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"Tales from the Crypt" Yellow (1991)

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

TALES FROM THE CRYPT: YELLOW (TV) (Robert Zemeckis, 1991) ***

7/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
27 October 2007

Not really horror, this is actually a variation on one of star Kirk Douglas' best films – Stanley Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY (1957). The episode is similarly set on the frontlines of WWI combat; Douglas, however, has George Macready's old role (with Dan Aykroyd acting, more or less, as the defense counsel of the soldier accused of cowardice). The latter, then, is surprisingly well played by Douglas' own real-life son Eric (the characters are likewise related in the story). Apart from offering a good role for Lance Henriksen as well, we get an unflinching display of carnage here (not to mention, some unexpected smattering of foul language). Generally compelling, thought-provoking and poignant, this emerges a nice try all round.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The futility and the slaughter

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
28 July 2013

One of Kirk Douglas's very few television roles was in this episode of Tales From The Crypt. He plays an American general in World War I who has the distasteful duty of dealing with his real life son Eric who plays a cowardly lieutenant who leaves Sergeant Lance Henriksen out in No Man's Land on a patrol. The dying Henriksen condemns him and Kirk has no choice but to order a court martial for his son.

At the beginning of the show it is emphasized that the company had been 49 straight days on the line in combat and World War I saw the futility and slaughter that was trench warfare. A stalemate of four years where gains were measured in yards. Eric who never wanted a military career and did it only to please his father now faces death.

One of Kirk Douglas's best films is Paths Of Glory also with a World War I setting and dealing with a whole division of French soldiers who've decided they just had enough. The parallels between that classic and this television episode are too obvious to ignore.

And in real life Eric Douglas predeceased his parents the most awful tragedy that any parent can face. Both Douglases, Henriksen, and Dan Ackroyd as a captain give fine performances in one of the best Tales Of The Crypt episodes ever done. No supernatural here, the hell created is war, a man made invention.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A war story

10/10
Author: SleepTight666 from Netherlands
11 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An extraordinary achievement for Tales from the Crypt.

One of the best things about this show is that not all episodes are horror -- and usually the ones that aren't, are top-notch.

This episode is about a cowardly soldier during World War 1, his father is a general and feels deeply embarrassed for his son.

During his most important mission, he fails to do anything and lets his men die. This causes his father to sentence him to death.

The guy, Martin, is afraid to die so his father explains to him that he will swap the bullets in the guns with blanks. The only favor he asks of his son is to pretend like he is courageous during the 'fake' execution.

Well, turns out that he didn't swap the bullets with blanks, he just wanted to have his son die like a 'man'.

The episode is very well written, especially for this show's standards. And the performances are top-notch, loved to see Lance Henriksen make another appearance.

Overall, one of the best, if not the best episode of the show.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent change of pace non-horror episode

9/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
22 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

1918. The 49th day of continuous combat against the Germans in France. Craven Lt. Martin Kalthrob (a fine performance by Eric Douglas) chickens out and deserts his men during a crucial mission. Martin's hard-nosed father General Kalthrob (a superbly steely portrayal by Kirk Douglas) has no choice but to execute his own son by firing squad after he's found guilty of cowardice. Director Robert Zemeckis, working from a smart and absorbing script by Jim Thomas, John Thomas, A.L. Katz, and Gilbert Adler, builds a tremendous amount of tension, offers a gritty depiction of the horrific reality of war, and delivers a vivid and credible evocation of the period setting. The ace acting from a tip-top cast rates as a major asset: The intense and utterly convincing chemistry between the senior Douglas and his real-life son keeps things cracking throughout, the always dependable Lance Henriksen contributes a stand-out turn as angry and profane ramrod Sergeant Ripper, and Dan Aykroyd excels in a refreshing straight dramatic part as the pragmatic Captain Milligan. Moreover, there's a good deal of graphic carnage, the opening battle set piece is staged with real skill and brio, and the inevitable grim ending packs a potently chilling emotional punch. The slick and agile cinematography by Don Burgess gives this episode an impressively lavish look. Alan Silvestri's robust'n'rousing score does the stirring trick. A worthy closer to the third season.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"Those damn Germans, they're everywhere!" A different sort of Tales from the Crypt.

6/10
Author: Paul Andrews (poolandrews@hotmail.com) from UK
18 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Crypt: Yellow is set 'somewhere in France' during '1918' where after 49 continuous days of fighting Lieutenant Martin Kalthrob (Eric Douglas) orders his mens retreat as he realises his men are fighting a losing battle. Back at HQ & Sergeant Ripper (Lance Henriksen) reports to General Kalthrob (Kirk Douglas) who happens to be the Lieutenants father & claims his son is a 'yellow' coward, General Kalthrob confronts his son who is afraid to die & says he can get him transfered from the front line if he goes on one last mission to prove he isn't a coward. His son agrees but the mission goes badly & this time three soldiers die as a result of his cowardice which gets back to the General who sentences his son to death via firing squad but can he really go through with the execution of his own son...

This Tales from the Crypt story was episode 14 from season 3, the second of three Tales from the Crypt episodes to be directed by the show's regular producer Robert Zemeckis this isn't what you might expect from this series but I thought it was decent enough all the same. The script by Jim Thomas, John Thomas, A L Katz & Gilbert Adler was based on a story from the 'ShockSuspense Stories' comic book & definitely isn't horror or supernatural, it isn't really even a thriller as it feels more like a war drama with a trademark twist at the end which isn't really shocking but rounds things off nicely enough. This is maybe the longest Tales from the Crypt episode that was made, at almost 40 minutes in length compared to just about every other episode I've ever seen which run for less than 30. Despite not being horror orientated I thought Yellow had a decent enough story & passed the time harmlessly enough, overall I actually quite liked it.

This one looks really good & obviously had decent money behind it, the production values are very good with authentic World War II period detail. There's no much gore although there are some battle scenes as someone has their hand shot off, there are some injured soldiers covered in blood, with their guts hanging out & one with a missing leg. Apparently Yellow was one of three Tales from the Crypt episodes which were made for another anthology series along with The Showdown & King of the Road which never happened so they were given Crypt Keeper (John Kassir) opening & closing segments & packaged as Tales from the Crypt episodes & that would explain why they are so far removed from the usual Tales from the Crypt stories in spirit. The acting is good by a impressive cast including Henriksen, Dan Aykroyd & father & son Kirk & Eric Douglas but where's Michael?

Yellow is a decent little World War II story with a moral message that is an OK way to pass 40 odd minutes but if your looking for a traditional Tales from the Crypt episode forget it. A strange way to end season 3.

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