The Real Glory: Reconstructing 'The Big Red One' Reviews
Really great war movie from a director that I had never heard of before seeing this film. The main reason I watched this was I saw that it had Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill of all people, so I thought it would give it a chance, and I am really glad that I did. The Big Red One is an excellent film, with probably the most versatile acting of Lee Marvins career, and Mark Hamill did a amazing job, doing his best work outside of the Star Wars trilogy. The story and direction are very good and from what I have read it was actually based on the real account of Samuel Fuller from when he was a solider, and I think that helps with the feel of authenticity. All in all this a war movie that is very under seen and under appreciated and that is a pity considering it is so good.
The script is a feat as a story of the stead-fast progression of the soldiers from North Africa to Germany. In the cast, Robert Carradine is in a performance of insight, amusement, and is a crucial piece to the film. And Mark Hamill is a brilliant arc as sharpshotter, and in the "cremation" scene, he proves he is far more valuable and compelling an actor most would give him credit for.
Johnson: Would you look at how fast they put up the names of all our guys who got killed?
The Sergeant: That's a World War One memorial.
Johnson: But the names are the same.
The Sergeant: They always are.
1.) The tanks. How the heck did they manage to rustle up that many M4 Sherman tanks for this movie (made 1980) when they couldn't get even one for "Patton" (made 1969)? And here I don't even care that the tanks in the movie were of a later mark than the ones used during D-day and were used by Wehrmacht, mainly because scrambling an equal number of working German wartime tanks is about as difficult as growing bananas on Greenland.
2.) Why on earth wasn't Siegfried Rauch (who played Schroeder, the German soldier) allowed to speak German, other than a few words at the end of the movie, when the Italian (the boy trying to bury his dead mother), Belgian (the Inn keeper, though I never really caught on whether she was speaking French or Flemish) and German civilians (the Volksturm posse at the end of the movie) talked -their- native languages? German is his first language (he speaks English fluently with little or no accent at all) and because of this he is more or less the chosen one for the role of a German soldier of any kind in a WWII movie.
In this movie Mark Hamill is playing a soldier in the core group around the Sergeant - one of his few movie roles outside Star Wars.
3,5 out of 5 stars.
Notice how differently WWII is portrayed by the people who actually fought in it. Contrasts sharply with the "heroism" icongraphy in films like Saving Private Ryan and especially Band of Brothers.