Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "God help us if it takes your kind to win this war.", 23 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Men in War (DVD)
Men in War is yet another example of a great America film that is currently unavailable on DVD in the UK. And up until today there was not a review for the film either. It's sad times when such a film gets neglected.

Director Anthony Mann is known mainly for a series of psychological westerns - Man of the West, The Naked Spur, The Man from Laramie. Yet he was just as capable of applying the same understanding and sensitivity of the man of action to other genres, such as El Cid and this forgotten war film from 1957. The film chronicles 24 hours - from one dawn through to the next - in the lives of a small detachment of American soldiers in the Korean war. Robert Ryan and his men are stranded behind enemy lines with a broken truck, cut-off from communication, and left with little option but to carry their ammunition and supplies to the army base a day away. With the unseen enemy all around they have little hope of surviving the journey. Before long, they encounter Aldo Ray (who played a similar character in the Naked and the Dead) driving a jeep with his shell-shocked colonel as passenger - who he is dedicated to protecting at all cost. The jeep is commandeered by Ryan to carry his outfit's supplies, and the movie then centres on the psychological struggle between these two very different men - Robert Ryan's weary, tough and humane lieutenant who wants to lead his platoon to safety, and Aldo Ray's cynical sergeant who believes the end justify the means, that violence must be total, and whose instincts about the North Korean enemy prove repeatedly to be right, to the frustration of Ryan.

Anthony Mann was one of the greatest directors of action, maybe only Mizoguchi could show violence or the threat of violence with such restraint. As the soldiers travel by foot, there is a constant sense of danger with every step, through landmines or the unseen enemy who is killing them off one-by-one. Mann loves to pull his camera back and show men juxtaposed against the landscape.

When the soldiers get to their destination, Hill 465, they discover that it's no longer occupied by U.S. forces, culminating in a bleak and fatalistic ending which has few equals in war movies. The film is based on a WW2 novel by Van Van Praag which was adapted to screenplay by Philip Yordan, in collaboration with his blacklisted friend Ben Maddow. The Pentagon refused any cooperation with the producer and condemned the film, which tells you how good it is, and perhaps helps account for why the film is almost forgotten today. It's bleak portrayal of war is anti-heroic and almost film noir. One of the great anti-war movies.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Nov 2013 10:01:35 GMT
A. W. Wilson says:
Nice thoughtful review, but it doesn't refer to the U/K Renown release of Nov 18 2013. That's Amazon's fault, not you.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2013 11:00:23 GMT
Shane Hyde says:
Hi, my review was 18 months ago but thanks for letting me know about this new release, it's very good news. Regards, Shane
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