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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Men In War (1957)

During the Korean War, a small platoon of foot soldiers are cut off behind enemy lines. They are surrounded by the enemy and slowly make the six mile trek to a hill which is in American hands ... or so they hope. Based on the novel DAY WITHOUT END by Van Van Praag, the film is one of the best "war" movies ever made. Set in one day, director Anthony Mann (THE NAKED SPUR) does a remarkable job of creating a realistic atmosphere of tension and fear. This isn't one of those militaristic propaganda films about heroism in battle (though that is here) but about the ordinary G.I. coping with an almost insurmountable task of surviving an unseen and fierce enemy. These men are unraveling, struggling but pushing on. Mann is blessed with an excellent cast of actors, notably Robert Ryan as the platoon commander who's winging it and Aldo Ray as the Sergeant who's had enough of the war and is ready to go home. I have to also commend Ernest Haller's (GONE WITH THE WIND) superb B&W imagery and Elmer Bernstein's highly effective underscore. With Vic Morrow, Robert Keith, Nehemiah Persoff, Scott Marlowe, James Edwards and Philip Pine.   

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