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"A guitar-picking good ol’ boy. A clean-cut all-American. A Navajo. A bookworm. A lumberjack. A slum kid. All enter Marine boot camp to be trained, hardened and ready to answer their country’s Battle Cry. Scripted by Leon M. Uris from his own novel, directed by action master Raoul Walsh and starring a who’s who of ’50s movie stars, Battle Cry is an epic ode to World War II Marine heroism and homefront sacrifice, a saga following recruits from boot camp to a New Zealand base of operations to the war they knew would someday come their way: the bloody invasion of Saipan. Enlist now alongside the fighting men and stalwart women of Battle Cry for boisterous tenderness and gung-ho excitement."
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The music for the New Zealand romance is absolutely unforgettable! After three days of seeing the movie, this love theme is still ruminating in my heart and ears!
No, the battle scenes are not convincing. There are cliches galore in the way the young soldiers are depicted, but the trajectory of the movie goes into your heart to make much of the movie memorable.
Aldo Ray was absolutely believable and his transformation rings true. Is it just me that the last scene when he arrives at the New Zealand ranch and sees his son for the first time (with the wonderful musical score swirling in the background), my emotional floodgates overflowed.
Somehow I will return to this moment the rest of my life! Authentic!
Battle Cry is altogether different, focusing on the soldiers lives away from battle more than in battle. A squad of volunteers is whipped into shape by Van Heflin and fights in the early battles in the Pacific. Along the way they meet women, lose women, marry women, and fight each other!
...The vast amount of combat in Leon Uris' book wrung out to a tiny patch. The romantic problems of the characters the main focus... Like turning Pearl Harbor into a "chick flick"... Battle Cry wallows in domestic problems...
...The parts of the film involving training... from basic to the long marches in New Zealand are well staged... though basic is a touch brief and "sanitized..."
...The cast is generally far better than the material... James Whitmore as Mac... was actually a Captain in the Marine Corps in WWII... L.Q. Jones (as he would later be) was perfect as... L.Q. Jones... and Raymond Massey lends his enormous talent to a cameo... Tab Hunter was playing a "vanilla" character to begin with... Gunman's Walk far better place to see his best acting work...
...Aldo Ray was pretty much a one-note actor... But in Battle Cry he does a fine job of taking the character of a borderline mysogynist to that of a caring husband and father... He realistically brings out vulnerability in Andy's character... from having something beyond himself for the first time... to dealing with an injury that was feared among lumberjacks... In short... he manages to grow up...
...Other characters such as Ski and Speedy are barely addressed... Spanish Joe... as portrayed by the much under rated actor Perry Lopez... has one moment of real humanity on Tarawa...
...The score is rousing... From a film maker's standpoint... the best part of the movie.
... I am impressed how in winter a light sweater would suffice in Baltimore... going and coming...
...The Marine Corps loaned a battalion to the producers... which certainly cut down costs. I was pleased to see that nobody told the black Marines to stay in barracks during the shooting of the film... they are present on screen... though in WWII at first there were no black Marines... and later they would be formed and used as support troops... Also "the finger" manages to make it on the screen as another battalion drives by the exhaused Marines... Not bad for 1954 filming...
...I certainly understand why the critics bombed it... and understand why it did well at the box office... In spite of having made "Battle Cry 90210" it is relatively easy to like... and has a few gems scattered about...