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Olivia de Havilland,
During the Korean War, the lieutenant in charge of a Marine rifle platoon is killed in battle. Before he dies, he places the platoon's sergeant, who's black, in charge. The sergeant figures on having trouble with two men in his platoon: a private who has much more combat experience than he does, and a racist Southerner who doesn't like blacks in the first place and has no intention of taking orders from one. Written by
During the Korean War, up in the snowy mountains, a marine platoon is attacked and their lieutenant is killed. But just before he dies he places the platoon sergeant, Eddie Towler, in charge. Towler is black and has to get his men to safety amidst racial tension and constant in fighting.
All The Young Men is a Saturday afternoon time filler of a movie. Not brilliant, but certainly not bad. Sidney Poitier takes the lead role as Towler and gives it his usual guts and emotional thunder. Alongside Poitier is Alan Ladd, who at 47 was coming to the end of his career. Now if one can cast aside that Ladd was a bit old to be bombing around the snow laden mountains, then his interplay with Poitier is actually very good. It certainly gives the character's edge, and thus keeps the picture being the character driven piece it's meant to be.
This is no stock war film with blitzkrieg battles and dirty dozen like shenanigans, this is men holed up in a mountain station forced to win the battles amongst themselves in order to win the war. Nicely shot in stark black and white on location at the Glacier National Park, Montana, All The Young Men is very much a mood piece. Odd then that the makers shoehorn in some light relief courtesy of Mort Sahl's Corporal Crane. It's not Sahl's fault of course, but it doesn't sit right in context with the story. It's as if someone said to director and writer Hall Bartlett, you can't make an overtly bleak mood piece, put some fun in there!
Still this was one I had a real good time with, partly because of its two lead actors and partly because of the locale. It's recommended on proviso that you expect character over action, oh yes sir. 7/10
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