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A young American serviceman, stationed in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich, jeopardises his position with the Marshall Plan relief effort by breaking the non-fraternisatiom rule and falling in love with a young German woman. He uses his position to obtain food and luxuries for her that are in short supply, and all seems to be going well for the couple. What he doesn't realise is that the Werewolves, the Nazi guerrilla movement, have plans in which he features heavily. Written by
Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
***SPOILERS*** One of director's Samuel Fuller's lesser known movies that watching it now, over forty years after it's release in 1959, strikes a cord in it's uncanny similarity in what's happening in Iraq/Afghanistan with the US Military engaged in guerrilla war-fear with local insurgents.
Basically a love story between a GI and German woman the movie goes a lot deeper into the disenchantment of the German people back in 1945 who felt that their being slowly driven to mass starvation by the occupying US military. Being saved from being shot on the spot by the advancing Waffen SS by a German girl Helga, Susan Coming, GI Sgt. David Brent, James Best, later marries her after the war; even though it's forbidden by the US Military Occupying Gvernment for Americans to fraternized with the local German population.
David getting a job in the food distribution section of the US 45th Infantry Division which incidentally had an Indian Nazi-like swastika as it's combat symbol, until 1940 when it was changed to a Thunder-bird, has no trouble getting his wife and her infirmed mother Frau Schiller, Anna Hope, and younger brother Franz, Harold Daye, all the food and medicine that they need. But the other Germans in the little town of Rothbach are on the brink of revolt due to the corruption and black-market racketeering by Americans and their hand-picked Germans employees handling the desperately needed supplies.
With the defeated and disbanded Nazis seeing a chance to regain power they start to form guerrilla-like units, among the German Hitler youth and Army POW's, called werewolves that create havoc, much like whats happening today in Iraq, among the US forces in the German Bavarian province where Rothbach is located. The head of the local werewolf unit is Helga's childhood friend Bruno, Tom Pittman, who's both a fanatical Nazi as well as working undercover, for the werewolves, for the US Military Government in town.
Bruno recruits young Franz into the werewolves who at first is very eager to fight for his country against the hated occupying US military. Later when his older sister Helga takes Franz to the Hall of Justice in Nuremberg to see the top Nazis standing trial, and films of what their accused of doing, he quickly changes his mind and turns against Bruno. Bruno who seemed to care even less about his fellow Germans then US military is exposed as a ruthless exploiter of his own people by fellow werewolf Helmuth, Dick Kallman. Thats when Helmuth found out that Bruno was using the werewolves to pompously, by blowing up supply trains, keep much needed medical equipment and drugs from the people in Rothbach. Thus making it look like the US was doing it in order to get them to revolt against the Americans.
Having Helmuth, on the orders of Bruno, beaten tried and executed for treason right in front of him has now the very troubled, as well as enlightened, Franz decide to get a hold of the secret papers that Bruno has that are plans to take over Germany through a nation-wide werewolf guerrilla war. With all this going on Bruno also takes the time to break-up Helga, who's now pregnant, and Davids marriage by telling David that Helga doesn't love him and only married David to get him to give her and her mother and brother free food and shelter.
A bit uneven in parts with the movie trying to balance a love story with a post-war thriller. For a time you almost forget that Helga is even in the movie with it totally focusing on the werewolf movement and when Helga later takes young Franz to Nuremberg it took a while to realize just who she was, David's wife, since you had the impression that she was somehow killed off earlier in the film. James Best as Sgt. David Brant was by far the best actor in the movie, with Tom Pittmans Bruno Eckart a close second. Bests confrontation with Helga towards the end of the film over her taking advantage of him, which turned out to be a big lie made up by Bruno, was as effective emotionally charged and on par with Marlon Brando's electrifying performance in "Streetcar Named Desire".
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