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Reviews & Ratings for
Attack More at IMDbPro »

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Index 64 reviews in total 

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Uncovering and Uncomfortable

Author: LeonLouisRicci from United States
24 April 2013

Considered by most to be one of Director Aldrich's best Films. It is certainly one of the best WWII Movies, joining Sam Fuller, Stanley Kubrick, and Oliver Stone in non-patronizing the glory of War. There are plenty of those that do such Patriot pushing so the other side is a welcome and needed relief.

In this one it is Politics and incompetent Leaders who represent the Bad Guys here and at this late date is there any argument against that? Not that it is True across the board, but that it does exist and many People pay with their lives because of this ineptitude.

With a cast of real War Vets and other good performers, the cold hard script is played out in a claustrophobic, relentlessly cynical atmosphere where it can be a tough watch as are most uncomfortable Truths. It is an uncompromising Story of bravery, cowardice, and incompetence. A yin to John Wayne's yang that cannot be ignored and is one of the great ones from the ultra-conservative Fifties.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Definitely One of the Very Best.

Author: natonator2000 from United States
20 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this film free online. I had nothing to in the afternoon and had seen this film listed for a while so I thought, why not. I was hooked from the very beginning when one of Lt. Costa's (played superbly by Jack Palance) gets massacred assaulting a machine gun position counting on support that never arrived.

This film was so well done, so intensely acted. Every single actor in this movie, from the top of the cast like Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert and Jack Palance to William Strauss and Buddy Ebsen (who, playing SFC Tolliver has a dramatic duel with a German sniper in one powerful scene) plays his role to the hilt. I do not believe that Jack Palance ever equaled the intensity he portrayed in this character.

The story involves a cowardly Captain and Company Commander named Cooney, played by Eddie Albert, who ineptness has cost Lt. Costa too men. When Costa's platoon gets ordered one more time into the meat grinder, Cost swears that if Cooney screws it up one more time, he will personally kill his Captain. This becomes the focal point of the film when Costa's Platoon gets pretty much wiped out and he seeks to avenge them.

While the scope of the battle scenes are low key due to the constraint of a limited budget, they more than make up for it in the gut wrenching intensity. The afore mentioned duel between Platoon Sergeant Tolliver and a sniper that has the few survivors of the platoon pinned down in a house. The desperate but doomed sprint across a field of Costa's platoon under murderous mortar and machine gun fire. The Lt. failing in his attempt to bazooka a tank and getting crushed by it.

But one scene stood out, even more than the shocking ending, to me. The scene when Costa's is instructing his men on how he wants them to cross a field and enter a supposedly "safe" village. The tone and cadence of his words as he gives his orders knowing he is possibly entering into a trap with his men. His voice spoke with the strength of command, yet a bit of apprehension and fear and despair. His Platoon Sergeant standing next to him providing support and resolve. Anyone who has ever served in a line unit, would feel the emotion in that scene. Recognize it.

All in all, a very good and unforgettable scene.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Tense WWII drama focusing on a small slice of the war

Author: ksneath from United States
17 August 2008

This well-acted war film focuses on the events taking place within a company of the Army National Guard during the closing months of the war in Europe, 1944. The story revolves around the relationship of the company's commanding officers (in particular one Captain Cooney played by Eddie Albert, but also his commander Lee Marvin playing the character of Col. Bartlett) with the men under their command (esp. two lieutenants played by Jack Palance and Willy Smithers).

Cpt. Cooney quickly becomes distrusted and despised by the officers and infantry men under his command due to his unreliable and cowardly behavior which puts his men in grave danger. Cooney is laying low but comfortable in his command due to his relationship with hometown local Col. Bartlett, who fancies a political career in the States after the war, and wants to portray Cooney in a good light in order to please Cooney's father, a prominent judge from back home.

The events in the film are laid out for the most part in several vignettes including the beginning establishing scene, the meeting with the Col. in Cooley's quarters, the men hold-up in a small, deserted German house, etc. However, the movie does a good job of establishing and then building both tension and detest for Cpt. Cooley.

Most all the players turn in good performances, although Palance and Cooley may have overacted in some scenes. It's an entertaining film that kept my attention all the way throughout.

