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It would seem political correctness prevailed even back during the big bloodletting. The military should screen it's officers very thoroughly before giving them the command over others' lives. Captain Cooney should never have been issued a uniform much less been promoted to such a high field rank. Most of these old 40's and 50's war films leave me colder than a dead kraut but this was way above the fold. Yes, some of the special effects were a bit tame and a couple of the sets looked like what they were, but this was one gritty, ugly tale of the horror and waste of combat. The entire cast was excellent in their portrayal of soldiers in a hopeless situation. Many familiar old faces in this one, most of whom are no longer with us.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Albert is the ineffective commander, Palance the subordinate that swears revenge. This one is not for the squeamish, the scene where Palance is ran over by a tank is shocking. More shocking is the wonderfully psychotic performance by Albert, as the mentally disturbed commander. Lee Marvin has a nice supporting role, this one will make your skin crawl.
Above average war film with Jack Palance's snarling ferocity as a
revengeful officer along with Eddie Albert as a coward captain ,both of
whom give excellent performances along with the remaining cast . 1944 ,
Belgium , Battle of Bugle , 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 (splendid Jack
Palance as platoon leader) knows that Cooney (Eddie Albert ,in real
life he served in WW II, was a war hero, in one engagement having
braved heavy enemy fire to rescue 70 wounded Marines) is in command
only because of his friendship to a colonel (Lee Marvin) and other
connections he had made with High-command . As captain Cooney is
ordered to move one of his platoons into a forward position . They ,
then are slowly surrounded by a Nazi army . As Costa has serious doubts
concerning Cooneys' ability to lead the group . Lt. Costa calls
headquarters for reinforcements but Cooney won't commit his reserves
even as the platoon is decimated , then Costa swears vendetta .
This is a bitter war drama that packs thrills , chills , intense battle of wits among two officials and many other things . This has an anti-war argument , though not the usual 'war is hell,' but the terribly corrupting influence that war can have on the most normal, average human beings , and the terrible things it makes them capable of that they wouldn't be capable of otherwise . Interesting picture with excellent screenplay by James Poe based on a play titled "Fragile Fox" by Norman Brooks , dealing with an expert portrayal of men in war under pressure . It is a war movie as frankly good that when it was shown as the Venice Festival a U.S. ambassador walked in protest for its un-Americanism and anti-patriotism , in fact , US Department of Defense and the US Army refused to assist with the production of this movie based on its film script . After reading the script, the military flatly refused to allow any co-operation with the production , that meant no tanks, no uniforms, no troops ; they didn't even allow director to view any Signal Corps footage . However Aldrich managed to rent two tanks ; by careful staging and ingenuity, he was able to convey the impression that many more were being used . Very good acting from Jack Palance who dominates the picture with a tremendously acting , though sometimes overacting , and Eddie Albert as cowardly captain Cooney who refuses to re-enforce him . Two of the lead cast in this Robert Aldrich war film of the Second World War, Richard Jaeckel and Lee Marvin, would go onto appear in the same director's later hugely successful World War II war movie, ¨Dirty Dozen¨ . Actors Jack Palance and Lee Marvin were veterans of World War II as were Peter van Eyck and Eddie Albert . Feature film movie debut for actor William Smithers portraying Lieutenant Harold 'Harry' Woodruff , Smithers prior to this role had only worked in television. Spectacular combats and fights , battle sequences were filmed on the back-lot of two studios: The RKO-Pathé Studios back-lot and the Universal Studios back-lot. Appropriate and evocative musical score by Frank De Vol , Aldrich's usual . Adequate and atmospheric cinematography in black and white by Joseph Biroc .
