We follow a band of American soldiers as they engage the Germans in a snowy, foggy winter near Bastogne in World War II. They're low on fuel, rations, and ammunition; the Germans are constantly encouraging their surrender via radio and leaflets, and most importantly, the pervasive thick fog makes movement and identification difficult and prevents their relief by Allied air support. This film focuses much more on the psychology and morale of the soldiers than on action footage and heroics. Written by
Michael C. Berch <email@example.com>
At the beginning of the movie Holley (Van Johnson) enters the tent wearing a class A uniform. Although currently worn above the ribbon rack, at the time the film takes place, the Combat Infantryman Badge was worn on the left breast pocket, below the ribbons. See more »
[at an interfaith service for the soldiers]
Now it's nearly Christmas... and here we are in beautiful Bastogne enjoying the winter sports. And the $64 question is: "Was this trip necessary?" I'll try to answer that. But my sermons, like everything else in the army... depend on the situation and the terrain. So I assure you this is going to be a quickie. Was this trip necessary? Let's look at the facts. Nobody wanted this war but the Nazis. A great many people tried to deal with them, and a lot ...
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"Battleground" is a curious film that came out of Hollywood in 1949. WWII had been over, so the public was not wishing for more war films at the time. Yet, MGM went ahead with this project and gave it to William Wellman, a veteran director who knew his craft. The film was written by Robert Pirosh.
The movie is a curiosity also because it was shot in Culver City, yet, at times, it gives the impression of having been shot on location in the Ardennes. The casting of some of the best acting talents MGM had under contract at the time contributes to give the film another dimension, as the viewer becomes involved with these men that are trying to survive during the worst possible conditions.
In spite of some of the criticism in this forum, the film has a real feeling because it stresses the dependency among the men that are caught in the conflict. Their every day lives back home is at the center of the conversation one hears the men talk about. Wives, children, sweethearts, parents, and even popular figures of the pop culture, like Bette Grable, are the basis of communication as the men idle away waiting to be called to fight the enemy.
Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, Leon Ames, and a wonderful James Whitmore, are seen as the soldiers around Bastogne. Denise Darcel is seen as the kind French woman who befriends the soldiers.
Ultimately, "Battleground" is William Wellman's tribute to the men in uniform.
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