Random Film of the Week: Attack!

(thanks, Ray Acton!) 

attackAs far as war movies go, Robert Aldrich’s 1956 film, Attack! isn’t the predictable, lavishly produced jingoistic, rubber-stamped by the military rah-rah fest glorifying World War II as a unifying fight against the Axis where everyone on our side is perfectly portrayed as a sterling citizen soldier of upstanding moral fiber with one or two likable quirks. Instead, it’s a gripping slice of drama that pulls no punches as it details the breakdown in command of a whittled down unit of soldiers under the command of a cowardly captain (portrayed perfectly by Eddie Albert) and how another officer tries to bring a moral center back to the men before it’s too late.

According to a few sources, Aldrich didn’t get the usual assistance from the Department of Defense when making the film and in fact, had to make do with shooting the entire thing in just over a month using borrowed, bought or rented military gear including two tanks (that military purists will note were badly disguised as German Panzers). Despite this, it’s a powerful, must-see film that’s on par with Sam Fuller’s The Steel Helmet, or Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket as one of the best films in the genre.

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