28 December 2004 | chriskooter
Highly watchable WW2 drama
If you have an interest in WW2 and especially movies related to that conflict, this might make an interesting change from the usual Hollywood epics from the 60's. I had to see this having been impressed with 'The Battle on the River Neretva', another entertaining and well produced 70's film from the former Yugoslavia. I've also seen some poor Italian efforts that generally lack decent direction and are half-baked cash-ins on the Hollywood epics they attempt to imitate (there are a few decent ones). Like 'Neretva' you can tell this was made in a former communist country with an emphasis on the common struggle, with sentiment sometimes contrived and also overbearing a little too much (a few scenes are genuinely moving). However, this is a story told with much truth, and the braveness and courage of the Yugoslavian resistance to the Nazi's is nothing to mock. As a story it's a little too episodic but is nevertheless a gripping watch. What's impressive also is the budget involved, you'd seriously struggle to find any WW2 movie with as many extras as this (and 'Neretva') and the props (vehicles, weaponry etc) are all excellent for this era. The direction is fine (not exceptional), the scenery is fantastic. Burton as Tito is pretty stiff, he plays the man as if he were being portrayed in a propaganda description (probably exactly what was required) and the other actors are generally all good. Overall this is a highly entertaining film and deserves a better fate as it portrays one of the lesser known struggles of WW2. Not that easy to find, here in the UK it was released on tape in the early 80's (The fairly rare Videomedia label, same as 'Neretva') with a bright, decent quality, slightly letterboxed print. Maybe a DVD will surface that's not just a rip from tape!! One fault with this UK release was the fact the subtitles are missing from the German speaking scenes, a shame, but it doesn't spoil the film too much.