Set during the Pacific War against the Japanese, this WW2 drama discerns between achieving one's mission at any cost versus preserving the lives under one's command and enforcing discipline through fear as opposed to mutual respect.
In the 1950s, a poor Georgia cotton farmer and his sons search for the gold presumably buried on the farm by their grandfather but problems related to poverty, marital infidelity, unemployment and booze threaten to destroy their family.
As the Japanese sweep through the East Indies during World War II, Dr. Wassell is determined to escape from Java with some crewmen of the cruiser Marblehead. Based on a true story of how Dr... See full summary »
In the Pacific during World War 2, the officers live a comfortable life with good food, good drink and good quarters. To them, war is a game which they know they will win and the common soldiers are the pawns on the board. When the campaign slows down, the Commander sends a squad to the top of a mountain behind enemy lines to report on the Japanese troop movements. The squad is commanded by a tough cynical Sergeant who takes no prisoners and even takes the gold from the teeth of the enemy dead. Before the mission starts, the lieutenant, who has had a cushy job due to a life of wealth and privilege, criticizes the Commander over his attitude towards the common soldier and is re-assigned to lead the squad. The veteran Sergeant wants to complete this mission as ordered, and he will do everything he can do to see that it is successful.Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Mailer's uncompromising novel, gets a bit compromised for the screen
Though Norman Mailer wrote many other works like David O. Selznick with Gone With The Wind, Mailer never wrote anything as good as The Naked And The Dead. It must have been a source of some frustration to him in trying to top this literary masterpiece.
Coming to the screen The Naked And The Dead's impact was neutered somewhat with changes, most importantly the death of a main character was eliminated and that person allowed to survive. Still what you get here is a really rancid version of a military campaign in the South Pacific Theater, the kind that Hollywood wasn't showing up to that time.
There are three main characters. First Cliff Robertson who comes from wealth and privilege and clashes with his martinet of a commanding officer. For that breach of military etiquette, Robertson is assigned to lead a patrol behind enemy lines to gather valuable intelligence.
The commander he insulted is General Raymond Massey who likes being the martinet, but in the end gets showed up rather beautifully by an eager subordinate who took some initiative during a combat situation.
Thirdly there is Sergeant Aldo Ray who was probably no prize, but whose character was totally twisted by the unfaithfulness of his wife Barbara Nichols. Nichols is just great in a flashback episode as a woman who might just as well have had a sandwich board sign labeled 'floozy' all over her. In some ways her small part is the most memorable in this war film. He's been leading his squad without any officers over him and would like to keep it that way. But he knows his job.
Over 59 years later The Naked And The Dead while not totally true to Mailer's words and plot, still hasn't aged one single bit. I could see a remake of this one in the future.
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