During World War II in Italy, an American sergeant and WAC lieutenant take time out for romance.During World War II in Italy, an American sergeant and WAC lieutenant take time out for romance.During World War II in Italy, an American sergeant and WAC lieutenant take time out for romance.
Curtiz the pro
Just caught it on Turner. The reviews calling it "routine" show how dull-normal some people are. In fact, the old pro Michael Curtiz (look him up) brings an extraordinary sensibility to the film. Gone are his romantic stylings of Casablanca and Robin Hood, his lush, overdone Warner's agreeable foolishness. Instead, he portrays war as bitter and without glory, full of random death and meaningless violence. The three combat sequences are superb, and Holden, as he would later demonstrate in "Bridge on the River K" is brilliant as a reluctant soldier who has no sense of glory and no wish to be a hero, but is nevertheless the everyman Infantryman, who knows he must do his duty. Curtiz doesn't turn this evocation of battle into boy's fantasy; it's hard, bitter, terrifying and brutally unfair to children and especially young American men who never thought they'd be dying in the slopes of Mt. Casino. The romance is nicely done, even if the ending is trite (but, in the way that cheap melody can be, amazingly satisfying). Olsen and Holden have great chem (as they proved in three other films as well) and all in all, the whole piece is kept in a register of near-realism that's very affecting. A neglected minor gem from the great Curtiz.
- Sep 3, 2011
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