Well made on the RKO lot in only 35 days for a minimal budget of $750,000 . The motion picture was stunningly realized by Robert Aldrich who gave a tense and brilliant direction . Aldrich began writing and directing for TV series in the early 1950s, and directed his first feature in 1953 (Big Leaguer ,1953). Soon thereafter he established his own production company and produced most of his own films , collaborating in the writing of many of them . Directed a considerable plethora of genres but almost all of his films contained a subversive undertone . He was an expert on warlike genre (Dirty Dozen , The Angry Hills , Ten seconds to hell) and Western (The Frisko kid , Ulzana's raid, Apache , Veracruz , The last sunset) . Rating : Above average , it's a must see and a standout in its genre .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The plot and summary have already been discussed here. I would like to
add my spin on the actors. Jack Palance always seems so suited for
sinister type roles, but here he gets a chance to play a character you
can sympathize with, even though there is a still a dark edge to his
character. He is very good in this film, and (here is my spoiler), no
one in the history of film making has ever played a corpse better than
Palance, in this film.
Eddie Albert is so effective as the cowardly weasel, Capt. Cooney, that it took years for me to enjoy any other roles that he had later on. He made that much of an impression. It took a couple of years of "Green Acres", to wipe the association of Albert's Capt. Cooney from my mind, whenever viewing him.
Lee Marvin, delivers just what you would expect from his role. Nasty fellow, that Colonel. Totally self-serving.
The rest of the squad form up a great little ensemble. I don't think that people realize just how talented Buddy Ebsen really was. While everyone else gives an edgy performance here, he balances the whole thing with a subtle, low keyed approach. Robert Strauss (probably best known as Animal in "Stalag 17") has little room to yuk it up in this film, although he does have a couple of "zingers". He is still one of those people that any time you see them, you can't help but smile. And what can I say about Richard Jaeckel? Was there A WWII film made from the mid 40s through the 60s, that Jaeckel WAS NOT in? A fixture in the genre. I wonder what the play, that this film is based upon, was like.
I clearly remember seeing this one night while I was still in high
school. I was impressed with what appeared to be honest and accurate.
Not long afterwards, I had proof. I survived two years as a conscript infantryman during the Viet Nam nightmare, and saw first hand what war does to people.
I am deeply dismayed when our leaders either don't understand war, or intentionally hide the truth. War is a horror beyond comprehension by those who have not seen it personally.
This film, and Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, should be required viewing for every American!
Wow! Where should one start with such a complex gem?
This movie wastes very little time stripping away the expected "Hollywood" treatment of war dramas and exposes some of the ulterior motives always involved whenever mankind goes to war with itself. The true glory, ultimately, belongs to the cast--so many jewels involved in this one! Jack Palance is one of my favorites, and his performance in Attack! is unpredictable and marvelous! (That scream will stay with me always.) Eddie Albert's Cooney--cowardice and cruelty personified. We're not on THE farm in this one, folks. William Smithers, Buddy Ebsen and Lee Marvin also sparkle throughout this elegy to WWII and human nature. If you ever get a chance to view this one, (and I hope you get the chance) put your thinking cap on, watch carefully and remember to pick yourself up off the floor when it's over. This film packs an honest, gritty wallop!
This movie affects you in on an emotional level where the characters
shortcomings are magnified by the stresses of life and death. It goes
beyond the reality of war scenes, which are almost as good as Saving
I felt that "ATTACK" should have been at the top of Eddie Albert's list of accomplishments. This movie shows the true depth of his acting capabilities. He should have been nominated for best supporting actor.
Jack Palance is excellent as true American war hero, not only fighting the Germans, but the army's hierarchy. Lee Marvin performance as the villain is comparable to the French generals in Paths of Glory.
What I do not under stand is why this movie is not shown on TV or so difficult to rent or purchase.
