Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Eight Iron Men (1952)
Much Potential, Great Disappointment
As a WWII buff, I try and watch any film that deals with the subject. Finally, thanks to Turner Classic Movies channel I got to see this film. With the cast, producer, director, and writer, expectations were high. But, my, what a disappointment! All the ingredients are there for a great film, including a realistic set, correct miliatry equipment, and characters that really look like they have been in the field for seventeen days - thanks in large part to the input of WWII veteran Lee Marvin.
But, with all of this going for it, the recipe fails. It's like the fruitcake that is a focal point in this film - great ingredients by themselves, but put together are often not edible.
The film opens with Private Coke getting shot at by a sniper. He shoots back with a burst from his Thompson submachine gun, then walks away, saying nothing about the sniper when he gets back. One would think that would be a cause for concern - there's a sniper in town! The when Private Small is left behind because of the German machine gun nest that's been set up in the town, there seems to be little concern about him, expecially at first. Then a sniper (the same one?) kills a soldier and it's quickly forgotten - no big deal!
Finally, in the middle of this gab-fest, Sgt. Mooney (Lee Marvin) decides to try and do something to save Small and takes a mortar team to try and take out the machine gun nest. Firing the hand-held (!) mortar tube, they are incredibly accurate, but fail. They don't seem to try and get eyes on Small or even call out to him to see if he's alive. As the squad is about to pull out, it's up to Private Coke to save the day on his own with a hundred-to-one grenade throw.
The dream sequences from the weary soldiers are meant for a comic diversion from the grittiness of war, but seem shockingly out of place. I guess the filmmakers decided they needed some eye candy to sweeten this dreary, mostly boring film.