In 1944, Capt. Josiah J. Newman is the doctor in charge of Ward 7, the neuropsychiatric ward, at an Army Air Corps hospital in Arizona. The hospital is under-resourced and Newman scrounges ... See full summary »
1935. A group of elderly British women, who the Italians have named the Scorpioni, have chosen Italy, specifically Florence, as a place to live to blend their proper British sensibilities ... See full summary »
A bad Polish actor is just trying to make a living when what should intrude but World War II in the form of an invasion. His wife has the habit of entertaining young Polish officers while ... See full summary »
Greek Sea, World War II. An Italian ship leaves a handful of soldiers in a little island; their mission is to spot enemy ships and to hold the island in case of attack. The village of the ... See full summary »
Sgt. Thorne Ryan, who once fought bravely in Korea, now serves as a hard-nosed drill instructor to new Army recruits at Fort Bliss, Texas. But is he really the man he is often described as?... See full summary »
During the build-up to D-Day in 1944, the British found their island hosting many thousands of American soldiers who were "oversexed, overpaid, and over here". That's Charlie Madison exactly; he knows all the angles to make life as smooth and risk-free as possible for himself. But things become complicated when he falls for an English woman, and his commanding officer's nervous breakdown leads to Charlie being sent on a senseless and dangerous mission. Written by
William Windom is incorrectly credited as Capt. Harry Spaulding, but he wears the insignia of a Lt. Cmdr. See more »
Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. Madison:
Hi, Harry. It'll only be a few moments, sir. Put that hand luggage in the automobile. Paul? Paul!
Chief Petty Officer Paul Adams:
Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. Madison:
Put the footlocker in the jeep. Everything else goes in the two-and-a-half. Unloading shouldn't take long, so you won't be more than a few minutes behind us. I'll see you back at the hotel. Harry. Is everything set at the hotel?
[Slaps driver on butt]
Female driver, unidentified:
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The three women that James Coburn sleeps with are collectively credited as "The Three Nameless Broads (in order of appearance)". See more »
Overlooked Gem Looks Angrily and Wittily at the American Military Propaganda Machine
Masterfully scripted by Paddy Chayefsky, this 1964 anti-war film is not quite a classic but nonetheless an unexpected treat and one that deserves resurrection by a new generation of viewers. Set in WWII London, the dark hearted plot focuses on Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Madison, an especially notorious personal assistant to the mentally unstable Admiral William Jessup. Madison's job is to make sure Jessup gets anything he wants, and he has a warehouse full of contraband to back him up. Smug in his self-awareness about his cowardice, he meets Emily Barham, an English war widow who has lost her father and brother as well as her husband to the war. She is repulsed by Madison's manipulative agenda and cavalier materialism, and he finds her priggish and self-righteous. Needless to say, they fall in love. Complicating matters is Jessup's hare-brained scheme to ensure the first casualty of the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach be a naval man. Without a glimmer of irony recognized, the admiral assigns Madison and his colleague "Buzz" Cummings to find the appropriate sailor and film his heroic death.
The sheer audacity of this task is a hallmark of Chayefsky's vitriolic style, and the film is full of his brittle, observant dialogue and sharply articulate soliloquies. You need an actor of consummate charm and cunning to play Madison effectively, and Garner responds by turning in one of the best performances of his long career. He shows not only his deft comedic touch but also a piercing insight into the integrity that can come from an acknowledged lack of courage. Squeezed in between her twin juggernauts of sugar, "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music", Julie Andrews gives an intelligent, passionate performance as Emily that actually eclipses her acting in either mega-hit. The movie's title comes from her character's resistance to what she sees as cheapening her values by becoming more American. Together, they not only spark romantically but also trade speeches of barbed cynicism making Chayefsky's words fly off the page with supple dexterity.
Screen stalwart Melvyn Douglas is a terrifically befuddled blowhard as Jessup, while an especially energetic James Coburn aggressively turns "Buzz" into a monomaniacal yes-man. Joyce Grenfell is superb in her few scenes as Emily's no-nonsense mother. For interested baby boomers, you can even see future "Laugh-In" regulars Alan Sues and Judy Carne in bit parts, as well as the late Sharon Tate. If there is a weakness to the film, it comes from Arthur Hiller's pedestrian direction making the film more episodic than it should. The 2005 DVD package has a sharp print of the film and includes Hiller's informative commentary on an alternate track. He is understandably proud of the film since his subsequent work ("Love Story", "Making Love") has not even come close to the quality of this production. There is also a short, "Action on the Beach", which shows how the realistic filming of the D-Day scene was executed. It would be interesting to see this film in a double bill with Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" to get alternative perspectives on the same event.
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