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During a mission to capture a Nazi officer deep inside enemy-held territory, paratrooper Alexei Kulkov (Academy Award(r) winner Paul Muni, Best Actor, 1936, The Story of Louis Pasteur) ends up trapped inside the basement of a bombed-out building along with fellow Russian Lisa Elenko (Margeurite Chapman, Destroyer) and eight German soldiers, one of them an officer pretending to be an enlisted man. As they await rescue, Kulkov and a Nazi professor (Ludwig Donath, The Jolson Story) probe each other in the hope of learning something that could help their respective sides win the war. Who will best the other? Zoltan Korda (The Jungle Book) directed this riveting suspensor, stunningly photographed by two-time Academy Award(r) winner James Wong Howe (Best Cinematography, 1955, The Rose Tattoo and 1963, Hud) and featuring Larry Parks, George MacReady and Philip Van Zandt. But its pro-Russian stance played a huge part in the blacklisting of screenwriter John Howard Lawson (Sahara), who is today most famous for being one of the "Hollywood Ten." Newly remastered.
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Margeurite Chapman is GREAT in "Flight To Mars" also.
Audio and video quality is excellent. Happy to have this in my DVD collection.
Sadly, not burned on M-DISC
I completely understand that obscure movies like this do not economically justify pressing a disc. However, I would've gladly paid a dollar or two more for a disc that would last forever. Instead, they burned the movie on the old-fashioned, purple dye type disc that are only good for around 5 - 7 years. M-Disc last 100s of years.
This review is for the actual item I received from Amazon. If you are after a, "pure movie review", I suggest you look at the International Movie Database. There you will find many reviews without regard to the delivery mechanism.
This movie is based on a stage play taken from a 1942 novel. The story begins with bridge-building at night over a river. It is built 18" under the surface to escape detection by aerial photography. This will give the advantage of surprise. A platoon of paratroopers will be dropped behind enemy lines before the attack. A captured enemy soldier is questioned by the officer in charge. Sand in his boots tells a tale. Thinking or following orders? The success of this counter-attack depends on gaining knowledge of the enemy plans. "There's no such word as impossible." They attack the enemy post and win. [Note the use of Tommy guns by these Russian troops.] The building is bombed. No way out? Will the light last? "Back!" "Higher." Bombs fall outside. "If I want anything I'll ask for it."
"It is more important to get information than to escape." Kulkoff questions the prisoners about their past. Is one of them an officer in disguise? Can they be rescued? The captured soldiers have a sense of humor. "No more talking!" Each captive is questioned separately, but don't talk. "Show me your hands." Was one soldier overlooked? There is activity above the bunker. Kulkoff reviews the questions and answers. The professor talks a lot to distract Kulkoff. There is an attack but it fails. Is there a way to force them to talk? The officer reveals himself when his turn comes. [Not as smart as he thinks?] Is stubbornness a weakness? Can a man stay awake for weeks? The officer proposes a gamble in exchanging information. [Does it get talky here? It was a stage play.] Can tanks cross over water? Can a new road be built through a pass? An invisible bridge? Will Kulkoff talk too much? Will there be peace after the war?
Can Kulkoff avoid falling asleep? Is the miner different from the others? No, he won't cross the line. Will there be a surprise in the last minutes? [Can you believe it?] The sound of digging and German voices are heard. Who will be rescued? They show tanks running across the river! The rescuers break through for a happy ending. "It was psychological." There is a last surprise.
This story tells about attitudes during WW II, but is also about personal conflicts set in wartime. It is based on an actual WW II military event where bridges were built below water to avoid detection and destruction.