Plot centers around how a young recruit (Audie Murphy) faces the horrors of war. Character vascilates between wanting to fight and doubting his own courage. In midst of first bloody encounter, Youth runs away. After seeing dead and wounded, sense of shame leads him back to his unit, where he distinguishes himself in the next battle. Having overcome his fear of "the great Death" he knows e can face whatever comes. Somewhat sentimental "coming of age" tale was pet project of John Huston, who fought MGM over casting of Murphy and Bill Mauldin in lead roles.Written by
At one point in the original script, the Loud Soldier accused Fleming of cowardice. During repeated re-takes, the accusation got to Audie Murphy, who finally accused Bill Mauldin of trying to get at him with the line. Murphy also had trouble admitting that he was a coward in the scene. Finally, Mauldin suggested, "I think Audie is having trouble confessing to a 'Stars and Stripes' [the official US Army newspaper] cartoonist that he ran from battle." John Huston did a hurried re-write so that Mauldin would confess his fear first, prompting Murphy's character to admit to his own feelings. See more »
All the soldiers in Audie's infantry outfit have crossed rifles on their forage hats. The crossed rifle insignia was not adopted by the US army until the year 1876, before this it was a hunter's horn. See more »
Wives, dogs, and chestnut trees - the more you beat 'em the better they be.
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This is really a very fine film and after seeing it on has to wonder why Audie Murphy never had more substantial roles in his career, as he was quite good in this film. As was mentioned in a previous post he was playing himself in the movie To Hell and Back and was essentially a B-Western actor the remainder of his career. This films shows that he was much more talented than one would ever know from watching the bulk of his films.
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