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Has enough to make it watchable, but felt rather bland
Jack Palance was reason enough to see any film, and he was my reason for watching The Fall of the Giants. The film is not great and could have been much better too, but it is also not bad at all, certainly much better than Legion of the Damned(aka Battle of the Commandos), another war film starring Palance made at a similar time.
The Fall of the Giants looks good, while the photography is not mind-blowing it is hardly low-budget TV quality either, the sets are handsome and reasonably authentic in alternative to limited, the scenery with the countryside, woods and rivers is truly stunning and the editing is coherent and above average. Not all the costumes work though, with the helmets looking like over-sized pottery and Palance's uniform looked like it had shrunk a few sizes in the wash overnight. The music score is appropriately rousing and melancholic, and fits with the film quite well. The story is reasonably well-paced with some nice turns and remains interesting until the final 10 minutes, the battle scenes are appropriately tense(as is the build up to the final battle) and coherently edited and the direction gets the job done competently. The performances are good on the whole, with fine support from Andrea Bosic and John Grammack, Mirko Ellis in suitably heroic mode and Gerard Tichy brings authority to his General character.
As great an actor Palance was, this is not one of his best performances here. He gives his absolute all and he certainly commands the screen well, but it did feel like he was trying too hard(think his hard-nosed performance in Legion of the Damned except even less subtle) and it felt out-of-kilter at times with the rest of the film. The conclusion could have been powerful and moving, instead it went down the human sermon route and dealt with it very heavy-handedly, and that the characters are very one-dimensional, one-note and underdeveloped in the film(as well as drifting in and out) makes it less easy to really care for the ending or for them. Where The Fall of the Giants really falls down is the very pedestrian script that lacks any kind of pace or nuance and the dialogue is constantly corny and trite.
Overall, not bad with clearly some effort and professionalism gone into it, but rather bland. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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