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Highly fictionalized account of the formation of the US Army's First Ranger Battalion in World War II and their first commanding officer Major (later, Lieutenant-Colonel) Orlando Darby. The idea was to create a US unit along the lines of the British commandos. In this account, which focuses on several fictional characters, the story is initially on their training in Scotland and the lives and loves their encounter while there. Their first combat mission was in the invasion of North Africa in 1942, followed by the invasion of Sicily and then Italy itself, including the amphibious landing at Anzio. Written by
I'm sorry to say that this film, which is James Garner's first leading role, is a mess. And almost all of the fault is in the writing.
There have been other films about military teams in training. And they have been better than this.
We can thank the writing for some horrible characters. And some terrible plots. They try to mix training scenes with scenes concerning the personal lives of the men, but it's all a mess.
I wish I could list all the times I cringed in response to a particular line, but that is not possible. They follow one another like lemmings.
Some visual effects were also off-putting, like when they trainees are rappelling up a cliff and one man's line comes loose and he plummets to the ground. The entire scene was contrived, amateurish and poorly done.
Obviously there are some people who liked this film, but I cannot recommend it.
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