|Index||7 reviews in total|
This film is a decent war melodrama as well as a vehicle for star Victor Mature. It tells a somewhat engaging tale of an American platoon cooperating with a Greek platoon during the Korean war. The filmmakers use the distrust these platoons have for one another as a comment on racism and, ultimately, a slightly heavyhanded lesson on looking past differences to work together against a greater enemy. But the film has some rousing battle scenes, few and far between as they may be, and it's heart is certainly in the right place. The acting is mostly good, especially from the intensely watchable Lee Marvin, who is the primary reason I saw this film. He is my favorite actor and I jumped at the opportunity to see this little seen movie which is not available on home video at present time. He plays the demolitionist in Mature's platoon, just one of several random soldiers, really. Lee's role is small, but he does the most he can with the character and screen time he has. Fans will be interested to note that Marvin's character wears glasses, one of the few times he has ever been seen wearing them in films, or anywhere else for that matter. All in all "The Glory Brigade" isn't much better than fair, but Marvin and Mature fans may want to check it out.
Glory Brigade was filmed in my hometown of Tuscumbia, Missouri as well as
nearby Fort Leonard Wood near Waynesville. Originally, it was to be
"Baptism by Fire" but the name was changed before release for reasons I
never knew. I was about ten years old at the time and remember how
the event was for everyone in our small community of about 200 people
situated on the banks of the Osage River in the picturesque Missouri Ozark
hills. Victor Mature was loved by everyone because he was so friendly with
the local natives, some of whom had camaras and who were delighted he
would patiently pose and smile with his arm draped around one or another
us for one after another picture taking session between takes. The
were chosen as the film site we were told because the terrain resembled
of much of Korea. My uncle loaned Twentieth Century a John boat(local
of boat which was flat bottomed and narrow, designed for the clear,
sometimes shallow, spring fed Ozark streams)for use in construction of a
pontoon bridge across the river, which was used in an important exciting
scene in the movie. Unfortunately, one day while setting up some
explosives for the scene in which the bridge was bombed, the dynamite
accidently was discharged killing one man and causing another to lose his
leg. No ambulances were around in those days and the nearest hospital was
in Jefferson City, thirty miles away, so the men had little chance for
emergency care. All of us were greatly saddened by the event as we had
become friends with all the crew. I have seen Glory Brigade several times
on late night t.v., even recently, and an amazed at how I can be drawn
into the story of events supposedly taking place in Korea even though the
scenes in the background are familiar to me, easily recognized as the
hills around my home
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE GLORY BRIGADE 1953
Victor Mature headlines this Korean War film from director Robert (Love Me Tender) Webb.
Victor Mature is a Lt in charge of a platoon of combat engineers. They have just destroyed a bridge they built the day before. This was done because the Red forces were in danger of capturing said bridge. This is the sort of back and forth the UN and various Red Armies are engaged in.
Mature is now assigned a job to move a company of Greek UN troops over the river at night. The Greeks are going on a recon into the hills. There is word of a large buildup of Red Forces. All the other patrols have failed to return. So this patrol one is going out in company strength. Mature, whose family is from Greece, is more than happy to help out the folks from the old country.
Most of Mature's non-coms are not all that sure about the untried Greeks. They wonder how the Greeks will behave in combat. Late that evening, they drive up to the river and unload the rubber assault boats. Right of the start there are problems. Quite a few of the rafts have damage and are unusable. They decide to leave most of the heavy weapons (machine guns, mortars etc) and some of the ammo behind.
The Americans get over the river and unload the Greeks. They then pull the rafts into the trees and wait. A short time later a group of Chinese Communists burst out of the brush and the fight is on. Mature and his men repulse the attack. Mature and his leading Sgt, Richard Egan, decide to send the wounded back across the river with most of the platoon. Mature and five men will wait here for the Greeks return.
Ten minutes later Mature and his men hear a massive blast of gunfire from down by the river. They hot-foot it back. What they find is the rest of the platoon dead to a man. They had been caught in a Red ambush. The rafts have also all been destroyed. Now a part of the Greek Company arrives back from the patrol. They say they had been in a firefight with some Reds. Mature looks at their weapons and they are all spotless. He figures they just ran and never fought anyone.
Mature leads the group back in country to find the rest of the Greek detachment. Several hours later the men run into some more Red type people. Mature leads an attack and the Red outpost is quickly taken. The Greeks show that they are no cowards and kill the majority of the Commies. The group discover several UN troops of various counties held prisoner at the site. They also uncover heavy engineer gear and a bulldozer.
Mature is now joined by the rest of the Greek recon group. Mature informs the Greek officer in charge he has found what the Reds are up to. They are building an underwater bridge on the river. They are laying sandbags under the surface to build up the bottom. This will allow the Red tanks to ford the river and launch a surprise attack on the UN forces.
