Published on April 8th, 2008 | by Chris1
Battle of the Bulge (1965)
I went into Battle of the Bulge thinking, “Alright! A nearly three-hour long epic docu-drama on the battle!”
And, unfortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m not really sure what this movie was supposed to be. When I think of the real Battle of the Bulge, I don’t think of the things that were portrayed in this movie. I think of the poor slobs stuck out in the forest freezing their you-know-whats off, practically starving, and being pounded by German artillery.
I don’t think of huge, and largely unbelievable tank battles that look like something out of the Revolutionary war. Funny, not until I started writing this did I find that my opinion matched some of the others out there….
…that this was a Western in war-movie clothing. To top it off, the thing is largely dull and uninteresting. We’re treated to long and wholly sanitized scenes of gunfights and tank battles, which remind you (painfully) so much of the old western movie cowboy and indian battles. Right down to the over-dramatic and bloodless deaths. If I had a nickel for every schmuck who overacted his death in this movie…well, I’d have enough change for the beer I should have drank beforehand.
To top it off, from what I can tell, few of the events portrayed in the film atually happened. Sorry, guys. Sure there is a visit to the heinous Malmadey massacre, the infiltration by Nazis in GI disguises, McAuliffe’s “NUTS” reply… and I suppose they got the strategic aspect of the push more-or-less correct. But the entire reliance on the tank corps. in the film, deciding the entire offensive in one battle at one location, and the introduction of so many fictional characters and situations was just a bit odd.
Not to mention that the entire operation in this movie lasts but a couple of days. Stranger still is Lt. Col. Kiley (Henry Fonda) and his sole observations. Surely not. And I can’t not mention the bumbling and out-of-place comic relief (but not that comical anyhow) of Sgt. Guffy (Telly Savales.) His tank’s annhiliation, but still drivable, and hey he survives without a scratch!! Um, no.
Sigh. It’s just unfortunate I suppose. Battle of the Bulge seems to have been created to appease some sort of studio’s need for an “action epic” rather than any kind of factual or believable integrity. I mean, at the very least you could have found someplace that *looked* like it was covered in a foot of snow. Some places in the film did, but most were just merely muddy, and a lot of spots there were still leaves on the bushes. And only at the outset of the picture do we get a feel for the cold and nasty conditions.
I will say that about the only interesting part of the film relates to (the fictional) Col. Hessler’s (Robert Shaw) assistant, Cpl. Conrad (Hans Christian Blech.) His falling out with Hessler over the context of the war and how men like Hessler’s character are the problem, could have given this picture a lot more depth. Unfortunately it was only briefly touched on, and his throwing down of his rifle at the end should have meant so much more.
Battle of the Bulge could have been a timeless classic, but instead winds up on my B-movie list, having more in common with Cavalry-vs.-Comanche pictures than any war movie. At least they got typecast Nazi Karl-Otto Alberty to play a role as the poor German infantry commander wrapped around Hessler’s pinkie.
(P.S.) And what is the deal with the OVERTURE and EXIT MUSIC plates? Yet another aspect of the film that screams it took itself way too seriously! On actually good movies this is awesome. Here not so much.)
Battle of the Bulge
The German offensive in December 1944 became the basis for this all-star Hollywood take on the Battle of the Bulge. Henry Fonda is an officer who predicts the assault, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews are Army brass skeptical of his intuitions, and Robert Shaw (his hair dyed yellow and his eyes glinting with malice) is a German officer leading the tank attack…
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Warner Brothers
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
- Henry Fonda
- Robert Shaw
- Robert Ryan
- Dana Andrews
- Pier Angeli
- Nazi Panzer forces stage a last-ditch Belgian front offensive that could turn the tide of WWII. Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw and Robert Ryan in the spectacular recreation of a crucial campaign.Year: 1965Running Time: 170 min. Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: ACTION/ADVENTURE Rating: NR Age: 085391108627 UPC: 085391108627 Manufacturer No: 11086
Summary: Battle of the Bulge could have been a timeless classic, but instead winds up on my B-movie list, having more in common with Cavalry-vs.-Comanche pictures than any war movie. At least they got typecast Nazi Karl-Otto Alberty to play a role as the poor German infantry commander wrapped around Hessler's pinkie.