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Fixed Bayonets! (1951)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama, War | 6 December 1951 (USA)
The story of a platoon during the Korean War. One by one Corporal Denno's superiors are killed until it comes to the point where he must try to take command responsibility.

Director:

Samuel Fuller

Writers:

Samuel Fuller (screenplay), John Brophy (suggested by a novel by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Basehart ... Cpl. Denno
Gene Evans ... Sgt. Rock
Michael O'Shea ... Sgt. Lonergan
Richard Hylton ... Medic John Wheeler
Craig Hill ... Lt. Gibbs
Skip Homeier ... Whitey
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Storyline

The story of a platoon during the Korean War. One by one Corporal Denno's superiors are killed until it comes to the point where he must try to take command responsibility.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 December 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rearguard See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut (uncredited) of Paul Richards. See more »

Goofs

When Sgt Rock is running out the cave and down the hill to stab the Red soldier, the shadow of the camera crane following him can be seen on the snow. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Rock: You're not aiming at a man. You're aiming at the enemy. Once you're over that hump, you're a rifleman.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Indiana
(uncredited)
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
Sung by a chorus when the troops are first pulling out
Played occasionally in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
There's nothing dirtier than a rearguard action!
13 January 2017 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Fixed bayonets! is directed by Sam Fuller and Fuller writes the screenplay which is based around a novel by John Brophy. It stars Richard Basehart, Gene Evans, Michael O'Shea, Richard Hylton, Craig Hill and Skip Homeier. Music is by Roy Webb and cinematography by Lucien Ballard.

The Korean War, and a platoon of GIs are tasked with diverting the enemy to allow the command units time to regroup and prepare for a counter attack.

"Somebody's got to get left behind, get their bayonets wet. It's tough picking out an outfit, but it's got to be picked"

Samuel Fuller was a real life infantryman combat veteran of WWII, so any time he chose to direct a war film it was time to sit up and take notice, Fixed bayonets! finds him in prime form. All his great traits are here, how things are so understated yet so potent, how his characters are stripped to a very real human form, there's no fuss, filler or pointless flab here. Every line of dialogue and the various combat scenarios positively beg our utmost attention, so as to get some sort of feel as to just what it must have been like in war.

Plot revolves around 48 men holding a rearguard action so as to give 15,000 others a break. The odds aren't really in their favour, because not only do they have to face the oncoming enemy and all their numbers, but they have to battle the terrain, for they are up in the snowy mountains, the harsh coldness a fitting accompaniment to the psychological pangs at work in the platoon. The main narrative thread is based around Basehart's Cpl. Denno, who has trouble shooting an enemy soldier, which is not great since there's a very real chance he may soon have to take command. Ouch! The pressure of impending command...

Combat action scenes are thrilling, artillery warfare in the snow constructed with skillful thought. While this wouldn't be a Fuller film without some edge of seat drama, with the stand out here a breath holding sequence of events in a minefield. Tech guys come up trumps, the sound mix is bang on (a haunting cacophony of Asian bugles really rattles the head), Ballard's black and white photography is crisp and captures the pending peril vibe suitably, and Webb's musical compositions are unobtrusive and rightly keeping focus on the human drama.

A lesson in being simple yet so potently effective, Fuller on blob. 8/10


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