|Index||7 reviews in total|
This is the second WWII picture I've seen from Allied Artists, the first
being the cheapo quickie HEROES DIE YOUNG. This film is far better than
HEROES DIE YOUNG but still is not very good.
ARMORED COMMAND centers on a war-weary group of GIs who are caught by surprise when Hitler launches Operation North-Wind. Most of the movie centers on a beautiful spy (Tina Louise!!) who is taken in by an exhausted squad who takes her for a French civilian. Earl Holliman, the squad leader, and a young Burt Reynolds vie for her affections. Their rivalry culminates in a massive Nazi Panzer attack on the already rubble-strewn town.
The movie features decent but typically cliched performances by Holliman, Reynolds and Louise. Howard Keel commands the unit and does all right as a tough Colonel.
The battle scenes are quite sparse. We have a brief shootout between a squad of Americans and a German machine gun in the middle; then a huge German tank assault on the town. The battle starts out well but gets monotonous as the same footage is used over and over again.
Overall, a very dull war movie that had potential but never really got off the ground. The melodramatic romance plot should have been ditched, and the movie should have approached the combat the way ATTACK did. (ATTACK is a fine film that tells of the same German attack.)
Armored Command finds Tina Louise playing a German spy plunked down in
the middle of a neglected front during the Battle Of The Bulge
counteroffensive with the Germans still trying to pull something out.
Tina's even given a shoulder wound courtesy of the Wehrmacht to make
her story convincing.
For those of you who are used to seeing Tina Louise as the vapid movie star on Gilligan's Island this will be a revelation. She's quite the cool and ruthless character.
She's left out on the front lines for a passing American patrol to find and one headed by Sergeant Earl Holliman does. She's taken back to their billet and of course everyone starts thinking with their hormones. Especially Holliman and Burt Reynolds who was in his second big screen film in Armored Command.
In the meantime the commander of the area, Colonel Howard Keel is convinced an offensive will come through there, but he's having trouble convincing the higher ups of his notion. It seems to Holliman's squad to get the job of digging up the evidence to prove Keel's theories and they've got a spy in their midst.
Armored Command was shot on location in Germany near Munich and Howard Keel relates in his memoirs he was given the job of directing some of the second unit battle scenes which he enjoyed. He did not enjoy however when one of his extras which were some US Army troops stationed in Germany nearly got killed.
Keel gets on to Louise early, but then she gets on to him getting on to her. They have an interesting battle of wits as neither of them are stupid.
The film was done by Allied Artists and maybe a bigger studio with better production values could have gotten a higher rating for it. As it is it's not a bad war film and those into that genre will probably like it.
I have to say that this film has a little spot of nostalgia for me as
it was a favorite when I was a kid. On a winter afternoon in the days
of three or four channels of TV per market, it made the grade and also
led to playing army out in the snow. Many of these actors were on the
tube at the time including Tina Louise, Burt Reynolds, and Earl
Holliman and we all liked Howard Keels performance.
This is an average war film based on a real battle that seemed meant to showcase a lot of young talent rather than anything else. I think one would have seen this at the Bijou as the second feature. It is better than a lot of the imports that were beginning to saturate the market at the time.
The casting is good and the cast is competent. Howard Keel, Warner Anderson, and Carlton Young anchor this exciting young cast. Tina Louise is the femme fatal and gives you a peak at her pre "Ginger" acting on "Gilligan's Island!" because she is an authoritative bitch when she commands her fellow spy's! Good or bad, Earl Holliman and Burt Reynolds give performances not unlike what they given throughout their entire careers.
Everyone gave this the college try in no doubt thanks to Byron Haskin's workmanlike direction. The producer of the film also wrote it which might explain the "Battleground" and other war movie clichés but this makes the film an encyclopedia of clichés and you have to be a war movie nut to notice them. Marty Feldman reminds me of the kind of role that they would have had George Tobias do. I do not know the name of the guy playing the Frenchman but he is cool right down to his beret.
In staging the battle, the budget soon starts to strain but just a bit. It is ambitious to do any film about the Battle of the Bulge and the money people had to surrender to reality very early. Still, compared to the phony Tiger tanks in "Attack" the M 60's (?) used are more than OK and the action footage creates drama. It almost looks like they used the West German Army while it was out on maneuvers. You wonder what they could have done with a fraction of the budget for "Battle of the Bulge", the Cinerama fantasy war film with super NAZI Robert Shaw that would be released a few years later or the "Longest Day" which was released just before this.
