Published on August 27th, 2012 | by Chris2
When Anzio started, I actually considered turning it off. I was greeted with a completely groovy and highly 1965 Tom Jones-ish intro song. If that wasn't enough, it was followed with an opening scene of a guy swinging from a rather ornate chandelier, surrounded by a bunch of other guys throwing hats at him. Yeah, I dunno.
But actually Anzio didn't turn out that bad. The story (if you want to call it that) surrounds one newspaper man, Dick Ennis (Robert Mitchum) as he follows the army into Anzio and points beyond. Along the way he manages to cross paths several times with Corporal Rabinoff (Peter Falk) a misfit who seems to always wind up on the wrong end of things. They meet people, get in adventures, and eventually Ennis finds his way back to civilization.
First, the good. The production in Anzio is just top notch. They went all out here, filming more-or-less on location in and around Rome and Naples. Also count the sheer amount of extras, both in manpower and military hardware. Ships, tanks, planes, troops, weapons, jeeps... I don't even want to think about the logistics of pulling this one off. And it certainly is a sight to look at.
The bad? Well, to be honest, for a war movie, there isn't a lot of war here. A few very short sequences, especially at the most-confusing and triumphant-sounding (but most untriumphant) ending is about all we really see. The troops land at Anzio and find, well, nobody. Then they branch out to Rome and find, well, nobody. Then they all get captured (save for Ennis' group) without much todo. While on the run, they come across a German squad in a house they're occupying. Near the end is there a rather tense yet predictable scene with a pair of snipers that resembles much combat.
I think I understand what the goal was here, to present a stereotypical war-movie "episodic" storyline. Of course it wholly addresses Gen. Leslie's failure at Anzio, which was to just sit tight and wait on the Germans to assemble and come after them, rather than taking the offensive. In this regard its a raging success. Ennis really lays into Leslie at the end, and I think that is the point of Anzio. Or at least the intended point.
Unfortunately the so-so acting on the part of Mitchum, and the "hey I'm a bad ass" growling of Falk do us no favors. Neither does the fact that we don't actually see anything but these few survivors for most of the film, which pretty much negates the entire Anzio setting. These guys could have been anywhere, and anytime during the war. The soundtrack at times is OK, but then you realize its a rehash of the leisure-suit-larry intro. The only thing carrying this through to the end is the production, but that only goes so far.
tl;dr version: Starts off really WTF. Ends pretty much the same way. lots of eye-candy with little or no logic or flow or originality in between. A difficult 5/10. Just because there were parts that weren't bad at all, but overshadowed by the not-so-good.
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Screen greats Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, and Arthur Kennedy star in the riveting war drama ANZIO, a vivid portrait of one of the bloodiest WWII battles ever fought. After landing with allied troops at Anzio, Italy in 1944, war correspondent Dick Ennis (Mitchum) and buddy Corporal Rabinoff (Falk) tell Anzio commander General Lesley (Kennedy) that the road to Rome is wide open...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
- Robert Mitchum
- Peter Falk
- Mark Damon
- Earl Holliman
- Arthur Kennedy
Summary: Starts off really WTF. Ends pretty much the same way. lots of eye-candy with little or no logic or flow or originality in between. A difficult 5/10. Just because there were parts that weren't bad at all, but overshadowed by the not-so-good.