- 2h 55m
Intelligent, sprawling saga of a squad of American soldiers, following them through Europe during World War II.Intelligent, sprawling saga of a squad of American soldiers, following them through Europe during World War II.Intelligent, sprawling saga of a squad of American soldiers, following them through Europe during World War II.
Disjointed, Different and Brave
A somewhat distasteful but fine, very watchable film. It has the one cynical message of how WWII consequentially brought about some sort of demise in all those involved in the Allies efforts to rid Europe of the Nazis - both soldiers and citizens. In a series of short scenes, different characters take centre stage in depicting different aspects of the main theme. Sometimes the best in people is displayed, with genuine friendships and affections, but those with more exposure to the conflict as it progresses from the invasion of France, are more susceptible to their darker sides coming to the fore. Some are more able to overcome this (like Peppard), others sink deeper into despair (like Hamilton), some don't question how they have become worse (like Mitcham), while the ultimate downfall of others is physical rather than mental maiming (like Wallach). Faults do exist. The film is a little heavy laden with making the same point in unrelated scenes, and sometimes the attempted pathos is over done. Also, like all films of its era, the 'likeable' male characters have to be clean cut and good looking, any black character is too weak, and there are too many glamorous women, with the only strong woman character not being pleasant. Republican Yanks will hate the film's lack of heroism and fair play, along with it's criticism of the virtues the USA was fighting for: Profiteers doing well as the free-market economy went to war and GI's capable of being as racist as their Nazi foes. In the main its an enjoyable, nicely acted film - one of my favourites - a refreshing change to all the simplistic, pious and very corny "good over-coming evil" representation of this conflict a-la Spielberg, etc.
- Jan 2, 2004
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