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Subject: War Movies, August 2016 rss

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Scott Gillispie
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Link: War Movies Monthly Discussion - Subscription Geeklist

War movies on TCM this month are all clumped up due to the ‘Summer Under the Stars’ feature; days with Karl Malden and James Garner help; Ruby Keeler, not so much. Bombers B-52 ( Aug 5, 1:30pm) sounds like it has potential – but Natalie Wood gets top billing as Efrem Zimbalist Jr's love interest, so probably not. And I’ll resist Hitler’s Children on August 9. Here's a few choices (times are US Eastern):

Aug 5, 11:45 am - Take the High Ground! (1953) Karl Malden and Richard Widmark as drill sergeants (guess which one is the hard case, and which one helps the recruits?) training recruits for Korea
Aug 16, 6 pm – The North Star (1943) Ukranian villagers fight off Erich von Stroheim. Either everyone involved in making this film was a Communist, or no one was; it’s not clear…
Aug 17, 6:15 pm – The Steel Helmet (1951) Sam Fuller film about Americans caught behind enemy lines in Korea; one of a sequence of war movies on the 17th (also Men in War, Home of the Brave, and Pork Chop Hill)
Aug 22, 10 pm – They Were Expendable (1945) John Ford’s PT boat epic, with John Wayne and Robert Montgomery. Another one of the essentials that I somehow missed in its 8 million TBS airings.


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Geoffrey Burrell
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One John Wayne movie that the networks rarely show is Flying Tigers. I find it kind of odd but he wasn't the main character.
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The Steel Helmet is a great movie. I believe it was somewhat controversial in its time, being darker and more morally complex than most American war movies of that era.

It was shot on a shoestring budget, though, and it shows at times. (When I was about 10 years old a buddy of mine and I made a tank out of cardboard and an old pipe that looked almost as realistic as the North Korean tank that shows up at one point in this movie )
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Matthew Barber
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They Were Expendable is quality stuff. A good film all around but I think it sticks with me because I had to write a paper about it in my "WW2 in the Pacific through film" class. A ton of fun!

Unfortunately, John Wayne never calls anyone "Pilgrim" during it.
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GeoffreyB wrote:
One John Wayne movie that the networks rarely show is Flying Tigers. I find it kind of odd but he wasn't the main character.


Ironically, I saw it twice this week on Washington DC's Get-TV.
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Bill Eldard
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scottgillispie wrote:
Bombers B-52 ( Aug 5, 1:30pm) sounds like it has potential – but Natalie Wood gets top billing as Efrem Zimbalist Jr's love interest, so probably not.


Yeah, pretty much run-of-the-mill Cold War drama.

Quote:
And I’ll resist Hitler’s Children on August 9.


Not a great film, but it was a B-movie released during the war (1943?), so for WW2 movie aficionados like me, it's fun to watch again. No combat, though. It takes place in pre-war Germany.

Quote:
Take the High Ground! (1953) Karl Malden and Richard Widmark as drill sergeants (guess which one is the hard case, and which one helps the recruits?) training recruits for Korea


Average stuff. No more interesting than Bombers B-52.

Quote:
The North Star (1943) Ukranian villagers fight off Erich von Stroheim. Either everyone involved in making this film was a Communist, or no one was; it’s not clear…


The screenplay was written by Lillian Hellman, who later claimed that she was no longer a member of the Party by that time, but who nonetheless was a Stalinist til the day he died in 1953. Director Lewis Milestone already had the classic All Quiet on the Western Front under his belt.

This was one of several films produced by major studios in '43-'44 depicting Soviet citizens and soldiers fighting the invading Nazis. Others included Mission To Moscow, The Road to Glory (Gregory Peck's first significant role), and Song of Russia. They were reportedly made at the urging of FDR (through one of the Brain Trust) who realized that Americans were having a hard time accepting the Communists as our allies, especially after they had split Poland with the Nazis. The North Star does not reach the levels of absurdity as does Mission To Moscow, but it does glorify the Soviets while applying typical 1943 Nazi stereotypes. Again, for WW2 movie fans like me, it's a must, but many will find it unrealistic.

All these films came under intense scrutiny by the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) after the war. Consequently, The North Star was edited to cut its more aggregious pro-Soviet scenes, and re-released as Armored Attack for television.

Quote:
The Steel Helmet (1951) Sam Fuller film about Americans caught behind enemy lines in Korea; one of a sequence of war movies on the 17th (also Men in War, Home of the Brave, and Pork Chop Hill)


Director Fuller, a WW2 infantryman in the US 1st Infantry Division, strived for a gritty realism in his war films based on his experiences. The characters in this film, and its sister Fixed Bayonets, are just that, and the films are solid war movies. They are also among the few Korean War films made while the war was being fought. Focus is on the platoon/squad. Worth a watch.

