In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post, but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post, but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post, but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.
1. The captivating Jack Palance in one of his finest roles.
2. Eddie Albert, one of the most likable actors, normally known for playing lovable good-guys her he delivers a character you will just love to hate.
3. Lee Marvin, no comment necessary, one of the very few screen actor from the raw school of coolness (where his only competition was that of Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson).
4. Robert Strauss, who like in the classic "Stalag 17" again gives us some welcomed comic relief well mixed with drama and first rate acting.
5. Buddy Ebsen, excellent and always above-par, whether it was as 'Doc' in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" or TV's 'Barnaby Jones' and 'Jed Clampett' of "The Beverly Hillbillies".
6. Richard Jaeckel, who's fine career spanned from this through hits like "The Dirty Dozen" and all the way to uhm... "Baywatch"!
7. William Smithers who despite this star-making film debut (as the REAL main character of the movie) oddly enough never seemed to top this role (somehow he is credited last here on the IMDb, probably because his name is the last to show up during the opening titles with an "And introducing" attached to it).
The whole sha-bang is directed by the great Robert Aldrich who really deserves credit for this one, as I am sure this story of a US Army officer struck by cowardice during WW2 was hard to stomach for some people just 11 years after the big one ended. Aldrich would go on the direct one of the grand-daddy's of guys-on-a-mission-movies, the before mentioned "The Dirty Dozen" (1967). Not surprisingly Aldrich would work with many of the above listed actors on several occasions, which is another testament to the sturdy cast of "Attack".
All these forces combined - in front off and behind the camera - results in a memorable ride through the darkest corners of the human soul, mixed with some thrilling battle scenes. As this is originally based on a play it might seem a bit talky to some, but wait for the first hour to pass and then it will suddenly explode in drama and first-rate acting. The many confrontations these characters have are all so intense they actually make you forget all the solid action scenes!
Definitely one of the most important Hollywood-contributions exploring the drama of war, worth adding to your WW2-collection!
- Renaldo Matlin
- Dec 22, 2003