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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


One of the few Korean War pics, this adaptation of James Michener’s bestseller is heavy with prestige it can’t live up to. The biggest problem is Valentine Davies’ script which hits all the philosophical points on Men & War, Families & War, Comradeship & War, Leadership & War with an earnest voice that’s too ‘on point’ to convince as dialogue. Plus, the staggeringly handsome footage at sea & combat flying scenes only make the mock-up studio stuff & backscreen projection stick out all the more. (Odd coming from Paramount where Farciot Edouart ran Hollywood’s best F/X department.) As the conflicted pilot, William Holden shows sorrowful panic while retaining his manly mien in his unique manner, but everyone else (Fredric March, Grace Kelly and an obnoxious Mickey Rooney) only gets a single tune to hum. Right at the end, the big mission shows helmer Mark Robson at his best, with some good tough scenes for a couple of reels, but this just spotlights all that’s been been missing in the previous hour & a half.

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