The Battle of Sutjeska known as ''Fifth offensive'' is the hardest, most tragic and the greatest battle that was led Yugoslav Partisans in World War II. Chaos, hell, fates, suffering, heroic deaths and all the tragedy of Sutjeska is a one poetic way and at the same time on one tragically way described in this phenomenal movie. This movie, was made for the 30th anniversary of the battle is also the most expensive movie in the history of Yugoslav cinema.Written by
Hardy Krüger filmed scenes but does not appear in the final cut. Richard Burton's diary (a hostile source, as Burton vocally disliked his German colleague) records Krüger's clashes with script doctor Wolf Mankowitz to enlarge his part, and a frustrated Mankowitz calling him "the Nazi Tab Hunter". See more »
I saw THE FIFTH OFFENSIVE recently weekend in Italian without subtitles (I speak English), cut to some 100 minutes, to the review will be short but ought to give you an idea of what the film is like.
Richard Burton plays Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito, who leads the Yugoslav Partisans on a trek to safety, culminating in a huge battle at the Sutjeska River.
The film features a ton of familiar faces, from familiar Hollywood actors to Yugoslav commoners. Bata Zivojinovic (BATTLE OF THE EAGLES) is one of the main partisans; Milena Dravic (THE BATTLE OF NERETVA) is his love; Ljubisa Samardzic (THE BATTLE OF NERETVA) commands an artillery gun; Stole Arandjelovic blasts away with a machinegun in the final battle; Relja Basic (THE FIFTH DAY OF PEACE) is one of the British commandos; Gunter Meisner (THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN) is the German General and Anton Diffring (KILL ROMMEL!) is his executive officer. Familiar names of Boris Dvornik, Rade Markovic, Kole Angelovski, Petar Banicevic, Marinko Sebez and Dusan Tadic are all credited, but I have no idea who they play. The Partisan commander from BATTLE OF THE EAGLES features prominently in the second half of the film, but I can't quite put my finger on which character he is.
The film features a number of big battle scenes with a good number of extras, a few Russian tanks, plenty of explosions and some vintage aircraft. It's all set to a great, rousing musical score, made up of actual Partisan chants (one of which was used for HELL RIVER a year later). One great combat scene has the partisans rushing up one side of a hill, not knowing that on the other side the Germans are charging as well, racing to capture the high ground first. A great hand-to-hand battle ensues. There are also some rather graphic attack-dog maulings thrown in for good measure. The scenery, as with all Yugoslav war films, is breathtaking.
I saw this on a rip from an Italian video, titled LA QUINTA OFFENSIVA. It was in Italian with no subtitles, cut from 130 minutes to about 100 minutes. It was hard enough for me to follow in Italian, even harder with so much footage cut. The colors are washed out and there is plenty of print damage, ranging from flurries of speckles to scratches and many holes in the print. The pan-and-scanning is bad in some very important dialog scenes, too.
Overall, this looks to be a pretty good Yugoslav war picture, better than usual. It's probably as good as THE BATTLE OF NERETVA, but I'll have to see it in English before I can write a really strong review.
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