Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1957. Bryna Productions. Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham, Jim Thompson, based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb. Cinematography by Georg Krause. Produced by James B. Harris. Music by Gerald Fried. Production Design by Ludwig Reiber. Costume Design by Ilse Dubois. Film Editing by Eva Kroll.
Exceptional war film by Stanley Kubrick that contains elements viewers will recognize from his later films such as Full Metal Jacket and even 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kirk Douglas is terrific as an army officer who takes on the task of defending three soldiers accused of cowardice in a military court martial, following their regiment’s failure to take a hill during the first World War. Their sadistic commander (George Macready) is mainly trying to cover up his shame for his failure and putting the blame on his subordinates, giving Douglas quite the job to do in what is obviously a show trial. A superb film that, like most of Kubrick’s work, is achieved on a magnificent technical level as well as an intellectual one, with its military setting the perfect ground for fleshing out the director’s favourite themes of dehumanization and conformity.