So many remakes get produced these days, and so many of those turn out to be HORRIBLE decisions. Here is a screenplay that, with just a wee bit of work and a reasonable budget, could be made into one fine film. As it stands, this is an uneven picture with many moments of sheer brilliance. The saber-charging Cossacks are a terrifying lot. The scream of the rockets over the horizon, even with the deficient mono soundtrack, is truly hair-raising, especially considering the limited technology and budget that must have been available in that time and place. Other reviewers have objected to the heroic status conveyed to the Russians, both combatant and non-. Well, some of them WERE heroes, and but for their heroics there would have been a lot more Nazis for US to fight! I'm sorry if that upsets those laboring under neo-con delusions out there, but too bad for you.
And there was certainly no shortage of heroes, and victims, among the ranks of the Italians. If you ever visit Italy, tour some of the little villages in the countryside. In the town square you'll often find an ornate statue dedicated to their World War I dead, usually five or six names, or maybe a few more, depending on the size of the town. Somewhere near you'll typically find a simple block of granite bearing the names of their sons who never came back from North Africa, Greece, and the Eastern Front in the next war, names that may number in the dozens or even hundreds. Just as the story of Corelli's Mandolin deserves to be told correctly, so does this one.
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