Attack (1956)

Attack (1956), produced and directed by Robert Aldrich.

A Lieutenant (Jack Palance) has had it with his cowardly but politically connected Captain (Eddie Albert). The guy refuses to provide support when the going gets tough and has gotten too many men killed. As soon as the Lt can get out of his current jam and blow up a few German tanks, he is coming back really pissed and the Capt is a Dead Man Walking.

I saw this as a kid and was shocked by (1) the naked cowardice of the Captain and the political maneuvering of his buddy the Colonel (Lee Marvin), and (2) the brutal scene where the Lt is run over by a tank, crushing his arm. And still he comes back! It's almost a horror movie.

Maybe it was the small blurry TVs we had back then, but I remembered his arm being torn off at the shoulder. Now I can see that doesn't happen, although I think it is supposed to be totally crushed: "I didn't know a man could bleed so much."

It was adapted from a play, making it a bit dialogue-heavy. Extreme situations require a intensified performances; when does it become overacting? I can't say. I found myself scrutinizing Palance, but I think he played it as written and directed: as a man suffering beyond human endurance.

Note the future famous faces: Richard Jaeckel, Buddy Ebsen, and briefly, Strother Martin.

The IMDB does not show the original aspect ratio. The DVD is 1.33 but I don't know if that is correct. The framing looks pretty good, though.