This WW2 psychological drama plays out at Christmas. US GIs hold an isolated cabin in the Ardennes against a handful of Germans cut off from their main force. Combat-weary and short of rations, both sides are determined to survive.
Set in 1944 France, in the Ardennes forest region, an American Intelligence Squad locates a German platoon wishing to surrender rather than die in Germany's final war offensive. The two groups of men, isolated from the war at present, put aside their differences and share a Christmas celebration. The surrender plan includes a mock battle that turns bad when one of the soldiers is unaware of the surrender plan.Written by
Anthony Hughes <email@example.com>
The mansion was actually a three-wall set, constructed in a remote area in the Utah hills. See more »
It's thanks to Griffin and his military mortuary skills that I've made my recent headlong leap to three stripes. We lost half our squad, attempting one of his map-inspired, ill-conceived recon patrols. When I say 'lost', I mean 'killed'. Nobody in the army ever admits that someone on our side is killed. They're either lost, like Christopher Robin... hit, as in a batter hit by a pitched ball... or they get 'it' like in hide-and-go-seek. Or maybe they 'get it', as with an ambiguous joke.
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This movie was on Bravo last night but was terribly edited so I stopped watching and stuck my video taped copy into the VCR. This movie truly grew on me over time. I had planned to see it in the theater in, I think 1993, when it was released but it was in theaters for such a brief time that I lost my opportunity. I'm very happy to see that other posters here were also profoundly affected by this movie. The first time I'd seen it I was dumbstruck and truly didn't know what to make of it. Like many, I'd been fed a steady diet of WW2 movies with John Wayne, William Holden, Richard Widmark, and the like. They were all of a jingostic testosterone bent and featured stirring musical scores, minimal blood, and happy endings, as in all the Germans/Japanese die. This was the first WW2 movie I'd ever seen that dispensed with all that crap and gave you a sense of how war makes victims of everybody, sparing no one it's violent assault on our sanity. For this Keith Gordon/William Wharton, Mike Nichols/Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegaut, James Jones, Norman Mailer, John Hersey should all be praised for their courage to discard ideological dogma and poignantly lament our violated humanity. They may have, dare I say, stepped upon an enlightend plain where even Steven Spielberg has yet to trod. His movies are remarkable presentations of events, but do not explore any issues that might touch upon this theme of the individual, powerless, human suffering in war time. They are far more traditional morality plays. In short this movie makes you truly feel sorrow for these dead, good intentioned German (Nazi) Soldiers who wanted nothing more than to end their misery as fodder in der Fuherer's army. I was struck By the scene in which Will Knott stares into the eyes of the German officer who's face betrays a million nightmarish images of the Russian front and perhaps some horrible deeds for which he has paid a dear price in guilt worthy of Macbeth. This was one of many scenes which conveyed so much with out a single line of script. Just the faces of the experience guiding the viewer. Mark Ishams fantastic musical score helped quite a bit to. For those who hated this movie, I'm not sure what to say. If your looking for a very heavy-handed war movie this is not for you. If, however, you appreciate the deft and delicate hand in conveying a powerful message and making a powerful statement, than you will be richly rewarded by a movie you will never forget.
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