14 April 2004 | zpzjones
One of the Best Combat Movies of All Time
First, let me ask, why isnt this available on video or dvd here in the States? They have it in Britain & Germany! Nevertheless Im glad to see this film making the rounds on Showtime and it's satellite cousins. I agree with previous posters that Spielberg 'HAD' to have watched this great film from the great Cornel Wilde, who incidentally plays the captain here. I originally watched this back in the 1980s on HBO and it, usually for years after, showed up on TNT during Memorial Day Weekend. But in the past few years I hadn't seen it until lately with these few Showtime airings. But back to the movie. Long before I had ever seen Saving Pvt Ryan I had just read the reviews of it. When the reviews talked about the opening sequence being extended pure assault, I knew that someone watched or knew of Beach Red. Both SPR & BR open in an almost identical fashion of pure armed violence. The only difference is the locale of the two pics. SPR on the beaches of Normandy and BR in a distant south pacific isle.
Beach Red covers a platoon from it's assault on a Japanese held beach, through the occupation of the island and finally to many of the members of Wilde's platoon losing their lives. This is bittersweet because we are taken, through flashback, to some instant in these soldiers personal lives. Wilde doesn't stop there. He also flashbacks the Japanese soldiers lives as well. This is great and considerate filmmaking as it humanizes boths sides, US & Japanese, withstanding the brutality of armed combat. This pic, unlike for instance 'The Longest Day', is filmed in rich colour. With the addition of colour in a war film this further personalizes the tragedy Wilde & his men have to go through in killing and staying alive. War is just as deadly on a bright and sunny day as it is on a gloomy or rainy type day. But Beach Red would have been a still very effective film had it been made in black & white.
For War Film buffs, I think many will be stunned by this movie when and if they have not seen it. It's always been a sort of low key picture undeservedly but thanks to home video & cable a couple of new generations will discover this unheralded classic. Wilde should have been very proud of his achievement in Beach Red, both as director & actor. And his supporting cast of the great Rip Torn as the gruff Sergeant and Burr DeBenning as the well meaning Yokel-Bumpkin are pure delight. A fine film from a fine cast. View it.