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Attack (1956) Poster

(1956)

Trivia

Although he plays a coward in this film, in real life Eddie Albert, who served in WW II, was a war hero. At the Battle of Tarawa (1943), while braving heavy enemy fire, he rescued over 70 wounded Marines, loading them on to his landing craft and taking them back to other ships to receive medical care. For these actions he was award the Bronze Star with "V" device for valor.
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Records in the Department of Defense Film Collection at Georgetown University Library suggest that both the US Department of Defense and the US Army refused to assist with the production of this movie based on its film script. Just before production filming began on 16 January 1956, a 13 January 1956 letter from the Office of the Chief of Information of the Department of the US Army said that this film's movie script "is a very distasteful story and derogatory of Army leadership during combat including weak leadership, cowardice, and finally, the murder of the Company Commander." Moreover, a 26 January 1956 Department of Defense memo reiterated this, concurring with the "Army appraisal." The upshot of this was that the production were forced to buy or hire army and military equipment and weapons and could not loan or borrow them from those Defense arms.
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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 Robert Aldrich to view any Signal Corps footage. Aldrich managed to rent two tanks; by careful staging and ingenuity, he was able to convey the impression that many more were being used.
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Congressman Melvin Price openly criticized the military for their non-involvement in the film, calling it a "shameful attempt at censorship". United Artists were only too happy to exploit this with teaser posters asking "Is this the most controversial picture of the year?" On the back of this, the film grossed nearly $2 million (United Artists had projected a gross of around $20,000).
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Cast member Richard Jaeckel said of this film in Edwin T. Arnold's biography, "The Films and Career of Robert Aldrich": "There were scenes of incredible tension--Palance [Jack Palance] coming down the stairs to get Albert [Eddie Albert]--we were all impressed, even in rehearsals. It was a heavy project."
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On the 27 February 1956, director Robert Aldrich wrote a letter to the Chief of the Motion Picture Section of the Pictorial Branch of the US Department of Defense (DOD), Donald Baruch, protesting this movie's rejection by the US Army and US DOD. It stated: "Theatrically and film wise, moral values are measured in comparatives; strength is measured against weakness; heroics against cowardice . . . We feel strongly that our film is one that shows beyond question qualities of moral righteousness, leadership, courage, heroism and above all, personal integrity on the part of both enlisted men and officers of the Army. To make characters white it is necessary to have a reflective comparison against characters that are not white. Such is the case in our film." In a later 11 March 1956 reply letter, Aldrich added: "No citizen sets out intentionally to defame the defense organization of his country. There obviously can and at times should be differences of opinion as to what is for the good of the country and what is not. Should one lose such an argument at such a level, fine, but never to have the chance or the opportunity to make that argument to me seems a little ridiculous."
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Eddie Albert was approaching his fiftieth birthday at the time of filming, making him much older than the character he played. However, director Robert Aldrich felt it didn't matter since Albert looked young for his age. During his lifetime Albert's year of birth was often given as 1908, although he was actually born in 1906.
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Cast members Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Peter van Eyck and Eddie Albert were all World War Ii veterans.
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Robert Aldrich said of this film in Edwin T. Arnold's biography "The Films and Career of Robert Aldrich": "My main anti-war argument was 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." Aldrich added that the film was meant to be a "sincere plea for peace."
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Made on the RKO lot in only 35 days for a minimal budget of $750,000.
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Combat and battle sequences were filmed on the back-lot of two studios: The RKO-Pathé Studios back-lot and the Universal Studios back-lot. They were also shot on the Albertson Ranch in Agoura, California.
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Apparently, women were banned from being on the set according to the production notes press-book for this movie. This was done in order to establish authenticity for the actors.
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Before production commenced, "The Hollywood Reporter" stated that Robert Francis, John Goddard, Tom Laughlin and Ralph Reed were going to appear in this movie. None, however, did. Francis died shortly before production began.
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According to the 19 February 1956 edition of 'The New York Times', the production budget cost for this movie was US $ 850,000.
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Film debut of William Smithers.
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Although the mg-34 and the mg-42 were seen and used widely throughout the war, the German Army had the MG 08 machine gun from WW1 that served on into WW2. The MG 08 is a water cooled machine gun similar in appearance to the M1917 Browning Heavy Machine Gun. The MG 08 is a derivative the famous 1884 Maxim machine gun.
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Cast members Richard Jaeckel and Lee Marvin would go on to appear in director Robert Aldrich's later hugely successful World War II war movie, The Dirty Dozen (1967). The two would also reprise their "Dirty Dozen" characters in The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985).
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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.
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The German tanks in this film appear to be based on the American M3 Stuart light tank with the same chassis and hull, but; with a modified turret.
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The SS rank title for Captain is Hauptsturmführer and the Wehrmacht rank title is Hauptmann/Rittmeister.
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The scene where Lt. Costa hits private Ricks, should have never happened if Sgt. Tolliver had done his job. Tolliver as the platoon sergeant should have understood what his lieutenant wanted and should have had Ricks keeping his eyes open and watching enemy movement. If he was even more responsible, he would have been doing the observation himself, as he was more experienced and knew what to watch for. There being only three (3) privates a platoon sergeant and a lieutenant, made the sergeants job easier. If you watched "Band of Brothers" and noted what 1st Sergeant Lipton did, you will know what is mean. Both Tech Sergeant and 1st Sergeant are senior non-commissioned officers (NCO's), with the Tech Sergeant being the highest NCO slot available at the platoon level, they are responsible for the enlisted men.
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