In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.
Unusual (if not bizarre) casting in sexed-up remake of the 1953 classic...
James Jones' novel of overheated lives on a Hawaiian Army Base--just prior to the Japanese bombing on Pearl Harbor in 1941--filtered through the 1953 screenplay by Daniel Taradash before being reworked by new writers Harold Gast and Don McGuire, ostensibly to give the old chestnut some bolder action and sex appeal. There's definitely more skin--and more sinister machismo--on-screen, but by taking on the Oscar-winning theatrical adaptation from '53, one has to wonder just what the producers of this TV mini-series hoped to gain? Luckily, they've got Natalie Wood in the role of the Army Captain's estranged wife (with plenty of movie star allure, Wood gives the part her all, winning a Golden Globe for Best Actress); unfortunately, the rest of the cast is made up of television names (William Devane, Andy Griffith), B-list stalwarts (Roy Thinnes, Richard Bright), wild card newcomers (Kim Basinger, Steve Railsback), and several very odd choices (Peter Boyle as "Fatso", Will Sampson as Corporal Cheney, Joe Pantoliano in Frank Sinatra's signature role of Maggio). Aside from Wood, the best acting comes from muscular Devane as Sergeant Warden (despite his tendency to play hardball by making tough-guy faces) and Railsback, too, is interesting in the ex-boxer role left behind by Montgomery Clift. Railsback approaches the stubborn rebellion of Private Prewitt with understated ease, but the often daft teleplay leaves him in a lurch whenever he's called on to get surly in a bordello or argue with his marriage-minded island squeeze (sample dialogue: "You think I wanna take care of some snot-nosed little brat and work all day in the pineapple fields?!"). Veteran director Buzz Kulik must have felt the pressure to pull off some sort of TV miracle here, but his staging is uneven and cumbersome, most especially in the group scenes when there doesn't even appear to be a director's hand present. Moments of the presentation (278 minutes on video) are pure pap, while the color photography, locations, set designs and costumes appear second rate.
- Apr 22, 2009
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