During the closing days of WWII, a National Guard Infantry Company is assigned the task of setting up artillery observation posts in a strategic area. Lieutenant Costa knows that Cooney is ... See full summary »
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During the closing days of WWII, a National Guard Infantry Company is assigned the task of setting up artillery observation posts in a strategic area. Lieutenant Costa knows that Cooney is in command only because of 'connections' he had made state-side. Costa has serious doubts concerning Cooneys' ability to lead the group. When Cooney sends Costa and his men out, and refuses to re-enforce them, Costa swears revenge. Written by
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This movie screened as part of the New York City retrospective film program "Apocalypse Anytime! The Films of Robert Aldrich", 11 March - 8 April 1994. See more »
Throughout the picture, German infantrymen use what seems to be some variation of the water-cooled Browning 30-caliber machine gun, which was a U.S. weapon. Also, the German tanks don't resemble any Panzers in use during World War II. See more »
Listen to me, Cooney! If you put me and my men in a wringer - -if you send us out there and let us hang - -I swear, I swear by all that's holy, I'll come back. I'll come back and take this grenade and shove it down your throat and pull the pin!
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Based on a play Fragile Fox that was on Broadway during the early Fifties, Attack is one of the best war films ever made. No sham heroics here, just men doing a dirty job and caught in an extremely lousy situation due to politics.
Lee Marvin is a politically ambitious colonel who's national guard company has been activated for World War II. He's got to babysit and keep an eye on Eddie Albert who's father is a big shot in the unnamed southern state he comes from. Only Albert is an incompetent and a coward. That's causing problems up and down the ranks.
How it all gets resolved is what you have to see Attack for and Robert Aldrich never directed a better film. There's not a bad performance here, not a minute of film wasted.
The contrasting character is Jack Palance who is the lead character. His courage and concern for the men he leads are set up in a direct counterpoint to Albert. His climactic scene is one of the most harrowing ever put on film.
It is appropriate with news of Eddie Albert leaving us at the grand old age of 99 to pay tribute to what is probably the best performance this multi-talented and under-appreciated performer ever did. His Captain Cooney is one of the most malevolent creatures ever put to celluloid. He's such a bad man, his performance will make your skin crawl, Albert is that good in this role. Both he and Palance should have been up for Oscars in 1956.
William Smithers made a good film debut in Attack. He never reached the heights of stardom, but Star Trek fans will know him for a role in the original series as Captain Merik who oddly enough made the same bad choices in that episode that Captain Cooney does in Attack.
The cast is populated with war film veterans and they all do their usual fine job. There were times that it didn't seem possible you could make a war film without Lee Marvin, Robert Strauss, or Richard Jaeckel. God Bless 'em all.
And Attack is a film not to be missed even if you don't particularly like war films.
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