Published on October 8th, 2007 | by Chris0
Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
After World War II, as you are probably quite aware by now, the official state of Israel was formed in Palestine. And then all hell broke loose.
Cast a Giant Shadow attempts to tell a bit of that story, as former American officer Mickey Marcus (Kirk Douglas) goes to Israel to help establish their military, fend off those who would oppose them, and legitimize the newly formed government.
Now, I don't want to get into an argument about the politics of the Middle East, so I won't touch on any of that. Sure this is based on a true story, and the American bias is obvious, but really this is an excellent war movie from the "docu-drama" category. With plenty of artistic license thrown in.
Yeah, you've got to contend with the tacked-on love story bit, where Marcus gets estranged from his wife, and falls for the hot Israeli chick. But its all good.
Basically the plot follows Marcus as he's thrust into the battle early on his arrival to the region, and has to figure out how to unify about four different "militias" under the flag of the provisional, still unrecognized government. Once this is accomplished, he's lauded as a hero, both there and at home. Unfortunately he meets his doom quite by accident, and that's where the movie ends.
What strikes me most odd about this is the near upstaging of Douglas by the "special guest" cast, who only get billed at the end of the cast list in the credits. You've got the US Army General Randolph whom Marcus flaunted (and still does) during the war played by none other than John Wayne. Then there's the commander of one of the Israeli factions, Asher Gonen, played by Yul Brynner. Wait for it, there's more. Toward the end, Frank Sinatra of all folks shows up as a (should I say *the*) pilot for the Israeli "Air Force" (once you've seen it you'll understand the quotes...)
Overall this star studded cast along with Angie Dickinson as Marcus' wife, and Senta Berger as Magda, the other woman, makes Cast a Giant Shadow a movie worthy of its name.
Really I wasn't expecting to like this one very much, I figured it'd just be a "let's just hash some history" type of story, but its done really well. Yeah there are some stereotypes portrayed, most notably on the Arab side of things, but you just have to run with it.
Regardless of your opinions of the middle east situation, I'd recommend Cast a Giant Shadow, if nothing else to learn about a bit of history you probably weren't aware of (I know I wasn't at all) and to watch a cast of great actors click together.
Cast a Giant Shadow
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Cast a Giant Shadow is based on Ted Berkman's biography of Colonel Mickey Marcus, the American soldier who served as an adviser in the fight to establish the state of Israel in 1948. Marcus (played by Kirk Douglas) must decide whether to settle into peacetime America or follow his more natural, combative instincts abroad--a dilemma symbolized by a love triangle involving wife Angie Dickinson and Senta Berger as a soldier whom he falls for in Palestine...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: MGM (Video & DVD)
Original Release Date:
- Kirk Douglas
- John Wayne
- Frank Sinatra
- Senta Berger
- Angie Dickinson
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
KIRK DOUGLAS, YUL BRYNNER and JOHN WAYNE LEAD ISRAEL TO VICTORY!,
This review is from: Cast a Giant Shadow [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Remember the days when Americans and their Hollywood tastemakers were pro-Israel? This film from the year BEFORE the Six-Day War is an all-star, action-packed drama that's patriotic in terms of both Israel AND America. Kirk Douglas, still in his acting prime, plays real-life World-War-II hero Mickey Marcus, who went on to spearhead Israel's self-defense strategy - foreshadowing the triumph of 1967. While Yul Brynner and James Donald (The Great Escape) are great as Douglas' Israeli cohorts, the standout "guest star" is John Wayne, whose larger-than-life performance as Douglas' chief contact with the U.S. military refreshes the action throughout the film. The blu-ray looks great, and Elmer Bernstein's soundtrack echoes his spectacular work on The Great Escape.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"A Soldier for All Humanity",
This review is from: Cast a Giant Shadow (Amazon Video)Reports of he recent (October 2013) visit of Sarah Netanyahu to West Point to place flowers at the grave of Colonel Mickey Marcus has caused a renewed interest in his biography. A 1924 graduate of West Point, Col Marcus was a boxing champion as a cadet and attended law school after graduation. Called to active duty as war clouds loomed, he established the Army Ranger School in 1942, parachuted into Normandy on D-Day in 1944, and following the war managed the Nurenburg war crimes trial of Nazi leaders. In 1947 he volunteered to serve as an adviser to the Israeli armed forces, and in 1948 became the first General in the modern Israeli Army - now the IDF. This biopic, adapted from the 1962 book of the same name, stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Marcus, and does an excellent job of depicting Col Marcus's experience in Israel and with the Israelis beginning in 1947. A sub-plot is developed around a rumored romantic relationship between Colonel Marcus and an Israeli war widow, played by Senta... Read more
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The birth of a nation,
This review is from: Cast a Giant Shadow (Amazon Video)This movie has a star studded cast. Kirk Douglas in the starring role, Topol as an Arab Sheik, Yul Brenner as an Israeli Soldier, John Wayne as an unnamed General (but we all know it is Patton), and Frank Sinatra as Corporal Pasaic, a WWII pilot from New Jersey. There are others in this movie that were great but I don't have the room to type them all in.
Kirk Douglas plays a WWII Colonel, in the now ended war. He was a lawyer attached to the Judge Advocates office and never saw action on the front. So, he cons his way onto a plane bound for France on D-day, Liberates Dachau Concentration camp, and gets chewed out by John Wayne. Meanwhile in Israel, they are trying to become an independent state, still bringing in victims from the camps, or better yet sneaking them in since the British would not let them in, and training them to fight the Arabs. They send an Israeli soldier (there were no ranks at that time), to convince Col. Marcus (Douglas) to come help them fight. At... Read more
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Summary: Regardless of your opinions of the middle east situation, I'd recommend Cast a Giant Shadow, if nothing else to learn about a bit of history you probably weren't aware of (I know I wasn't at all) and to watch a cast of great actors click together.