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Bitter Victory (1957)

 -  Drama | War  -  March 1958 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 968 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 26 critic

A commander receives a citation for an attack on Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved as the commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: Bitter Victory (1957)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Leith
...
Major Brand (as Curt Jurgens) (as Curd Jurgens: in closing credits)
...
Jane Brand
Raymond Pellegrin ...
Mekrane
Anthony Bushell ...
General Paterson
Alfred Burke ...
Lt.Colonel Callander
Sean Kelly ...
Lieutenant Barton
Ramón de Larrocha ...
Lieutenant Sanders (as Ramon De Larrocha)
...
Sergeant Barney
Ronan O'Casey ...
Sergeant Dunnigan
Fred Matter ...
Oberst Lutze
Raoul Delfosse ...
Lieutenant Kassel
Andrew Crawford ...
Private Roberts
...
Private Wilkins
Harry Landis ...
Private Browning
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Storyline

In North Africa during World War II, Major David Brand is assigned to lead a British commando raid into German-held Benghazi to retrieve whatever documents they can lay their hands on at the German headquarters. His number two will be Capt. Jimmy Leith who speaks Arabic fluently and knows Benghazi well. Brand also learns that Leith and his beautiful wife Jane were lovers before the war creating tension between the two. Brand is untested in battle and freezes at a critical moment, losing the respect of his men. After the raid, the trek back is arduous and takes it's toll on the men. It also results in only one of the two senior officers surviving. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

commander | rommel | raid | africa | well | See All (166) »

Taglines:

30 Fighting "Desert rats" Invade Africa's Fortress! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

March 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bitter Victory  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon seeing this at the Venice Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard said his iconic statement "Le cinema, c'est Nicholas Ray (The cinema is Nicholas Ray)." See more »

Quotes

Jane Brand: What if he doesn't come back?
Capt. Leith: Then he and I and you become part of history, of its futility.
Jane Brand: Don't talk to me in riddles, Jimmy.
Capt. Leith: It's a long time since I was in Libya. The Romans built wonderful cities in Libya: dead bones sticking out of the sand. War rolled over them. It'll be good to see them again.
Jane Brand: You always seemed to prefer stones to people.
Capt. Leith: I've learned things from stones.
Jane Brand: What?
Capt. Leith: All that people have forgotten in the centuries.
Jane Brand: I seem to remember I was less than a stone to you. I loved ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The producer gratefully acknowledges the kind cooperation of the British war office and of her majesty's forces in Lybya." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Antonioni remakes Flying Leathernecks...
21 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As it were...The 2 films (this one and Flying Leathernecks) have more in common than one would like to believe, given the fact that F.L. is often thought of as not a "real" Ray film. But the rivalry between 2 military men who dance around the same rank (one being generally subservient - not by choice - to the other) is in both cases treated as as much a psychological issue as an issue of military discipline. The difference is that in F.L. the psychological aspect is soft-pedaled (except for a couple of key scenes). I have to admit that there are a couple of ways that I prefer F.L. Obviously, Bitter Victory is a much finer and more fully realized film. But it feels failed to me in some important ways: it seems to aspire to the status of independent artwork (the score, the long scenes of trudging through the desert), and as such it is not totally successful. It doesn't break free of its genre moorings the way Fuller or Sirk or Ophuls (etc.) can and often do. F.L. doesn't pretend to be more than it is: it stays solidly within genre conventions, easy resolution and all. Its lack of aspiration makes it easier to watch, to some degree. There are unforgettable moments in Bitter Victory: the scorpion, the camel bladder, the raid, the dance, the fight in the street (pure Ray). But the whole doesn't convince me, the issues don't move me. Ray often seems poised between Kazanian script and actor - driven film-making on one hand and more personal crazy auteurist cinema on the other. I haven't had that revelation that caused Godard to say "the cinema is Nicholas Ray". I'll keep trying.


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