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Men in War (1957)
Topic Started: Jan 31 2018, 06:40 PM (189 Views)
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Men in War (1957) Dir. Anthony Mann
Produced by Security Pictures
Released by United Artists
102 min. / B&W / 1.78:1
Blu-ray: Olive Films

Korea, Sept. 6, 1950: Lt. Robert Ryan and his 17 men have been separated from their division and are trapped behind enemy lines; their mission is to take a hill 15 miles away, and that's what they set out to do, although the enemy are dogging them step by step along the way and picking them off one by one. Our guys meet Sgt. Aldo Ray, escorting a colonel with shell shock to the hospital, and Ryan, er, "persuades" Ray to donate his jeep to the mission. After several nasty surprises along the way, they reach the hill - and it looks like a hopeless task. But these are AMERICANS, my friend.

A very fine low-budget film. Gosh, how many low-budget "small group of men get separated from their platoon" films have we seen in our lives? (Offhand, I can think of this one and this one. Oh, and this one, can't forget that. And I know some of you are probably shouting out this one and this one.)

(Oh, and there's this one and this one and this one and if you look around the Balcony you'll no doubt seven or eight more, at least.)

Where were we? Oh, right, Men in War. This is actually a good one (you can see up there past all the links who directed it), based on a popular novel of WW2 (okay, so they updated it). Mostly, the rancor between Ryan and Ray makes the film, and all the supporting guys are excellent, although there's a tendency to kill 'em off as soon as we get to like 'em. The guys include Vic Morrow, Nehemiah Persoff, James Edwards (he was my favorite), L.Q. Jones, Scott Marlowe, and whom am I forgetting? Oh, right, Victor Sen Yung as a captured Korean. "Korea" won't fool you for an instant, the same landscape we've all seen in dozens or hundreds of low-budget movies, and the final shoot-out is at Bronson Canyon. Good thing the cast and script are so good.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Lt. Ryan, on staying alive when you're guarding the line's rear: "Stay 30 yards back. Don't sit. Don't stop. You gotta take a relief, take it moving. Keep your safety off and your finger on the trigger so if they jump ya your gun'll fire."

And Ryan to Ray: "God help us if it takes your kind to win this war!"

Interestingly, the Olive Blu-ray isn't restored; it's a beautiful print of the movie, but the occasional scratches and soundtrack noise make it seem, I dunno, more realistic than watching your standard HD presentation. I liked it. A lot. And the film is terrific.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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