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They Were Expendable (1945) John Ford’s PT boat epic, with John Wayne and Robert Montgomery. Another one of the essentials that I somehow missed in its 8 million TBS airings.


IMHO one of the best US Navy war movies of all time. Diector John Ford, who was a Captain in the US Naval Reserve during the war, made US Navy films and met some of the top admirals in the PTO, later retiring as a rear admiral. He loved the Navy and respected its traditions, and that comes through in this film.

Robert Montgomery is the real star of this movie; Wayne is second banana both in presence and "rank" (he's the XO to Montgomery's stoic CO of the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three). Montgomery was himself a commander in the US Naval Reserve when the film was made, and had served as a PT boat skipper off Normandy on D-Day, where Ford happened to be doing some filming. When a studio decided to make a movie from the book of the same title, Montgomery was a natural choice.

The book was a compilation of oral histories by the officers who served in MTB 3 when the Philippines were invaded and eventually fell. They evacuated MacArthur and family to Mindinao, which is depicted in the film.

For some reason, the characters' names are fictional. Montgomery is LT Brickley, USN; the actual CO was LT Bulkeley, who earned the Medal of Honor and went on to retire as a rear admiral. Wayne is adequate, and the rest of the cast (including Ford regular Ward Bond) is excellent. Donna Reed has a minor role as an Army nurse on Bataan and Wayne's love interest.

As naval war movies go, there are few better. With the Navy's cooperation, Ford used actual PT boats, and the combat sequences are spectacular (especially the night torpedo attacks).

If you haven't seen this film, I strongly recommend it.

(For trivia fans, Robert Montgomery was the father of Elizabeth Montgomery of TV's Bewitched. Of the cast members, Bond, Reed, Cameron Mitchell, and Marshall Thompson all ended up with their own TV shows in the '50s and '60s.)
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Cameron Taylor
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I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.
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GeoffreyB wrote:
One John Wayne movie that the networks rarely show is Flying Tigers. I find it kind of odd but he wasn't the main character.


You should come to England. Film Four had it on about six times in the last month. I thought JW was about equal with John Carroll as main character. Did this action with the train inspire Japanese Kamikase tactics?
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SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.
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winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


A little off topic but a rare journey into Netflix and I found a war movie that I had seen before but only realised that after 10 minutes into the movie. The problem was the action was full on so I couldn't stop watching until half way through when it goes a little off track. The movie was Company of Heroes set during the Battle of the Bulge and as I said the action scenes were well made.
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whatambush wrote:
winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


A little off topic but a rare journey into Netflix and I found a war movie that I had seen before but only realised that after 10 minutes into the movie. The problem was the action was full on so I couldn't stop watching until half way through when it goes a little off track. The movie was Company of Heroes set during the Battle of the Bulge and as I said the action scenes were well made.

As I'm a collector of war movies I couldn't understand why I had not come across Company of Heroes. I checked it out on IMDB and all became clear. Vinnie Jones is in it and I took a sacred oath many years ago to neither own nor watch a movie with him in it. It sounds intriguing though.
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Confusion Under Fire
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winheath wrote:
whatambush wrote:
winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


A little off topic but a rare journey into Netflix and I found a war movie that I had seen before but only realised that after 10 minutes into the movie. The problem was the action was full on so I couldn't stop watching until half way through when it goes a little off track. The movie was Company of Heroes set during the Battle of the Bulge and as I said the action scenes were well made.

As I'm a collector of war movies I couldn't understand why I had not come across Company of Heroes. I checked it out on IMDB and all became clear. Vinnie Jones is in it and I took a sacred oath many years ago to neither own nor watch a movie with him in it. It sounds intriguing though.


He doesn't appear until the second part of the movie and from what I recall he isn't the jerk he may be in his other movies, I am not into gangland movies so I am only surmising here. The first part of the movie is worth the very small price being asked for, for the DVD. The second half is not that bad but is a little tongue in cheek at times. I think for wargamers and historians a more believable plot might of worked better but wouldn't of appealed to the wider audience. For me, more of the first half repeated in the second would of been fine.
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Bill Eldard
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winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


And it stars my cousin Ron Eldard as the lone survivor of his squad, promoted to sergeant, and ordered to train the replacements into a ready squad in preparation for the next push. The film is stark in its graphic violence, and I agree that it is an excellent war film.

