War Stories

stalag“Battleground (1949)” is a classic combat drama about the men who held the line the Battle of the Bulge.  It is surprisingly unsentimental for its time and place, and marked by touches of droll humor.  Realistic without an excess of gore, pyrotechnics, or jinogism, it remains one of the best films of its kind (“Band of Brothers is one of the few in its class).  William Wellman directed.  “Stalag 17” (1953) is something else, a POW whodunit, kind of  like Agatha Christie meets Hogan’s Heroes.  If you are not put off by the incongruity of the tone and setting, it’s enjoyable mystery, in a 50s kind of way. Directed by Billy Wilder.

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One Response to War Stories

  1. J. Kinnaman says:

    “Surprisingly unsentimental?” OK, there are a couple of scenes (chaplin, nuts, airdrop) that over-do it. But it gets so much right -the fate of replacements, lousy condtions (trench foot, winter cough), the prevelance of artillery to firefights, the cynicism in the ranks –that you wonder if the writers had been there. And how they got away with making a film that did not put a patritoic gloss on the war.

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