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The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage(1951)

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  • The Red Badge of Courage

    • Goetan
    • 4/26/14

    An intimate, loyal adaptation of Stephen Crane's novel. Murphy excels as a Calvary recruit who flees from a battle and is guilt stricken with questions about courage and cowardice. Director Huston and Murphy capture the anxiety of a man preparing for a war, heightened by the battle scenes and cinematography. Excellent and quick-paced. I give it a 4.5/5.

  • A UNIQUE VIEW OF AMERICA'S BLOODIEST WAR

    • TOM B
    • 8/16/12

    Filmed during the height of the Korean War, which was being fought while Stalin was still on his bloody throne, this film both gained and lost because of that event: for what other film can boast to have both of the two most famous soldiers of WWII in the same film (Murphy and Mauldin). Indeed, it would have been impossible to have depicted this story with such an eye to 19th Century detail if this film had been made before WWII. One could easily imagine this story being filmed in color by some sort of over-the-top C.B DeMille type of treatment. Instead, thank goodness, we have beautiful black and white, which makes the film look like a series of CW photographs, and directed by a director who had photographed REAL combat in WWII. We owe it all to the great John Huston, who gives the film a look of one of his WWII documentaries like San Pedro. Particularly the first battle scene which gives the viewer as close a look into the reality of CW combat as anything other than being on that battlefield itself. In this scene Huston keeps the camera on the Union troops perspective which allows the viewer feel what it was like to be under a Rebel attack-complete with the "Rebel Yell" heard in the background. In doing so Huston intensifies the tension of the scene, since it puts the viewer in the combat. To have cut to the Rebel army's perspective would have ruined that feeling of being there. This occurred in the TV version of this film, made in the 1970's, much to the weakness of that version. In the end, however, MGM didn't believe in the film, its Korean War release seemed like the height of bad timing. Fortunately, the film was made and even though some of the prints appear to have been shot with inferior film stock, it still stands tall as the primary Civil War film, made by a heroic cast and director. See it once and see it again.

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