Ron later starred as CW2 Michael Durrant -- the helicopter pilot who is captured by Aideed's militia in Black Hawk Down.
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Eldard wrote:
winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


And it stars my cousin Ron Eldard as the lone survivor of his squad, promoted to sergeant, and ordered to train the replacements into a ready squad in preparation for the next push. The film is stark in its graphic violence, and I agree that it is an excellent war film.

Ron later starred as CWO2 Michael Durrant -- the helicopter pilot who is captured by Aideed's militia in Black Hawk Down.

Hadn't realised that but you're right. It's a while since I watched WTF but I had the impression RE gave a very fine performance which left a great impression on me and a bit of a heartbreaking ending.
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Bill Eldard
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winheath wrote:
Eldard wrote:
winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


And it stars my cousin Ron Eldard as the lone survivor of his squad, promoted to sergeant, and ordered to train the replacements into a ready squad in preparation for the next push. The film is stark in its graphic violence, and I agree that it is an excellent war film.

Ron later starred as CWO2 Michael Durrant -- the helicopter pilot who is captured by Aideed's militia in Black Hawk Down.

Hadn't realised that but you're right. It's a while since I watched WTF but I had the impression RE gave a very fine performance which left a great impression on me and a bit of a heartbreaking ending.


I was impressed with his portrayal of the reluctant squad leader, and the film seemed to set a new standard for graphic combat violence. But I think it was overshadowed shortly after its release by the first 20 minutes of Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.
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Peter A Reuter
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Definitely worth a watch. I saw it years ago. Wasn't it an HBO production. Very gritty, almost depressing, really.

And I do love me some GetTV. I was annoyed when they cancelled "Baa Baa Black Sheep," though.

Another oft-overlooked film is "Cross of Iron." Sam Peckinpah directed it, it stars James Coburn as a Wehrmacht sergeant on the Eastern Front. That's definitely one of my favorites, and it seems like very few people have seen it.
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pareute wrote:
Definitely worth a watch. I saw it years ago. Wasn't it an HBO production. Very gritty, almost depressing, really.

And I do love me some GetTV. I was annoyed when they cancelled "Baa Baa Black Sheep," though.

Another oft-overlooked film is "Cross of Iron." Sam Peckinpah directed it, it stars James Coburn as a Wehrmacht sergeant on the Eastern Front. That's definitely one of my favorites, and it seems like very few people have seen it.

Cross of iron is top drawer.
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winheath wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.

I have to agree and rate this movie very highly. Excellent production.


For those in the US (at least) - this is currently included on Amazon Prime.
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winheath wrote:
pareute wrote:
Definitely worth a watch. I saw it years ago. Wasn't it an HBO production. Very gritty, almost depressing, really.

And I do love me some GetTV. I was annoyed when they cancelled "Baa Baa Black Sheep," though.

Another oft-overlooked film is "Cross of Iron." Sam Peckinpah directed it, it stars James Coburn as a Wehrmacht sergeant on the Eastern Front. That's definitely one of my favorites, and it seems like very few people have seen it.

Cross of iron is top drawer.


Agreed -- it's an outstanding war film. The film was based on the novel by Willi Heinrich, who himself was a veteran of the Eastern Front.

I don't know how well it did in the European box office, but it didn't get much exposure here when it was released. It might be because the subject doesn't involve Americans, and many Americans may feel uncomfortable empathizing with an "enemy" soldier. Nevertheless, it is well acted and I've watched it at least half a dozen times.
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SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.


+1 Outstanding war movie. Watched it again on HBO On Demand a few weeks ago. Some young actors that are recognized for later projects - Timothy Olyphant, Frank Whaley. As a bonus, one of my all time favorite singers, Dwight Yoakam, plays a ruthless battalion commander!

Eldard wrote:
And it stars my cousin Ron Eldard as the lone survivor of his squad, promoted to sergeant, and ordered to train the replacements into a ready squad in preparation for the next push. The film is stark in its graphic violence, and I agree that it is an excellent war film.

Ron later starred as CW2 Michael Durrant -- the helicopter pilot who is captured by Aideed's militia in Black Hawk Down.


Saw your cousin as Biff in Death of a Salesman on Broadway some years ago. Wonderful actor.
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DerTroof wrote:


[ ... ]

As a bonus, one of my all time favorite singers, Dwight Yoakam, plays a ruthless battalion commander!



I like his version of the Bakersfield Sound too. Seems like a nice guy - but he always plays the MEANEST characters when he acts!
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DerTroof wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
I heartily recommend When Trumpets Fade (1998), about the massive yet oft–neglected Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It was a real meatgrinder and protected the launching stage for the German's Wacht am Rhein (Battle of the Bulge). Don't be fooled by the fact it's a made for TV movie, the acting, special effects, and narrative is very polished.


