Cliff Robertson is a US Lieutenant who had planned to make it through WWII as a radiooperator and translator, and see no action. He is less than pleased when Henry Fonda dispatcheshim to the New Hebrides to accompany a rag-tag squad of disaffected British soldiers (and noneare more disaffected than Michael Caine) on what may very well be a suicide mission. Leadingthe squad is Denholm Elliott, a brave but incompetent officer, and bit by bit, the mission goeswrong. Eventually… Robertson and Caine will be faced with the choice of saving their own skins,as their instincts demand, or doing the heroic thing.
While descending into improbability in the last act, with the Japanese somehow having wiredenough loudspeakers to give them blanket coverage of the entire jungle, this is fast-paced, tough-minded adventure. With the exception of Caine, Robertson and Ian Bannen (as The Weak Link),the soldiers are interchangeable, but the action is constant, and the suspense genuine.
The sound is the original mono. After the first fifteen minutes or so, the clarity of the soundisn’t bad, but there is a lot of distortion in the early goings. The buzz is so bad in the first scenewith the British soldiers that the dialogue is almost incomprehensible. No stereo remix here,either.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture is cropped down from 2.00:1. Still, partialwidescreen is better than fullscreen, I suppose. There is some grain throughout, especially in theexterior long shots. On the other hand, the colours are solid, and the contrasts in the night scenesare especially good. the picture shudders up and down a couple of times, and the layer transitionis clumsy. Some shots (again, this is true earlier rather than later) are soft.
The trailer, in fullscreen format.
A solid war film, exciting and direct. I don’t know where the woman picture in a still on theback of the case came from, though. I must have blinked and missed her.
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