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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
Buxx Banner <email@example.com>
This gripping film has the benefits of an outstanding cast: Palance was peerless here, combining a sense of command with a deep sense of compassion & especially what it takes to get the job done under fire. Palance could do it because he had been there (& seriously wounded) in WW2. Lee Marvin was a combat marine who got shot in that war, too. These guys had real frames of reference to deal from. All the supporting cast stands out as well, Buddy Ebsen as the savvy platoon sergeant, William Smithers as the by the book lieutenant, Robert Straus & Richard Jaeckel as the grunts they played so well in these films. AND THEN there's Eddie Albert playing the cowardly Captain whose father is a high-level political wheeler-dealer. Some of his swaggering & smirking & foolhardy statements, even the features & facial expressions, seem oddly, weirdly timely, though this film is just short of 50 years old. I won't name names for fear of being drawn into a political campaign year vortex, but this movie sure is worth watching against today's operations in Iraq _ & Washington. I wonder what kinds of movies will be coming out in 1- - 20 years about the Iraq wars.
One more word. It could not have happened with Robert Aldrich at the helm. A real masterpiece!
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