4/10
Not Wellman's finest hour
28 May 2012
Routine, by-the-numbers war film made on an off-day by the great William A. Wellman. It's no better, and somewhat worse, than other WW II films of that era, with some sappy and contrived love stories thrown in. Although Wellman hadn't made "B" pictures for years, that's just what this one comes across as--far too much of it is shot on sound stages (apparently to save money on location shooting) which makes it look cheap, as does the surfeit of poorly integrated newsreel stock footage, and what little action there is isn't particularly well done. The script is, to be honest, awful, and the acting--other than Garner, whose first major role this was and who's quite good and Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, who plays an arrogant young West Point officer on his first combat assignment--is for the most part pedestrian, with the tired stereotypes you see in pretty much every war picture: the slow-witted hillbilly, the fast-talking city slicker, the weary veteran sergeant, etc.

Overall, it's slow and boring, with some unnecessary comedy relief thrown in and too much attention paid to the GIs' love interests. Not one of Wellman's better films, by a long shot.
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