Henry Fonda plays Colin Spence, a diffident, self-effacing Canadian (but of course!) corporal in the British infantry based in Tunisia. Led by the crusty but supremely competent Sergeant Kelly (Irish of course), Spence’s squad is sent out on a recon mission that goes badly awry, and the men are forced to engage in a terrible trek across the burning desert. Spence is forced to assume a leadership role, and along the way has flashbacks to his relationship with Maureen O’Hara, and how his unwil…ingness to take a risk or fight might have wrecked his chances with her.
Made in 1943, this exactly the kind of war film one might expect, filled with all sorts of good morale-boosting notions and patriotic speeches. The artificiality of those sentiments aside, the lost platoon angle is fairly well done, even if the characters remain either cartoons or indistinguishable cyphers. Ordinary, then, but entertaining enough.
Much like the movie itself, the sound is efficient, but unexceptional. The stereo remix has the usual indiscriminate result of such cases, with sound coming from all speakers, regardless of whether the individual noise should be coming from a given speaker or not. Otherwise, the sound is crisp and clear, with minimal distortion, though there are some odd moments of electronic distortion during some of Fonda’s internal monologues.
Some of the exterior shots are a bit grainy, and there are some instances of print damage in the form of guitar strings. There is also a bit of haloing going on. But the image is extremely sharp, and the print is in otherwise superb condition. Most of the scenes are entirely grain-free, and the black-and-white tones are excellent.
Nothing here but the film’s trailer and those for four other war movies. The menu is basic.
Straightforward entertainment on a bare-bones disc. Nothing to write home about, then, but it’s still a fun watch.
Special Features List