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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightened Boys at War,
This review is from: Red Badge of Courage [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)A terrific film, worth buying a multi-region player for. It suffered initial controversy for being seen as unpatriotic and cowardly. Studio censorship and constant re-editing probably removed John Huston's convincing film from the 'Masterpiece' category.
The characters and language are believeable, so are the action scenes. Low budget, no blood and gore, but watch out for the death of the 'tall' soldier, Jim, one of the most powerful, touching death scenes ever put on film.
An interesting point concerns the main character Henry, played by B movie star, Audie Murphy. Henry is an inexperienced, frightened youth, who deserts and later rejoins the battle to find his personal courage. Murphy, on the other hand, was the most decorated American soldier of WW2. According to his citations, his leadership and bravery were astonishing. This real life 'baby faced' soldier put the film exploits of Sly Stallone and Clint Eastwood to shame.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 95 MINUTE VERSION!!!!!,
This review is from: Red Badge of Courage [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)"Red Badge Of Courage" was a film destined to fail from its inception. Louis B. Mayer never wanted the picture to be made and did what he could to discourage the process. He felt it could never be a commercial success without female characters or established stars. Mayer expressed his views directly to John Huston, he said, "It has no story and won't make a cent!"
When the film was finally completed, the test screenings were a failure. Houston remarked: "With the Red Badge of Courage, I quite understood at the time why they took the steps they did. I was present at a preview when damn near a third of the audience got up and walked out of the theatre."
Various edits were tried without the participation of Huston, who was working on the "African Queen" with Bogart and Hepburn, and seemed to not give a damn. All that resulted was a picture that got shorter and shorter. The final release version is 69 minutes. The original cut was of 95 minutes, not two hours as has been suggested.
"...they cut out one scene that was probably the best in the picture, in a way of anticlimax. The monumental death of the tall soldier. The boy and the tattered soldier walk away down the hill, and the tattered fellow says, "I've never seen a feller die like that." He begins to ramble and begins to walk around in circles then dies himself. This was the most extraordinary moment in the picture as far as I was concerned. It wouldn't have made any difference so far as the audience was concerned. They still walked out in the middle of the picture."
The footage that was extracted was from the master negative. It was discarded to the floor of the editing suite and thrown away as useless. There are no records of any of the cut scenes or extra footage surviving.
Louis B. Mayer dispatched a second unit to Huston's ranch. The second unit was to film the battle scenes in Technicolor using the Cinematographic process: MGM Camera 65. Louis B. Mayer, at his most vindictive, shot footage that would eventually be used in future productions with the full knowledge of Huston.
As the problems mounted, Huston's enthusiasm for the project waned and he started to gravitate towards his next project. Huston never re-visited "Red Badge Of Courage". It is assumed he was never happy with the film in its original form or its release version and was happy for the film to fade into annals of film history.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Red Badge of Courage,
This review is from: The Red Badge Of Courage (DVD)During the Civil War, Fleming, Yankee rookie, has starred in two episodes: one of cowardice, the other of heroism. Inspired by "The Red Badge of Courage" (1894) by Stephen Crane, a classic of American fiction, was the origin of a cause célèbre among Huston and MGM, which reduced it to 70 minutes. Unbalanced and disjointed, has beautiful pages. Underlying theme: the fear of fear.
Someone who can, should find the original film - the longer version - and could make a Colorized version.
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Civil War story,
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This review is from: Red Badge of Courage [VHS] (VHS Tape)A brilliant cinematic interpretation of Stephen Crane's wonderful novel with a great cast depicting the fears and emotions of soldiers newly introduced to battlefield conflict. Audie Murphy gives his greatest acting performance as the young recruit torn between self preservation, perceived cowardice and finally his initiation into manhood by nobly participating in the battle. The realities of 19th century wartime are graphically shown and all the emotions of boredom, anticipation, rumour, grief, fear and courage are starkly demonstrated through the super acting of a then little-known cast. This is without a doubt the best Civil War movie in the genre.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literary classic but uneven film.,
This review is from: The Red Badge Of Courage (DVD)This film is from 1951, directed by John Huston, and filmed in black and white. Based on the classic short novel by Stephen Crane, the film is also unusually short, running for only 69 minutes, a result of unforgivable cutting by the studio. It also famously suffers from obvious continuity errors, and the potentially disastrous casting of Audie Murphy in the lead role. Murphy was the most decorated soldier in the US Army in World War Two, and used this fame to launch an acting career in Hollywood.
Luckily, he suits this role, of the boastful, untried soldier, about to take part in his first action. The young man soon becomes terrified in battle, and runs away, hiding in shame. He later receives a small injury, and returns to his unit, wearing his `Red Badge of Courage', the bandaged wound. At first he lies about his desertion, though later confesses, and redeems himself in the next attack.
Despite all these shortcomings, this is a truly classic film. Huston uses extreme close ups to good effect, and the other actors in the cast, for the most part all relatively unknown, are a pleasure to watch. It says a lot about bravery and manhood, and of course, is anti-war in sentiment, and could just as easily be set during any conflict.
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Red Badge of Courage [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by John Huston (DVD - 2003)