Battle Cry

"Good"

Battle Cry Review


Battle Cry is a colorful and overpacked CinemaScope-era World War II epic that, at two hours and 29 minutes long, feels about as long as the Battle of the Pacific it depicts. What sets it apart from other WWII flicks is its emphasis on the psychology of soldiering rather than the logistics of battle. It's not about the assault on the beach. It's about how the soldiers have been trained to feel about the assault on the beach. The result: too much talk and not enough flamethrowing for a film that covers the war's bloodiest battles.

We begin with a trainload of Marine recruits who are so stereotypical that the solemn narrator even introduces them by their stereotype labels: the dumb north country lumberjack Andy (Aldo Ray), the All-American boy Dan (Tab Hunter), the hoodlum, the sensitive bookworm, the "Injuns" recruited for Navajo code talking, and so on. They've left behind an assortment of families and girlfriends who will haunt their thoughts and test their faithfulness throughout 10 weeks of basic training in San Diego and the ocean journey to Hawaii and beyond.

Commander Sam Huxley (Van Heflin), known as High Pockets by his men, is a tough taskmaster committed to making his squad the best and to volunteering for all the toughest assignments, which he never gets. He's outraged that his men are sent in "with brooms and dustpans" to do mop up work after earlier waves of Marines do the real fighting. They see Guadalcanal, but only the tail end of it. On a break in New Zealand he forces the squad to undertake a 60-kilometer hike in record time just to prove they're tougher than the other Marines who are resting nearby. The men hate High Pockets but respect him, and they finish the hike only because they want to see if they can make him drop. He doesn't.

Subplots abound, most notably with the love lives of the innocent (and engaged) Dan, who is tempted by, well, a temptress, and Andy, the dumb lumberjack, who falls hard for a New Zealand beauty, impregnates her, marries her, and then flirts with the idea of desertion. And why not? Would you have rather spent World War II on Iwo Jima or on an idyllic Antipodean mountaintop sheep farm?

When the squad finally gets a plum assignment to join the first assault wave on Saipan, we see some exciting battle action for the first time. Of course, after more recent films depicting war's true horror, this is tame stuff. It's the kind of war choreography where a bomb explodes and ten soldiers keel over as if they'd died from an attack of the vapors. It probably had a lot more impact back in the day on a big CinemaScope screen. Happily, the soldiers do finally get to use some cool flamethrowers.

The Americans win, of course, and the movie wraps up, slowly, with lots of tearful reunions and homecomings. All and all, a long and somewhat exhausting slog for both them and us.



Battle Cry

Facts and Figures

Run time: 149 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd February 1955

Distributed by: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Raoul Walsh

Producer: Jack L. Warner

Starring: as Major Sam Huxley, Aldo Ray as Andy Hookens, Mona Freeman as Kathy, as MSgt. Mac, as Mrs. Pat Rogers, as Major General Snipes, as Pvt Dan 'Danny' Forrester, as Rae, as Mrs Elaine Yarborough, as Pvt Speedy, as Pvt Joe Gomez aka Spanish Joe, William Campbell as Pvt 'Ski" Wronski, Jonas Applegarth as Pvt Lightower, L.Q. Jones as Pvt. L.Q. Jones

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.