“It’s not a matter of conclusive facts, sir.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary s Review:
However, “if the Nazis weren’t terrifying enough, the American GI finds himself to be the potential victim of U.S. army bureaucracy that allows soldiers to be sacrificed rather than cause a stink by recalling incompetent officers.”
He goes on to write, “In this war, platoon leaders punch their own men, high-rank officers slap captains, captains punch enemy prisoners, Americans push a captured German office (Peter Van Eyck being very arrogant) into the Germans’ line of fire to be mowed down”:
… “a captain is willing to turn his men over to the enemy so that he won’t be shot, [and] the captain’s men are willing to kill him.” Yikes. Peary notes that “Eddie Albert gives a memorably creepy performance as a crazed, sadistic captain whose cowardice has cost the lives of many men”:
… while “Jack Palance is staunchly heroic as the leader of a platoon.”
Of special note is an infamously gruesome sequence in which…
… Palance’s arm is crushed under an enemy tank when he has nowhere else to turn.
Rounding out the cast are Lee Marvin as a hard-nosed but morally ambiguous leader willing to turn a blind eye when necessary; Buddy Ebsen as a loyal comrade; Richard Jaeckel as a private given hardly any lines; and William Smithers in a pivotal role as a lieutenant standing up to the horrors surrounding him.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: