Movie Reviews – Something Different

April 8, 2012 - 1 Comment

by Jim Barnes

On those occasions that I review movies here, they are generally new releases. This is a little different. A few months ago, while hanging around Walmart to get my oil changed, I saw a DVD collection of war movies in the $5.00 bin. The title was “War Movies (WWII Collection)” Since it had 20 old movies in the collection, I figured it had to be worth that much, at least. I didn’t get around to watching any of them for a while, but a few weeks ago, I started checking them out and it was certainly a mixed bag. There are some pretty good old flicks in here, but also some that are jaw-droppingly bad. I will attempt to sort them out for you in the order viewed.

1. A Walk in the Sun – The first movie on Disc 1, and not a bad one to start out with. Being a 1945 production, the film goes lightly on the propaganda. The war was over or pretty much so when this was released. It depicts a day in the life of an American platoon taking part in the landings at Salerno, Italy in 1943. The cast is top-notch, starring Dana Andrews with support with the likes of Lloyd Bridges and John Ireland. Reviewers have noted the realism of the action.*  The soldiers don’t really have any idea what is going on outside of their immediate area. Also, as the platoon moves inland, there is much time when nothing is going on but banter between the men, broken up occasionally by violent encounters with the Germans, who are shown only briefly. Interestingly, this works pretty well. Definitely worth watching.

2. Gung Ho! – Talk about a cast! Lots of familiar faces from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Randolph Scott stars, supported by Robert Mitchum, cowboy star Rod Cameron, familiar character actor Noah Beery Jr. and Milburne Stone (Doc on Gunsmoke) Made in 1943, this one is heavy on the propaganda, but still worth watching. Depicting the raid on Makin Island by Carlson’s Marine raiders, it is about as factual as you might imagine for the time, but does hold your attention.

3. Go for Broke – Another good one. Starring Van Johnson, this 1951 film depicts the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was composed of Japanese-Americans (Nisei). The movie actually featured several real members of the unit and natually shows them in a very positive light. Generally realistic in its portrayal of action and the time period, this is another keeper.

4. Corregidor – Another 1943 project, this one is nowhere near as good as Gung Ho! Otto Kruger, a very good actor who had a long and illustrious career, is the only actor you will probably recognize here. Maybe the others quit in disgust after they watched the finished product, I don’t know. The story, loosely based on the Japanese siege of Corregidor, also involves a love triangle which makes little sense at all and a lot of Japanese planes which are biplanes in one shot and monoplanes in the next. You might want to skip this one.

5. Ski Troop Attack – A 1960 Roger Corman film about ski-troops during the Battle of the Bulge?  This doesn’t have Vincent Price or outlaw bikers in it, but it might have been better if it did. A predictable B-movie shot on a very low budget. The most interesting thing about it is the vintage stock footage of German troops that they throw in periodically.  (I didn’t know the Alps were in Belgium!)

Okay, that is Disc I. If I am up to it, I will get out some more of this for you later.

*http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038235/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (1)

Mikhail Vishnevsky

April 10th, 2012 at 11:47 pm    


Thank you for the review Alexei!

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