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Thursday, May 29, 2008


Lewis Milestone ’s rep peaked with his early Talkies (ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT/’30 & THE FRONT PAGE/’31), which may be because (or why) his basic technique held to silent film principles longer than any comparable megger. The arrhythmic use of inserted static close-ups is the dead giveaway. It makes a lot of his films both frustrating & fascinating, but this one is merely dutiful. It’s a 20th/Fox prestige WWII war drama. complete with the Darryl Zanuck imprimatur, about a bomber crew who are captured and put on trial for murder in Japan. Some unhappy pre-echoes of current events make you wish it didn’t play like one big dramatic set-up, but it was 1944, the war was pivoting to the Pacific Front & attitudes were very raw. At least, the motley American crew (Dana Andrews, Sam Levene, 18 yr-old Farley Granger, et al) sport a staggering range of acting styles which gives this courtroom drama a bit of unexpected variety.

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