PS: The German's are at their best "Combat" acting style! I like the atmosphere of this film. I have it on in the background as I enter this. It is winter outside here and we are in the middle of a snow storm. I wonder if someone like Tina Louise is lying out there somewhere?
Plot In A Paragraph: During the battle of the bulge, a sergeant (Earl
Holliman) in charge of a small band of men finds a woman (Tina Louise)
with a gun shot wound lying in the snow. The take her to a local town
with them where they are staying at an inn as they await further
There are two parts to this movie, one that deals with the growing lack of respect that the group and in particular one soldier, a pollack named Skee (A young Burt Reynolds in only his second movie) have for the sergeant and the fact that the sergeant and Skee both have the hots for the injured woman. And one where (Howard Keel) tries to warn his superiors that his men are about to be attacked and over run any time soon.
The contrast between Holliman's and Reynolds characters could not be more different. Holliman is a love sick school boy towards to woman, where as Reynolds is the confident Alpha male who will have her, if she wants him to or not. This is the second movie in a row where Reynolds has raped a woman during his early career. Luckily he did not get typecast in such roles.
In a side note several sequences of action are repeated during the final battle scene.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's nearly all been said by the previous commentators: a mediocre
film, made more so when compared with "Attack". There were several
minor points that jarred: quite why the German officers had to give
their female spy (sporting throughout an improbably-glamorous hairdo) a
flesh wound I don't know, and their cunning plan depended on the GIs
spotting her lying (unconscious, presumably)in the middle of nowhere;
the clouds of cigarette smoke puffed out by one German, so giving his
position away; the curious attempt by the villagers to get the
Americans drunk before the German attack; and the attack itself, which
was very curiously presented.
Hordes of German soldiers and tanks assaulted the town, to be met by, apparently, only a few GIs armed with rifles and machine-guns. There was no sign of the half-tracks that Colonel Devlin had controversially positioned to stave off such an attack, but American tanks were seen roaring off. Then the German attack just fizzled out.
Good marks to young Burt Reynolds for slime, to Howard Keel for cigar-chomping and to Earl Holliman in perhaps his biggest screen role.
Armored Command is set in the Western European theatre of operations shortly
after D-Day ,and it opens promisingly with a scene showing a jeep bearing
two German officers and a young woman approaching across a snow shrouded
landscape.The woman climbs down from the jeep and walks a short distance
with the senior officer,who lights a cigarette for her and then shoots her
as she stands against the skyline.She is discovered alive by a passing
American patrol and cared for by them in a local inn they have
She is a spy sent by Germany to infiltrate the American army and feed news
back to the Abwehr.One plot strand revolves around her attempts to do so and
also tackles the impact her presence has on the patrol ,especially when the
sergeant becomes infatuated with her and a private (played in slimy and
impactful style by a pre- stardom Burt Reynolds giving the best performance
in the movie)entertains altogether less exalted designs upon her
The other main plot strand deals with the efforts of an American officer to persuade his high command that German forces still constitute a danger in the area. He is proven correct and the climactic battle scene is the best thing in an otherwise flat and bland picture which never matches its striking opening .Poor performances by Howard Keel as the cigar chomping Colonel and Tina Louise as the spy drag proceedings down and the movie never really sustains the interest beyond its neat opening. Stick with "Attack" the brilliant Robert Aldrich movie on the same campaign -that is a work of consummate genius where this is just studio double bill material
Produced by someone who had practically no knowledge of combat
realities in WW2. Forgive the tanks--though the jelly-mould appearance
of American tanks on both sides does nothing for realism, giving no
contrast with the angular shapes of actual German Mark 4's,
sturmgeschutze, Tigers and Panthers.They have no Panzerfaust and only
one Panzerschreck that I saw.
The Americans have no bazookas, and no anti-tank guns. The ubiquitous German 88mm, the best anti-tank gun of the war does not appear. The Americans oppose heavy German tanks with light machine guns--a recipe for suicide. The historical point is that the balance between tanks and infantry was swinging to the infantry at just this time as hand-held shaped-charge weapons appeared on both sides.
Bad history and an unconvincing story.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|