Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bitter Victory (1957)

Director: Nicholas Ray

Starring: Richard Burton, Curd Jurgens, Ruth Roman, Raymond Pellegrin, Anthnoy Bushell, Christopher Lee, Nigel Green

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Desert Commando Raid They Wiped Off the Record Books!

Plot: British army captain Leith (Burton) is handed a mission that may prove to be his most difficult yet: He must partner up with fellow military officer Brand (J├╝rgens), with whom he doesn't get along, to steal top secret documents from a Nazi group in Libya. Complicating matters further is Leith's relationship with Brand's wife (Roman), with whom Leith once had a torrid love affair, ratcheting up the tension between them.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

Considering the talent in front of and behind the camera you'd think this would be a top notch British war film. Instead it's just a heavy-handed melodrama with the two leads, particularly Burton, going over the top with their actions and performances. It collapses under its own dramatic weight. What's worse is how they handled the forced love triangle. I'm not saying it shouldn't be there but we don't need so much face time with it. You get everything you need to know within 5 minutes of its introduction. Then they spend the rest of the picture going back and forth between these two when the bottom line is it's just not compelling enough to get me to care...and I have to care about someone. I was just sort of glad when it was over. It felt like it wouldn't have taken all that much to make this a much better and tighter film. Instead it's just a war time potboiler behind enemy lines that doesn't do much else than sit there feeling sorry for itself.

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