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|Index||72 reviews in total|
the interesting thing about all the movies lee marvin made with robert aldrich was the way that aldrich, not the least 'hysterical' of directors found marvins quiet core, and used him as the 'still' man in a world of constsnt movement. attack, the dirty dozen, and emperor og the north , apart from being fine films, were all great marvin.
Take jack Palance and Eddie Albert and Lee Marvin, 3 great actors where
cowardice, chicanery and bravery among WWII soldiers are all combined. This
movie was censored by the US Army, (as well as my first review on this) and
ends with the bravest and the cowardly officer in the same state. The
colonel is left free to go on with his chicanery, but we hope that the
lieutenant, finally conscience stricken enough to refuse the buy-off, lets
the world know what REALLY happened. Many innocent GIs are dead because of
this officer's cowardice, so you can understand why many movie books don't
even have this movie listed.
And if this review 'disappears' as well, I'll know why. See 'Attack' available from some of the online houses, if you can find a copy of it. The one movie review book that DID feature it says that it was Palance's and albert's finest hour of acting. And indeed it is. I could not watch it at one sitting, because of the suspense and knowledge that some great guys were about to get it because of a psycho officer. Although, when I asked a special forces VietNam vet why in the world a platoon of GIs were advancing down a hill in a parallel line a la the Brits, circa-1776 to certain death, he said, "That's Hollywood for you."
This again is an anti-war movie with a full contingent of fighting GIs--show this to all the potential cannon fodder kids you know, along with "The Americanization of Emily". We might have some peace, if we all refused to go to war and this movie shows how stupid it is.
The movie had a profound impact on me when I first saw it. Having been brought up on the standard, sanitised British war movie 'Attack!' gave me a more realistic impression of what it may have been like. Jack Palance is no typical central character for this sort of movie and is in a different league to the average central character in a British war movie. No matter how many times I see the movie I'm left thinking he was undervalued.
Yet more proof that Jack Palance could really act!
His Joe Costa, a decent, tough, and honorable guy, is matched wonderfully by Eddie Albert as Costa's incompetent and sniveling commanding officer (a great portrayal of a weasel in action).
And any movie that has both Buddy Ebsen and Lee Marvin deserves a look.
Great cast, great dialog. Silly-looking "tank" mockups are the only drawback I can think of.
I rate it an 8 out of 10.
Jack Palance was always a great star, ugly face and hateful roles with lots of heavy breathing through his nose. In this picture as Lt. Joe Costa, he could do anything, blacksmith to all time Army Hero! I call him PUSH UP JACK, after his acceptance of his Oscar in '92 for "City Slickers"91. Eddie Albert( Capt. Erskine Cooney) made you hate him, especially when he ignored a request from Lt. Joe Costa to back up his platoon when trying to attack a German Pill Box. If Eddie made you hate him, he performed his role just as the director wanted. However, he was better cast in " Green Acres" '65 TV Series along with one of the GABOR'S!! Lee Marvin,(Lt. Col. Clyde Bartlett) clearly showed his great acting talents and quickly became a Super Star after his performance in this great Classic Film. This is a must see movie for all generations.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was perhaps the first of the post-WW II movies that emphasized disillsion and cynicism in lieu of glory; it pre-dated "Hell is For Heroes" (just as cynical) by six years. It's December of 1944 and an American company is commanded by a pusillanimous and cowardly Captain who got his job owing to his colonel's favoritism - the colonel (an oily Lee Marvin) needs the captain's powerful father for post-war political influence. The colonel (played marvelously by Eddie Albert) costs many men's lives by his cowardice, and senior platoon commander Lt Costa (superbly and intensely acted by Jack Palance) threatens to kill the captain if it happens again. And that's only the first part of the movie! The only fault this brutal film has is a budget that wasn't as high as it could have been regarding the scope of the battles. But it's a great movie, and finally on video.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the bloodiest days of the second world war, half of Lieutenant
Costa's platoon is wiped out during an attack on a German pillbox
because the cowardly Captain Cooney failed to reinforce them. Cooney
only holds such an important rank due to the fact that his superior
officer-Lieutenant Colonel Bartlett-owes a favour to Cooney's father
who is a prominent judge stateside. All of the men in the platoon,
especially Costa, are disgusted by Cooney's spiritless incompetence.
However the Colonel is more than willing to turn a blind eye because of
his political aspirations after the war. When Costa and his outfit are
trapped by enemy fire in a small town, Cooney once again refuses to
reinforce them and more lives are lost needlessly. With the battle of
the Bulge now raging around them, tensions between Cooney and Costa
boil over, causing the irate Lieutenant to crack. In the midst of an
overwhelming German counterattack and consumed by murderous anger,
Costa makes a dangerous resolve...
