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In 1944, a company of German soldiers on the Russian front are numbed by the horrors and hardships of war when Private Ernst Graeber's long awaited furlough comes through. Back home in Germany, he finds his home bombed. While hopelessly searching for his parents, he meets lovely Elizabeth Kruse, daughter of a political prisoner; together they try to wrest sanity and survival from a world full of hatred. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Douglas Sirk film from Universal Pictures in 1958 -- this is probably the wrong combination of director, studio, and year for a grim movie about Germany in the last months of World War II. Everything, including John Gavin's well-coiffed hair, looks a bit too "Hollywood."
However, this disconnect between style and substance has its advantages, too, creating an underlying sort of tension which keeps the movie from being labeled a failure.
Watch the supporting cast for Jock Mahoney, Klaus Kinski, and Dana ("Jim") Hutton. Lilo Pulver is an earnest but uncompelling leading lady and John Gavin never looked handsomer. (And that's saying something!) You need to wait about 50 minutes before he takes his shirt off and the resulting scene is disappointingly brief but any sight of The Chest is a cause for celebration.
Point to ponder: would any Hollywood studio risk this kind of ending in today's market?
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