Published on December 17th, 2007 | by Chris0
Eight Iron Men (1952)
Sometimes it doesn't take an extensive set, a large all-star cast, or even much action to speak of to create a stellar piece of war movie history. Eight Iron Men pits, well, eight men against their own wits, a German machine gun nest, and their superiors when one of their own gets pinned down.
Really Eight Iron Men is more character story than war story, and in that respect it absolutely shines. The entire picture deals with the moral dilemma of the plight of their downed comrade. Should they go against orders and try to rescue him? Do they simply leave him as their patrol moves out? Is he still alive at all?
You've got a few different archetypes to go off of as well, the "eternal soldier" and squad leader Mooney (Lee Marvin), the goof-off and dreamer Colluci (Bonar Colleano), the paranoid Coke (Richard Kiley), the optimistic "Greek" (Nick Dennis), Muller the not-so-bright (Dick Moore) and the pinned-down soldier, Small (George Cooper.)
Seeing how there isn't a whole lot of plot to describe, this review will be fairly short. The film starts with small getting pinned down, and the entire film shows the squad deciding what to do. Now, normally this would be a dull exercise of talking heads. Not so here. Between Marvin and Colleano, the tension and well-placed humor play off of each other, so that the constant roller-coaster of emotion always makes things interesting.
And how can you not enjoy Colluci's little daydream episodes. Mama Mia!
I won't spoil the ending, but suffice it to say it makes a statement on the absurdity that comes from wartime situations, and it's kind of funny to boot. Its also nice to see the the goof-off and slacker make something of himself...whoops! I'm going to spoil it!
Short on action but heavy on drama and emotion, Eight Iron Men is one you shouldn't miss, but don't go in expecting a firefight, because you won't get it.
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Summary: Short on action but heavy on drama and emotion, Eight Iron Men is one you shouldn't miss, but don't go in expecting a firefight, because you won't get it.