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…
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
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.