Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Battle of the Bulge (1965)

Director: Ken Annakin

Writers: Philip Yordan, Milton Sperling, John Melson

Composer:  Benjamin Frankel

Starring: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews, George Montgomery, Ty Hardin, Pier Angeli, barbara Werle, Charles Bronson, Hans Christian blech, Werner Peters, James MacArthur, Karl-Otto Alberty, Telly Savalas

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Unlike anything you've ever seen before

Plot: In the winter of 1944, the Allied Armies stand ready to invade Germany at the coming of a New Year. To prevent this occurrence, Hitler orders an all out offensive to re-take French territory and capture the major port city of Antwerp. "The Battle of the Bulge" shows this conflict from the perspective of an American intelligence officer as well as from a German Panzer Commander.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

#40 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 10.  It wasn't the U.S. that pulled the world's ass out of certain doom in WWII, it was Bronson.

The great?  Benjamin Frankel's score.  Fantastic.  And the use of the German WWI military song, Panzerlied, is tops.  Telly Savalas.  Hilarious.  Charles Bronson.  Badass.  Had he been in WWII, he would have stood at the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge waiting for the tanks to come ala Tianamen Square only he would have punched the first tank to come his way thereby sending the other tanks crying back to Berlin.

The good?  It's a '60s big budget WWII extravaganza with big time Hollywood celebrity G.I.s killin' Nazis!

The not so good?  It drags in the last half.  I hate that about it but what can you do?  Some of the performances feel silly or rushed as if they could have been better with a couple more takes.  Robert Ryan feels like he's in a hurry sometimes with his gestures and while he otherwise does a fine job, it's these little things that add up to a sometimes strange performance. A better director wouldn't have accepted it. 

The bad?  The excessive use of rear projection versus being on location.  It's unavoidable in movies sometimes but this one has an abundance of these shots that look cheap.  A big budget film like this should know better.

The IMDb trivia says that the film was shot, edited, scored and prepared for release in only 8 months.  I can believe it.  This is a huge picture but there are things here and there that look like they would have been fixed or worked out had they more time.  Between that and the director, the film suffers.  It's still fun and I'll watch it every few years until I expire but there will always be that little thing tugging at my shirt tails telling me if only it could be better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment