Allied forces land at Anzio unopposed but instead of moving straight inland their commanding officer decides to dig in. A battle-hardened war correspondent borrows a jeep and drives to Rome and back without meeting any German forces, but his report on this absence of the enemy is discounted. By the time it is finally decided to make a move the Germans have arrived in strength and a prolonged and bloody fight ensues. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Peter Falk in his 2006 auto-biography 'Just One Thing: Stories of My Life' states that he didn't like the script for this movie which he thought was hackneyed and full of cliché. Falk wanted to leave the film for these reasons. However, producer Dino De Laurentiis encouraged Falk to stay by giving him film poster name-above-the-title credit as well as choice of writer for his dialogue. Falk stayed on the picture and apparently actually wrote his own dialogue. See more »
When Stimmler and Ennis discuss the night reconnaissance of the German works, a man appears behind Sgt Stimmler's shoulder in close shot where no-one was standing in long shot. See more »
[referring to a radio that went dead]
Ain't that a bitch? A dumb, dirty stupid useless bitch!
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If you view this movie expecting to find a look at the World War II Battle of Anzio (which, given the title, wouldn't be out of the question) this is going to turn out to be a major disappointment. The actual Battle is barely dealt with (only the landing of the troops gets any real attention.) Instead, there's a very long lead-in to the battle, and then we basically follow the exploits of seven American soldiers who get stuck behind enemy lines and try desperately to get back to their comrades, led by a war correspondent named Ennis (played well enough by Robert Mitchum.) That story was suspenseful at times, but a movie with this title should have given far more information about one of the bloodiest battles in Italy during the war. Instead, all we really get told is that the Allied generals were far too timid in their approach, and that they missed a golden opportunity to occupy a largely undefended Rome. Instead, the American commander chose to concentrate on solidifying his beach-head, and the troops ended up unable to advance at all once the Germans realized what was happening. The end result - as the U.S. Commander himself notes in the movie - was summed up by no less than Winston Churchill: "I had hoped we were hurling a wildcat into the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale."
There is some philosophical reflection about warfare scattered throughout this, largely through Ennis, who wonders why men fight and kill each other. In the end he himself picks up a rifle and kills, and he comes to a sobering conclusion (which certainly has some historical credence) - "we kill because we like to." This conclusion is somewhat tempered by the closing scenes which depict a triumphant American entry into Rome, with the citizens of Rome cheering them wildly - thus suggesting that there was some noble purpose to this particular war.
Overall, though, this is a very disappointing movie about a battle of some significance (at least in cost) and the Battle of Anzio probably deserves a better treatment than this.
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