Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Battle Circus (1953)

Set during the Korean war, a young nurse (June Allyson) is assigned to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (yes, M.A.S.H.) where she attracts the attention of the chief surgeon (Humphrey Bogart), a womanizer. He wants a non-committal relationship while she prefers a more traditional romantic liaison. But their personal problems dwindle next to the constant shelling by the North Koreans and masses of casualties they must attend to on a daily basis. On the plus side, the film is a more realistic look at MASH units during the Korean war rather than the anachronistic hippies and wacky antics of Robert Altman's 1970 film (I've never been able to sit through the TV series). On the down side, the teaming of Bogart and Allyson doesn't work. On their own, they're both appealing actors but they have an uncomfortably awkward on screen chemistry and the tepid love story seems to be always getting in the way of the more compelling situation of a mobile hospital constantly under siege. A couple of scenes stand out: a helicopter pilot (William Campbell) being guided to a safe landing during a storm and Allyson confronting a POW (Philip Ahn) holding a live grenade. Directed by Richard Brooks (ELMER GANTRY). With Keenan Wynn, Robert Keith, Steve Forrest, Jeff Richards and Sarah Selby.

No comments:

Post a Comment