In Korea, on 6 September 1950, Lieutenant Benson's platoon finds itself isolated in enemy-held territory after a retreat. Soon they are joined by Sergeant Montana, whose overriding concern is caring for his catatonic colonel. Benson and Montana can't stand each other, but together they must get the survivors to Hill 465, where they hope the division is waiting. It's a long, harrowing march, fraught with all the dangers the elusive enemy can summon. Who will survive? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Although the G.I.'s in the film are soldiers of the U.S. Army's 24th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions, many wear Marine Corps cloth camouflage covers and World War II-type camouflage nets on their helmets. See more »
You said you wanted to get one man alive out of your platoon. Well you got your wish, only double, there's you and me. Ain't that something.
Forget it. We'll never see the morning.
Yes we will. They can't hurt us anymore now. They threw everything at us. Rifle fire, grenades, four twos, artillery. I'm telling you, they can't scratch us. If we wanted to take that hill, we could take it easy, the two of us.
We're lucky, we're lucky. With guts we'll take 'em. We still got the ...
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Anthony Mann, one of my favorite Hollywood genre directors, excelled in noirs and Westerns; however, in this film - and the subsequent THE HEROES OF TELEMARK (1965) - he showed that he was almost as equally adept at war movies, too.
Despite the fact that the film is little more than a standard actioner, one of the countless tough black-and-white combat films to emerge in the wake of A WALK IN THE SUN (1946), Mann handles the proceedings admirably; significantly enough, he nabbed a Directors Guild Award nod for this film rather than for his other more highly-regarded works like, say, WINCHESTER '73 (1950), THE NAKED SPUR (1953) and MAN OF THE WEST (1958).
The combat sequences certainly deliver the goods (particularly the killing of a black member of the outfit by the silent enemy and an intense mine-field crossing sequence) and the battle-of-wits between the rugged Robert Ryan and the tough Aldo Ray - who later teamed up again under Mann's direction for GOD'S LITTLE ACRE (1958) - as well as the unusual relationship between shell-shocked Colonel Robert Keith and Ray keep one watching. The film also features notable roles for Nehemiah Persoff (who goes crazy under the strain of combat and perishes for it) and Vic Morrow as a cowardly soldier who makes good in the end by agreeing to join on a suicidal mission; Elmer Bernstein's score, then, is suitably evocative, effectively complementing the on-screen action.
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