During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in China, U.S. Marine Major Matt Lewis, aided by British Consul Sir Arthur Robertson, devises a strategy to keep the rebels at bay until an international military relief force arrives.
I avoided "Attack on the Iron Coast" when it was released, given the "B" cast, poor reviews and little promotion by United Artists. Having watched it, I discover a movie with superb performances by Lloyd Bridges and Andrew Keir (in fact, the entire cast)and better production values than "A" list war movies such as "In Harms Way," "Tobruk" and "Operation Crossbow".
This is the only movie Paul Wendkos directed that has impressed me. Using oblique camera angles and careful pacing, he manages to get the most out of his meager budget. Likewise, the producers managed a much more expensive looking movie, along the lines of "The Dirty Dozen," with many more sets to dress. The photography here is equally as good as "In Harm's Way". Too bad the script isn't better,with a rather trite subplot to explain Keir's conflict with Bridges. Keir's arguments against the raid did not require them. What I did like about the script is that what appeared to be obstacles Keir used to "sabotage" the raid actually contributed to its success.
I must disagree with another reviewer regarding the ship miniatures. They look realistic on my computer screen. However, I have seen other movies ("In Harms Way," "633 Squadron," "The Guns of Navarone") where the miniatures and flats looked perfectly fine on the big screen but not on TV. In fact, in both "War of the Worlds" (1953) and "Thunderball" (1965), the wires holding up the models can be clearly seen on television, but not the big screen and both of these films were nominated for Oscars ("War of the Worlds" winning).
I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this film by overpraising it. So, please go into it with an open mind and judge it by 1968 technical standards. I believe you won't be disappointed.
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