This early Robert Aldrich war movie focuses on a small group of soldiers in France during World War II, featuring the real hero of Jack Palance and his problems with Eddie Albert's cowardly officer, a man who has no business being in the army at all, much less commanding men. There's a lot of bitter talk about army and stateside politics, with an emphasis on the hopelessness of the "system", which makes the film feel more like the fifties than the period it depicts. This is a tough, Sam Fullerish movie that brutally exposes the hypocrisy of the military in wartime. Palance is in good, flamboyant form as the one truly brave man in the story, yet his is an alienating presence. One doesn't expect dogface soldiers to be charming, but Palance is often downright repulsive, and since there are no other wholly admirable people in the film, Palance's offputting emotionalism makes the movie feel dirty. There's a voyeuristic undercurrent throughout the picture, as I found myself continually learning things I would rather not know about, which belong, if anywhere, in a psychiatrist's office. Maybe this was the point. Aldrich was experimenting with raw emotionalism here, and in his next several movies would pull back somewhat, only to return to the madness theme in the sixties, in a pair of gothic horror exercises with Bette Davis, both with peacetime settings, as far from the field of battle as possible.
Attack is directed by Robert Aldrich and adapted to screenplay by James
Poe from the play, Fragile Fox, written by Norman Brooks. It stars Jack
Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, William Smithers, Robert Strauss and
Buddy Ebsen. Music is by Frank De Voll and cinematography by Joseph F.
Europe 1944, Battle of the Bulge, and an American G.I. company not only have to contend with the German forces, but also with their own cowardly Captain.
Tough as nails and dripping with cynicism, Robert Aldrich's Attack falls into a small group of excellent war movies that exude a grim realism. The material to hand doesn't pull it's punches as it features heroic men captained by a coward (Albert as Erskine Cooney), whose cowardice is ignored by their superiors on account of his father's political pull. That it dared to suggest such a scenario ticked off the military to the degree they refused to give any aid to the production, meaning Aldrich had to make his movie on a minimal budget and with only a handful of military equipment he was able to rent or buy himself. This fact makes the finished product all the more remarkable, with Aldrich crafting a film of narrative potency that's punctured with periods of violence.
Starkly shot in black and white by ace cinematographer Biroc, film always feels claustrophobic, suitably edgy and bleak. Yet there is big heroic characters within the story, real men front and centre to the horrors of war. The military's refusal to aid the film seems daft, men such as Lt. Costa (Palance) and Lt. Woodruf (Smithers) are men to be proud of, that they stand against cowardice and the political manipulations of Lt. Col. Clyde Bartlett (Marvin) is note worthy and to be applauded. Would the might of the military rather the public be ignorant to the corruption of power? Attack depicts men of war as human beings reacting to said war, no soft soaping, differing responses are portrayed. This is no perfect world where thousands of personal are driven by a collective will, Attack calls it that there are bad eggs in every organisation, and it makes for a riveting viewing experience.
Packed with powerful performances and directed with a keen and clinical eye, Attack is a bold and brilliant movie that still packs a punch even today. 9/10
In December 1944, in full course of the WWII, in Europe, an infantry
unit of the army of U.S. moves by France and maintains clashes with the
Germans who seem back but chasing. In these circumstances, lieutenant
"Joe Costa" (Jack Palance), official who cares men under his command,
attempts to gain a hill to the enemy German there called, but in the
attempt was abandoned by its captain and the bulk of the company that
they leave only to him and his section of men, a result the death of
several soldiers of those who commanded the lieutenant.
The movie is a smart reflection on the cowardice, on the duty, on the lie, all with the backdrop of very good scenes of action. Robert Aldrich manages to create an atmosphere suffocating in which the soldiers are among the sword and the wall, between the duty and the contempt they feel toward their head. We must highlight an impressive Jack Palance in the interpretation of the soldier who is capable of fighting the Germans with rabies provided by the hatred of the captain to send a work of corporal expression magnificent.
Within the genre war, "Attack" is one of the masterpieces that has left us the history of Cinema. Represents a complaint anti militarist not only in general, but particularly directed to the hierarchies military.
"Attack" is a good film directed by Robert Aldrich and produced by himself and Paul Vroom. It has the best still photography by Joseph F. Biroc, and a remarkable artistic direction of William Glasgow and a script of James Poe.
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