I did have some reservation however, because of the plausibility of the plot. Although such a dramatic situation possibly may have or could have transpired, the likelihood of such detestable, selfish characters as Cooley and Bartlett being put in (or rising to) such a position of leadership in the U.S. Army during the WWII period is, in my opinion, extremely slim.To its credit, the film does acknowledge this in one instance where one of the main characters remarks that "the U.S. Army isn't so bad, just this one lousy little part of it!".

There were also a few instances where the actions of the soldiers simply were not realistic -- including the incompetence of the watchman in the house (if I was in that situation, I'd be watching closely!), and the violent act that each infantry man performed in the cellar. These things aside, it was still a well-acted, riveting film.

Taken as a telling of a single, isolated incident where soldiers heroically rose above the incompetence and cowardice of their commanding officers to accomplish their mission, it works. To view this as a typical occurrence or mindset of C.O.'s in the US Military, or a realistic anti-war statement would be a serious error.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly good for a 1956 movie.

Author: floyd beck from United States
18 May 2011

A 1956 movie, filmed in good quality black and white. A few slow dialog parts but overall lots of fighting and excellent script. The ending is most interesting more than once.

I must say that at my age of 60, I recognized most of the actors in this movie. It is hard not to disassociate the would-be characters of Green Acres, Beverly Hill Billies and several more who play in this war movie. But after about 15 to 20 minutes, the fine acting takes over and one is caught up in the excellent script.

The fights are well done and very true to what happened in WW2.

The quality of the movie I saw on digital TV in 2011 was excellent.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Attack" is grim war movie with over-the-top histrionics

Author: (chuck-reilly) from Los Angeles
18 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Robert Aldrich's "Attack" (1956), Eddie Albert plays a cowardly infantry officer (Captain Cooney) who remains in charge of his line unit in the waning days of World War II simply because his own commanding officer (LTC Bartlett played by Lee Marvin) is a family friend from the same hometown. Cooney's family is influential back in the States and Bartlett sees a gravy train for himself by covering up for his pal's ineptitude. It all backfires when the Germans ATTACK the unit during the early hours of the Battle of the Bulge. Lt. Costa (an overwrought Jack Palance) is under Cooney's command and warns him not to leave the men in a lurch. Seldom-seen actor William Smithers plays another junior officer in the company who tries to keep the unit intact while Cooney and Costa wage their inner battle. It's all to no avail as Cooney once again deserts his men when they need him most.

"Attack" suffers from some world-class scenery-chewing by Palance, but there's plenty of action scenes to compensate for it. The most famous and enduring image of this film is when poor Jack gets run over by a tank and almost has his arm severed off in the process. His confrontation with Eddie Albert while his arm is hanging by a thread is the high point of the movie. Richard Jaeckel, Buddy Ebsen and Robert Strauss round out the cast on the American side as PFCs sympathetic to Palance. On the German side, Peter Van Eyck is effective as an SS Tank Commander. Lee Marvin does his best with the thankless role of a rotten officer who deserves to be court-martialed. The real mystery of the movie is the fact that William Smithers never made the big time as a movie star. His performance here was as good as any of his co-stars, but he faded into relative obscurity. That's Hollywood, folks.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One man army in a non action war movie...

Author: Enchorde from Sweden
16 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there ever was a one man army, Joe Costa is that man, that army. Costa, played by Jack Palance, is a lieutenant in a company with a bad commanding captain, one who is put there only for political reason and only wants to save his own life at the expense of others. But ranking officers won't remove the captain as the company probably won't see action again. But that was before the Germans made one desperate push and put the company on the line.

But without leadership the company seems doomed, can Costa save them once again? Of course he can. But that's where the movie derails. Even if heroism is commendable and entertaining in a war movie, a one man army is too much, especially when he is fighting tanks.

Despite that, it is disappointingly little action in this. Most of the time is spent in basements or other close quarters either arguing or looking for advancing enemies. Even if that puts depth and perspective to the fighting, it must balance out. Here it is just too much of it. Especially towards the end it gets drawn out way too much and quite tedious. The end is really a great anticlimax.

Jack Palance went on to have a great career, but this will not be one of the more memorable moments of it. Lee Marvin does it better, even if his role is rather small.

I had expected more of this, as it was it wasn't much of anything. Not enough action for a war movie, but not enough depth or thought to be a credible drama either.


