Combat Classics [2 Discs] [DVD]

Columbia Pictures turned out many outstanding and acclaimed war dramas over the years. This four-volume box set offers a quartet of features from that studio and genre. First up is director Philip Leacock's The War Lover (1962); adapted from a novel by John Hersey, it stars Steve McQueen and Robert Wagner as World War II bomber pilots who clash head-to-head when they fall for the same woman (Shirley Anne Field). Next on the roster is 1957's Hellcats of the Navy - with Ronald Reagan as a submarine commander assigned to locate the mines off of Japanese shores during World War II; Nancy Davis (the future Nancy Reagan) co-stars as his love interest. 1968's Anzio, from director Edward Dmytryk, stars Robert Mitchum and Peter Falk in the tale of the titular WWII battle - one of the most deadly and brutal ever fought. Finally, 1966's Night of the Generals - from director Anatole Litvak - co-stars Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in the story of a Nazi general turned serial killer and the investigator assigned to bring him to justice.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Anzio
This Dino De Laurentiis-produced re-creation of the decisive Italian military operation top-bills Robert Mitchum as a battle-weary war correspondent. Robert Ryan and Arthur Kennedy play generals, Peter Falk is the lovable Brooklynese corporal, and Earl Holliman is the country-boy sergeant. Anzio was based on the book by Wynford Vaughan Thomas. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Hellcats of the Navy
Future "first couple" Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis made their only joint film appearance in Hellcats of the Navy. Ronnie plays Casey Abbott, commander of a WW2 submarine, while Nancy portrays navy nurse Helen Blair, Abbott's off-and-on girlfriend. During a delicate mission in which his sub is ordered to retrieve a revolutionary new Japanese mine, Abbott is forced to leave frogman Wes Barton (Harry Lauter) behind to save the rest of his crew. But Abbott's second-in-command Don Landon (Eduard Franz) is convincing that Abbott's sacrifice of Barton was due to the fact that the dead man had been amorously pursuing Helen. The rest of the film is spent proving Abbott right and Barton wrong. Based on a book by former USN vice-admiral Charles A. Lockwood (played in the film by Maurice Manson) and retired USAF colonel Hans Christian Adamson, Hellcats of the Navy is a much better film than Reagan's detractors would have one believe. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The War Lover
Loosely based on a novel by John Hersey, this standard wartime drama stars Steve McQueen as Buzz Rickson, command pilot of a B17 bomber, and Robert Wagner as Ed Bolland, his co-pilot. When Buzz first comes on the scene, Ed admires him for his daring and skill in executing the bombing raids over Germany. But as time goes by, Buzz starts to fall for Ed's girlfriend Daphne (Shirley Ann Field) and at the same time, Ed begins to see that Buzz is only good at piloting bombers -- in civilian life he is a total washout. The contrasts between the men, Buzz's internal problems, and the love triangle provide the dramatic fodder throughout the 105-minute running time. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

The Night of the Generals
Military Intelligence officer Major Grau (Omar Sharif) investigates the brutal murder of a Warsaw prostitute in this mystery set during World War II. Grau's only clue is that the murderer was wearing the uniform of a Nazi general. The three suspects include Gabler (Charles Gray), who fears his harridan wife more than anything, the icy General Tanz (Peter O'Toole), and the scheming, resourceful General Kahlenberge (Donald Pleasence). Grau is suspicious when he is taken off the case, but he does his own investigating when the suspects are gathered in Paris two years later. He enlists the help of Inspector Morand (Philippe Noiret), a resistance sympathizer with whom Grau forms an alliance. A side plot involving an affair with the general's daughter is thrown in for distaff interest. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Robert Mitchum
    Robert Mitchum - Ennis
  • Peter Falk
    Peter Falk - Rabinoff
  • Earl Holliman
    Earl Holliman - Stimler
  • Mark Damon
    Mark Damon - Richardson
  • Arthur Kennedy
    Arthur Kennedy - Gen. Lesley
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