- SKU: 2103143
- Release Date: 03/22/2011
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Ratings & Reviews
The highly variable Audie Murphy delivers his best screen performance as "himself" in Universal's To Hell and Back. Based on the star's autobiography, this is the story of how Murphy became America's most-decorated soldier during WW II. After dwelling a bit on Murphy's hard-scrabble Texas upbringing, the story moves ahead to 1942, when, as a teenager, Audie joined the army. Within a year, he was a member of the 7th Army, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and ultimately Germany and Austria. One by one, the members of Murphy's Company B are killed in the war, until only three men from the original company are left (the others appear at the finale as ghostly images, a standard visual cliché of 1950s war films). The bulk of the film is given over to Murphy's conspicuous acts of combat bravery, and his killing of 240 enemy soldiers. Highlighted by excellent battle sequences, To Hell and Back is a serviceable tribute to a most complex individual. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Battle Hymn was inspired by the true story of American minister Dean Hess, played here with rare sensitivity by Rock Hudson. A bomber pilot during World War II, Hess inadvertently releases a bomb which destroys a German orphanage. Tortured by guilt, Hess relocates in Korea after the war to offer his services as a missionary. Combining the best elements of Christianity and Eastern spiritualism, Hess establishes a large home for orphans. The preacher's efforts are threatened when the Korean "police action" breaks out in 1950. Battle Hymn was one of several collaborations between Rock Hudson and director Douglas Sirk--though Sirk felt that Robert Stack would have been better suited to the role of Rev. Hess. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Gray Lady Down
When the nuclear submarine he captains is rammed by a freighter while surfacing in Atlantic waters just off the coast of Rhode Island, Navy Captain Paul Blanchard (Charlton Heston) is able to radio for help. However, his sub's condition calls for urgent attention. Downed in extremely deep water near an even deeper ocean trench, the sub is perched precariously in waters too deep for conventional rescue efforts and is in danger of plummeting into the ocean trench. When the sub's escape hatch is blocked by debris from an undersea earthquake, the situation becomes even grimmer. Despite assurances that all will be fine, Captain Bennet (Stacy Keach), who is coordinating the official Navy rescue effort, has already warned Blanchard's wife to expect the worst. However, another Navy captain (David Carradine), who is working on an experimental deep-sea exploratory vessel for the Navy, hears of the incident and volunteers his help. This story is based on the novel Event 1000 by David Lavalle. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
The winner of four Oscar nominations, Wake Island was one of the first major Hollywood films to deal with America's forced participation in World War II. The first two reels takes place in the weeks prior to Pearl Harbor, as Wake Island military commander Brian Donlevy carries on a friendly rivalry with Seabee supervisor Albert Dekker. Once the US is in the shooting war, all previous differences are forgotten and the Wake Island personnel begin pulling together. Despite being heavily outnumbered during the subsequent Japanese attack on Wake, the Americans put up a valiant fight, at great cost to the Imperial Forces. In a scene calculated to evoke long, loud cheers from the audience, Donlevy, weary and battle-stained, relays to the American mainland the legendary (if offensive) challenge "Send us more Japs!" As in the like-vintage Bataan, the military defeat of the Americans is treated-and justifiably so--as a moral victory. Utilizing some of the top male talents in Paramount's contract pool-Donlevy, Dekker Robert Preston, MacDonald Carey, William Bendix--Wake Island remains an excellent example of propaganda-as-entertainment ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Audie Murphy - Himself
- Marshall Thompson - Johnson
- Susan Kohner - Maria
- Charles Drake - Brandon
- Jack Kelly - Kerrigan
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