The original screenplay was written by Christoph Fromm but the producers disagreed with his more realistic direction and had it rewritten. Consequently, Fromm took his name off the film. See more »
Early on while the soldiers are playing cards in the train one of them has a tattoo of the emblem of the German football club FC Schalke 04 on his upper arm. This version of the emblem has not been introduced by the club until 1956. See more »
Traditional, transcribed by Teodoro Cottrau
Heard as the troops leave Italy on the train See more »
An epic drama that impresses
There can be no real victors in war if we value human life at all. That so many German and Russian boys should die in the snow-bound wilderness around Stalingrad is a tragedy beyond comprehension. The camera crew did a great job in bringing to the screen the vastness of Russia with soldiers camouflaged in white struggling on the point of death across frozen landscapes. Far from home and missing their loved ones the German soldiers are depicted as rough diamonds with kind hearts sharing their last crust of bread with starving Russian children. The over-all German plan is to take certain cities important in the flow of oil and supply of food to the Russian enemy, but their plans are thwarted when the Russian armies encircle them. The close fighting is well filmed with lots of explosions, flames and shattered bodies among fallen masonry. I liked particularly the contrast of the opening scenes in sunny Porto Cervo (where the Germans are celebrating their recent victories) with the tragic scenes which followed when calamity overtakes them.I thought too that the three struggling figures exhausted in defeat symbolised the horrific loss of human life and the futility of war. While none of the actors shone above the others, their characterisations were adequate enough though I got somewhat confused with such a large cast and all the same uniforms. The lasting impression is not with individual performances but with the over-all mood of this tragic event captured superbly under expert direction. One soldier says to another:"This will give us the Iron Cross" The reply:"Yes...it will look good on your coffin!"
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