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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Walk In The Sun (1945)

In 1943 WWII, a platoon of American soldiers land on the Italian coast of Salerno with orders to make their way seven miles inland to a farmhouse occupied by Nazis and take it down. This rather "artsy" war film is greatly admired in some quarters. It was directed by Lewis Milestone, most famous for another war film, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT which won him an Oscar. Like that film, this film aspires to be more than just another WWII actioner but it's just as pretentious as its better known predecessor. The film is mostly talk, talk, talk ... and then more talk. A few soldiers are killed and one has a nervous breakdown but the John Ireland character is typical of the film's agenda. Ireland's character writes poetic letters in his head to his sister and there's an awful "ballad" played on the soundtrack that lays on the philosophical sentiment with a trowel. I can appreciate the attempt but I ain't buying. The film's crisp black and white cinematography is nicely done and director of photography Russell Harlan (RED RIVER) and Milestone provide some handsome compositions that disguise the fact that we're on the 20th Century Fox ranch and not Italy. The rancid score is by Freddie Rich. With Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, Lloyd Bridges, Steve Brodie, Norman Lloyd, Sterling Holloway, Huntz Hall and Herbert Rudley who botches it in a role a better actor could have gotten an Oscar nomination out of.

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