+1 Outstanding war movie. Watched it again on HBO On Demand a few weeks ago. Some young actors that are recognized for later projects - Timothy Olyphant, Frank Whaley. As a bonus, one of my all time favorite singers, Dwight Yoakam, plays a ruthless battalion commander!

Eldard wrote:
And it stars my cousin Ron Eldard as the lone survivor of his squad, promoted to sergeant, and ordered to train the replacements into a ready squad in preparation for the next push. The film is stark in its graphic violence, and I agree that it is an excellent war film.

Ron later starred as CW2 Michael Durrant -- the helicopter pilot who is captured by Aideed's militia in Black Hawk Down.


Saw your cousin as Biff in Death of a Salesman on Broadway some years ago. Wonderful actor.


I enjoy his work. He's had a couple of TV series; starred in an off-Broadway production of Streetcar Named Desire; and more than a half dozen other movies.
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Eldard wrote:
winheath wrote:
pareute wrote:
Definitely worth a watch. I saw it years ago. Wasn't it an HBO production. Very gritty, almost depressing, really.

And I do love me some GetTV. I was annoyed when they cancelled "Baa Baa Black Sheep," though.

Another oft-overlooked film is "Cross of Iron." Sam Peckinpah directed it, it stars James Coburn as a Wehrmacht sergeant on the Eastern Front. That's definitely one of my favorites, and it seems like very few people have seen it.

Cross of iron is top drawer.


Agreed -- it's an outstanding war film. The film was based on the novel by Willi Heinrich, who himself was a veteran of the Eastern Front.

I don't know how well it did in the European box office, but it didn't get much exposure here when it was released. It might be because the subject doesn't involve Americans, and many Americans may feel uncomfortable empathizing with an "enemy" soldier. Nevertheless, it is well acted and I've watched it at least half a dozen times.



Nowhere near as good but don't forget The Cross of Iron sequel film Breakthrough or Sergeant Steiner.

Richard Burton as Steiner and features Robert Mitchum. There is actually a Richard Burton Steiner for Heroes of Normandie.
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pvi99th wrote:
Eldard wrote:
winheath wrote:
pareute wrote:
Definitely worth a watch. I saw it years ago. Wasn't it an HBO production. Very gritty, almost depressing, really.

And I do love me some GetTV. I was annoyed when they cancelled "Baa Baa Black Sheep," though.

Another oft-overlooked film is "Cross of Iron." Sam Peckinpah directed it, it stars James Coburn as a Wehrmacht sergeant on the Eastern Front. That's definitely one of my favorites, and it seems like very few people have seen it.

Cross of iron is top drawer.


Agreed -- it's an outstanding war film. The film was based on the novel by Willi Heinrich, who himself was a veteran of the Eastern Front.

I don't know how well it did in the European box office, but it didn't get much exposure here when it was released. It might be because the subject doesn't involve Americans, and many Americans may feel uncomfortable empathizing with an "enemy" soldier. Nevertheless, it is well acted and I've watched it at least half a dozen times.



Nowhere near as good but don't forget The Cross of Iron sequel film Breakthrough or Sergeant Steiner.

Richard Burton as Steiner and features Robert Mitchum. There is actually a Richard Burton Steiner for Heroes of Normandie.


Thanks for all the praise on Cross of Iron (I didn't realize it was a Peckinpah). I'll keep an eye out for it on the TCM schedule for my monthly picks. It's not currently available for streaming on either Netflix or Amazon.
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Eldard wrote:
winheath wrote:
pareute wrote:
Definitely worth a watch. I saw it years ago. Wasn't it an HBO production. Very gritty, almost depressing, really.

And I do love me some GetTV. I was annoyed when they cancelled "Baa Baa Black Sheep," though.

Another oft-overlooked film is "Cross of Iron." Sam Peckinpah directed it, it stars James Coburn as a Wehrmacht sergeant on the Eastern Front. That's definitely one of my favorites, and it seems like very few people have seen it.

Cross of iron is top drawer.


Agreed -- it's an outstanding war film. The film was based on the novel by Willi Heinrich, who himself was a veteran of the Eastern Front.

I don't know how well it did in the European box office, but it didn't get much exposure here when it was released. It might be because the subject doesn't involve Americans, and many Americans may feel uncomfortable empathizing with an "enemy" soldier. Nevertheless, it is well acted and I've watched it at least half a dozen times.


Check out the entry for COI on Wikipedia. The "Reception" part notes the poor US box office but contrasts this with Europe and apparently it was the second highest grossing movie in Germany. Highly regarded by many people including Orson Welles and Cinemag (?) voted it Best Movie Ever Made!!?
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