At first glance Attack! looks like a typically generic flag waver, but as the synopsis indicated, it cuts much deeper than the jingoistic propaganda pop corn flicks of the era. Made at a time when such (pro) war movies were still very much in vogue, Attack! is one of Hollywood's earliest anti-war films. Robert Aldrich' anguishing character study alienated him from the Pentagon and is all the better for it. Attack! is one of the most sobering accounts of war ever lensed. Based on Norman Brooks' play "Fragile Fox", the script is cleverly cynical and the film itself deliciously baroque. Aldrich relishes deconstructing the effects of war on the soldiers, both physical and emotional, whilst tackling hot topics like cowardice and corruption in the ranks. Take Captain Cooney for example, an individual who would be much better off sitting behind a desk where he would be free to wallow harmlessly in self pity. Instead he has been installed into a position of power whereupon he is called to fight, thus said self pity becomes a destructive force in itself. Here we have a cancerous bureaucratic initiative coming into play as it is the manipulative Colonel Bartlett who deliberately sustains Cooney in such a position of prominence, just so he can keep a promise to Cooney's magistrate father who guarantees him an illustrious governmental position as soon as the war ends. Bartlett is a villainous snake who plays with the lives of his men as well as Cooney's vulnerable mental state in order to fulfil aforementioned warped political ambitions.
The three leads deliver tour de-force performances. The electrifying Jack Palance is on brilliantly choleric form as the grizzled Lieutenant Costa. By the film's second half, his lust for retribution has initiated a spiralling descent into insanity and Robert Aldrich exploits the character's rage to a fantastic advantage. You'll love to hate Eddie Albert as Cooney. Near the end of the movie, his cowardice transforms him into a crazed sadist. Ironically, Eddie Albert was decorated for bravery during the war, but still plays the irresponsible coward with unparalleled professionalism. Lee Marvin is loving every second of his screen time as Colonel Bartlett and his rousing energy is infectious, his Southern drawl permeating an air of menace. In what I would call one of the most horrific but awesome sequences in the history of cinema, a frenzied bazooka-wielding Costa gets one of his arms brutally crushed when a tank grinds onto it!. His raucous agonised roaring combined with some savagely contorted facial expressions make the sequence all the more ferociously obscene. It's a truly shocking scene that was violent for the 1950s and is still trenchant today, but conveys spectacularly combat in all it's malignant ferocity!. I've always been obsessed with it's sheer abrasiveness and even if this sequence does look rather dated now it doesn't make it any less grotesque. The images of the helpless Costa trying to roar the pain away as he is viciously restrained by the tank is unlike anything I've ever seen in a war movie, it curdles my blood in the most scabrous of ways!. The final act is nearly just as amazing, when the ravaged zombie-like Costa miraculously stumbles into a cellar to do away with Cooney once and for all.
Attack! has to be the greatest war movie of the 50s and a contender for the greatest war movie of all time. A rough masterwork!. 10/10
During WWII, an incompetent and sadistic army captain sends a platoon on a suicidal mission. This is a tough, gritty action film that belies its origins as a stage play. Palance is fine as the platoon leader who clashes with his crooked captain, played with the right degree of sliminess by Albert. The good supporting cast is peppered with such familiar faces as Marvin, Jaeckel, Ebsen, Strauss, and Smithers, with the last making an impressive film debut as a conscientious lieutenant. It seems to run out of steam in the middle and turns a bit melodramatic with the psychological angle, but packs a punch overall. Aldrich excelled in these types of films, focusing on men of action.
I first saw this movie in 1957 and have never forgotten Palance's great acting performance..his ability to show menace and strength..with that quiet whispering voice is better here than in Shane..Here in this anti-war movie he was at his best..Fine acting by all the cast..
Robert Aldrich brings this grim story set in the latter stages of World
War 2 and conflict in a battalion where Captain Cooney sends men on a
mission but is too cowardly to bail them out with firepower as he does
not want to die.
The film stars Jack Palance as the tougher subordinate Costa who has seen through Eddie Albert's cowardly and drunk Captain Cooney who has used his family connections with Lee Marvin's Lt Colonel Bartlett to get himself a nice number but finds himself out of his depth and quickly losing the respect of his men.
From the opening scenes, filmed in a studio back-lot of RKO you can sense this is a low budget film. What we have is a film with some of cinema's hard men Marvin and Palance (both to be future Oscar winners) slightly playing against type. Palance is a good guy here, the platoon leader cynical about his masters. You can see ingrained in his face that he is battle worn, battle weary and sick of his superiors treating his men like some disposal commodity.
Marvin plays an effective cameo. He knows Cooney is inept, he has known him for years and he a lot to be thankful to Cooney's father. When Marvin goes back home after the war he needs his father's patronage. Maybe he really did feel in the heat of battle either Cooney will man up, get killed by the enemy or even by one of his own men.
William Smithers plays Lt Woodruff torn between his loyalty to Costa and dislike of Cooney but bound not to rock the boat but raises his concerns with Bartlett, but Bartlett dismisses his concerns as he has his own agenda.
As the film is an adaptation of a stage play, it does have too many stereotypes and rather one dimensional ones. Robert Strauss is there for broad comic relief for example.
Only Smithers comes across as conflicted where his plea to save Costa and his men when they go on a mission are rebuffed by Cooney and feels he has nowhere else to turn.
The climax of the film comes across as weak and preachy. The conflict with the German tanks does not look well staged and the incident with Costa falls victim to censorship laws where the violence had to be toned down.
I felt that the ending need to be punchier and more to the point which the showdown between Smithers and Marvin failed to bring.
Its still a film with some powerhouse performances and a good contrast to the more gung ho war films of the time.
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