Now they need to get the freed prisoners and their own wounded home. The bulldozer is put to use towing a wagon of wounded. Now they have the bad luck to run into a Chinese Red tank on the same trail. Explosives man, Lee Marvin sets up an ambush using some dynamite and fuel drums. The trick works and the Red tank is destroyed. (Interesting bit done by the effects people to make a Sherman look like a Soviet T-34) The group has now moved close enough to UN lines to use their radio. The info about the hidden bridge is transmitted to headquarters. The UN decides they will now use the bridge and launch a quick attack. This will take the Reds in the flank. The UN forces now send in a fleet of helicopters to pick up Mature and the Greeks.
This one starts out with a plenty of oomph, and then just plays out like a standard war film. Considering the cast and crew involved, I was expecting a little more bang for the buck. It is not a bad film, but comes off somewhat lacking in the story area.
But then again, I would watch anything with Lee Marvin in it. Director Webb started out as a second unit man and even won an Oscar for his work on, IN OLD CHICAGO from 1937. His best work as a helmsman is most likely, THE PROUD ONES, ON THE THRESHOLD OF SPACE and Elvis Presley's first film, LOVE ME TENDER.
The look of the film is quite good with the great cinematographer, Lucien Ballard at the controls. Ballard lensed films such as, THE LODGER, BERLIN EXPRESS, DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK, THE DESERT RATS, INFERNO, THE KILLER IS LOOSE, THE KILLING, CITY OF FEAR, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, THE SON'S OF KATIE ELDER, NEVADA SMITH, HOUR OF THE GUN, WILL PENNY, TRUE GRIT, THE GET-AWAY and THE WILD BUNCH.
This packs a lot of punch for its tight construction.
We go straight to war in the opening shot: the platoon retreats over the makeshift bridge, the camera pulls back on the corps' sign; it jiggles with the concussions from the explosions in the river, then pans over to the embankment -- a complicated shot that says a great deal, but does it economically. The movie ends economically, too, with the battle won, and the two commanders smiling at the results, cuing our response.
I suspect this movie was a template for several modern war features, yet strangely this has gone somewhat overlooked; perhaps, simply because Korea is not an over-filmed war, and we think of it mostly on "MASH"'s terms.
A guerrilla attack on a tank uses an explosive charge under a tank tread -- later used in "The Terminator". A depot is attacked by using distractions, then an infantry charge; the actors' positioning, movements and the camera angles -- the very visual vocabulary of that scene -- are elements that would later appear in "Predator".
Victor Mature and Alexander Scourby star in The Glory Brigade, a story
of the Korean War with an emphasis on the international makeup of the
forces under the UN command against North Korea and later the Chinese.
In this situation the American survivors of a patrol behind enemy lines
are forced to cooperate both Greeks and Americans.
And here Victor Mature is a Greek-American and during the mission he who had bragged about the fighting ability of his native people gets a bad first impression. But they are forced to cooperate on the mission which is to find out if the North Koreans are planning a big offensive on the other side of a river which is now marking the battle lines of the two armies. Mature's patrol is wiped out save for himself, Lee Marvin, Roy Roberts, and Alvy Moore. Even though he's feeling embarrassed, Mature now has to rely on Scourby's men.
The Glory Brigade earned some glory for 20th Century Fox and the folks in front of and behind the camera. It's a nice no frills war film with the cast acquitting themselves well.
Victor Mature plays Lt Sam Pryor an American officer of Greek descent who is
given the task of leading a platoon of Greek soldiers during the Korean war
This had the potential to be a fairly good war film dealing with profound subjects like cowardice , ethnicity and identity . Unfortunately somewhere along the line something went wrong but I`m not entirely sure what . I guess all the ingrediants are there for a deeply scathing anti- war film but since THE GLORY BRIGADE has a fairly short running time it`s probably been produced by the studio as a B movie to be put on before the main feature which is a pity since it had a lot of potential , but I guess it deserves some credit for pointing out that the Americans didn`t fight the Korean war single handed
This is a pretty average small-scale war-movie, in which a platoon of
American soldiers show themselves to be tougher, braver and cleverer
than the Greek soldiers they have to join forces with. It's standard
stuff all round, Victor Mature agonises, his colleagues wisecrack and
the Greeks redeem themselves by the end.
I waited thirty years to see this film because Lee Marvin was given third billing. But all he does in the film is sit at a radio, wearing glasses, with the occasional bit of insubstantial dialogue. In fact he should have got tenth or eleventh billing, but one assumes that, following his success in "The Big Heat", the publicity boys decided to 'use' his name.
I felt cheated, which probably accounts for my not liking the film a bit more.
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|