An American tanker is sunk by a German U-boat and the survivors spend eleven days at sea on a raft. They're next assigned to the liberty ship "Sea Witch" bound for Murmansk through the sub-stalked North Atlantic.
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>
According to the book "The MGM Story" by John Douglas Eames, this movie was a remarkable case of MGM history repeating itself. When Irving Thalberg planned to make The Big Parade (1925), Louis B. Mayer said no one wanted a war drama in 1925. Now Dore Schary, the "new Thalberg", had brought a pet project over from RKO, where Howard Hughes had vetoed it, and Mayer said no one wanted a war drama in 1949." See more »
Near the end of the film, when the C-47s are paradropping supplies to the soldiers, one of the stock footage pieces is of paratroopers jumping from planes, not supplies being dropped. See more »
What's going on?
Me and General McAulliffe decided to move I Company up on the line. That is if you agree.
See more »
Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
"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.
25 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this