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
"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
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
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Solid Script With Top-Level Actors and Authentic Locations,
This review is from: Cast a Giant Shadow (DVD)How can you go wrong with a script like this, actual history with just a hint of Hollywood sprinkled in, with Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, Yul Brynner, cameo appearances by Frank Sinatra, and more.
The action kept me on the edge of my seat at times. It's an old movie and at times the acting is a bit stilted, but the action makes up for it. If you are interested in the birth of the state of Israel, this does a good job of telling one part of the story. There are, of course many other stories and sub-plots, but you'll have to see other movies and books for more detail about those. Right now I'm watching a series of movies based in and around this time period. I've been reading the books and have more to read, but this is a painless way to learn a little history.
I like the music that is interspersed throughout, but it isn't believable that the people just jumped on a bus headed through dangerous territory and started singing in perfect harmony. That part was not... 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.