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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Saving Private Palance

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
29 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Released in 1956, "Attack!" was part of a group of war films which began the drift away from the more patriotic fare of the 40s and early 50s ("Halls of Montezuma", "Sands of Iwo Jima", "Objective Burma", "Bataan", "Back to Bataan", "Guadalacanal Diary", "Battleground", "Destination Tokyo", "Retreat, Hell!", "They Were Expendable", "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo", "Sergeant York" etc) and toward more contemplative, anti-war fare like "Paths of Glory", "Porkchop Hill" and three underrated foreign flicks, "Ballad of a Soldier", "The Cranes are Flying" and "Fires on the Plain".

In other words, WW2 (and the Korean War) was over and the finger pointing began. Problem is, film-makers didn't know which way to point the finger. "Attack!", like "The Caine Mutiny" two years prior, takes aim at villainous Colonels and cowardly Captains, but ultimately this is a film which exalts military values. Soldiers must fight for "their brothers", being cowardly is a "detriment to your comrades", the military "punishes bad eggs", honour, self-sacrifice and patriotism are "virtues to strive for" and the "never leave a buddy behind" ethos is celebrated at every turn.

War, in other words, is stripped of all political or ideological motives and becomes an almost cult like blood sacrifice. Some believe these films, because they are "anti romantic" and "gory", to be anti-war, but in fact they are an absolute paean to military values (and blood/violence is itself a form of romance).

Incidentally, this film ends with an infantry battle in a bombed-out town. Many find "Saving Private Ryan's" final town battle to be remarkable, but virtually every war movie in the 40s and 50s ended with either a town battle or a battle on a bridge. Spielberg crams both Alamo clichés into the end of his film.

7/10 – Jack Palance and Robert Aldrich made a number of films together, this being one of their better efforts. Nevertheless, though Palance and Lee Marvin are a blast to watch, "Attack!", like most war films, is simply intellectually dishonest. "Paths of Glory", "Ballad of a Soldier", "The Cranes are flying" and "Fires on the Plain", all released in the 50s, deal with this subject in a much better way.

Worth one viewing.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Small-scale World War II Action.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
7 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You have to wonder if the success of the Caine Mutiny, arriving on screen two years before, had anything to do with this story of a company commander who is a fruitcake and is finally killed by his men. At the time of its release it was pretty shocking. Wounded men talking about "bubbles" in their chest. Jack Palance as a lieutenant who bleeds to death. And the very idea that a captain in the U. S. Army could be a drunk, a Uriah Heep, and a coward to boot. All pretty shocking in 1956.

Actually the captain, played by Eddie Albert, needn't have been depicted as a wing nut in order to be incompetent. He might just have exemplified the Peter Principle, which, for those who don't know it, states that a person who shows competence in his job is consistently promoted until he reaches a level in the hierarchy that is beyond his skills -- and there he stays. Albert's superior officer, Lee Marvin, explains this to one of Albert's lieutenants. Make Captain Albert less of a disaster by kicking him upstairs to a desk job? Absolutely not. He could never handle it and it would reflect badly on Marvin. So Albert must remain in command of a combat company, getting good men killed right and left.

The budget was very low, the shooting lasted little over a month, and the Army would simply not cooperate for obvious reasons. It shows. The German tanks, described as "really BIG ones", are about the size of a Ford Navigator. They shot it on the back lot in California, which doesn't begin to resemble the Ardennes forest. The property department couldn't even scrape up a facsimile of a German machine gun and seems to have used a British model. Much of the money spent on the film must have gone into the talent because Eddie Albert, Jack Palance, and Lee Marvin are good, as usual. (Oddly, all three had distinguished military records in the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps, respectively.) It's not a very good movie. There are times when Albert and Palance overact, almost to the point of pain. Of course there's only so much you can do with a role if it's written poorly. (This started as a stage play.) Palance's death scene is drawn out unconscionably and Palance can hardly be said to underplay it. Whatever shock value it had has long gone. The brutality now seems modest. There's a deep flaw in Albert's role too. The consequences of his behavior don't seem disastrous enough, although his character is clearly revolting.

As if the schematic diagram weren't already obvious enough, the score underlines it. On those occasions when Albert cracks up and cuddles his rabbit-fur slippers or crawls into his bunk and pulls the covers over his head, we hear "London Bridge is Falling Down" on the xylophone.

Yet it was a true shocker in its time. I saw it on its release in the El Camino theater in San Bruno, California. Strange that things get stuck in your mind for so long. I even recall the person I saw it with. On the other hand, it was disappointing, seeing this again just now, to find that over the same period my command of German had deteriorated into a kind of benign influence over it. It would be so much more constructive if we could choose which long-term memories to keep and which to discard. Oh -- and a lot more FUN.

