst artillery exchange in the whole stale mate came hours before the cease fire agreement at ten o:clock. Both sides had to turn in all their ammo by noon time the next day. Nobody wanted to repackage loose artillery rounds so they shot them all off. That night was second to my longest night ever spent. My longest night ever spent was the next night when we didn't have any ammo and didn't trust the enemy. I could almost hear ants crawling all night. Those two nights were almost worse than combat themselves. We had our rifles but no ammo and we were so jumpy the next day after a sleepless night in a fox hole we were running into each other when the sun came up.
After the war we set up camp in Chorwan Valley about 30 miles south of what became the demilitarize war zone. Life was safer, easier, food was good and we were able to watch movies. One night some body got a hold of that "Cease Fire" film and decided to show it. I never laughed so hard in my whole life at something that was suppose to be serious. The acting was terrible, story line only scratched the surface of the whole cease fire episode, and I took a personal note of the whole thing. We started to boo the movie until they finally shut it down and put something else on.
I respect the actors but I criticize the producers for making real troops look like morons.The acting was below third rate the story line was not indicative of a squad patrol in the last days of the war. For one,we had patrols in no mans land only which was generally flat terrain. A patrol coming back through our lines had to worry more about trigger happy people than the enemy. We had outposts in no mans land that communicated with patrols, and the list goes on.The only reasons of patrols was to scout what the enemy was doing to reinforce their trenches or getting ready for an assault. Once in a while our patrol would meet an enemy patrol in no mans land and then look out. The location should have been something like world war one with trenches on forward slopes of hilly terrain facing no mans land that varied from 200 to 1000 yards of flat lands between military forces dug in on opposing hill sights. Their scenes missed the most important reasons why we were there by not showing the final desperate Chinese assaults on our trenches trying to get into Chorwan valley before the war ended. We were simply not going to let that happen and they finally got the message. The producers missed the whole point, and as as a matter of fact they were way off just before and after the end of the war.
A title something like, "Korean Combat Patrol" with real movie stars and not robot acting would have sufficed, and re-enacting scenes wouldn't be important. The producers wouldn't be obligated to show the whole scenario to back up a title "Cease Fire" with strong suggestions it was a real combat movie about the real cease fire conditions in Korea.
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