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

a must see

Author: loydmooney-1 from United States
12 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oddly a movie that should be seen all the way through, is more than something of a mess, in the end a sloppy film, with very few really great scenes.....and yet. Truly one of those films that people often say, it could have been so much better.

Robert Aldrich is ALWAYS interesting. And for me has never made a great movie, with perhaps the exception of Ulzana's Raid,(and the end of Flight of Phoenix) just many many studded with fabulous stuff. This is another one. Its flaw, central one that is, is not how right from the start we know exactly how its is going to end. Palance is going to kill Albert. And even though he doesn't quite, he comes within a hair trigger of doing it and we essentially learn nothing new about either character after the first scene for the rest of the movie: Palance out for revenge and the steady overacting of a coward by Albert. No, what is really wrong with the movie is Albert's constant overacting, his cowardice should have oozed almost imperceptably from him, or at least as convincingly as one of the actors soon to be mentioned.

Even the end of this one cops out. Turning the killer of Albert into a hero. Though leaving it open that once word gets up the line that nothing is going to change, that Marvin will get his political banquet once he gets stateside.

Nevertheless, there is a undeniable honesty to the work, and, by the way, it should be mentioned here that the finest performance , or at least the equal of Palance's is that of Steven Garay, the German they bring in for questioning. What a great actor this man was. Never a false note in anything he ever did, including this: just look at how you FEEL his fear, something that Albert could have borrowed. And maybe the reason Albert just never convinced me is that he was so brave in real life: pulling Marines off the beach of Tarawa in his Higgins boat in all that fire deserve a hell of a lot more than a bronze star. Tarawa was one of the bloodiest battles humans ever fought. Maybe his courage was just too hard to hide here.

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2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

attack of ennui

Author: rhinocerosfive-1 from Los Angeles
18 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted to like ATTACK, and it gets every break Jack Palance, Lee Marvin and Eddie Albert ever get from me, which is many breaks indeed; but to call this movie an overlooked gem is to confuse ice with zirconium. Marvin is indestructible, even with a cardboard character and newsprint lines, but Albert is atypically embarrassing, and Palance gives a performance so overwrought he can't stop screaming even after he's dead.

These fine actors stand around a series of bunkers, declaiming if they're playing officers or mumbling as enlisted men, their endless chatter relieved by brief exterior shots of the Albertson Ranch. A social responsibility drama right out of 50s television plays out with no visible progression of story or revelation of character. Periodically we are treated to some of the least eventful combat to come out of the ETO. Finally there's a consequence to somebody's action - who cares whose, it's all so boring; but at last Palance spends five minutes trading body blows with an armored vehicle that resembles a Panzer nearly as much as it does a Checker Cab. The Ben Holt treatment is pretty intense, but this scene by its near-competence magnifies the flaws of the previous hour and a half, and renders unwatchable the remaining fifteen minutes.

A talky war picture can be fine, if the dialog wasn't already tired back on Bataan. This story was abducted from the stage, and still feels more play than film. It looks more like a teleplay. Aldrich movies always look like they were produced for TV, but any given hour of COMBAT! at least has a developed plot, a sound act structure, and a couple of decent wisecracks. James Poe adapted several plays to the screen, with varying degrees of faithfulness and quality, but never quite so unsuccessfully as here. I haven't read FRAGILE FOX, but I hope it was better than this. It probably was as long as Aldrich didn't direct it. He doesn't pose actors so much as suspend them. Static isn't the word; it's like being surrounded by Army Surplus mannequins with moving lips. Who repeat themselves.

And the music! Frank DeVol, or DeVol, as he cunningly rechristened himself in the 60s, was born to score Summer's Eve commercials and Bionic Man episodes. Through some cosmic clerical error he was allowed a long, destructive career in cinema. He serenades us with synthetic jazz, then takes a hammer to the piano wires, plucks them, strangles them. Then he strings up a cheap little waltz to follow emotional moments. BABY JANE's music has nothing on ATTACK for pure cheesy theatrics. At least the score for BABY JANE supported Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, who were enormous enough to drown it out. By contrast, Eddie Albert and Jack Palance merely help carry DeVol and Aldrich's gigantically unpleasant tune.

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