The Victors (film)

The Victors (film)

Infobox Movie
name = The Victors

image_size= 180px
imdb_id = 0057652
producer =Carl Foreman
director = Carl Foreman
writer = Carl Foreman
starring = George Peppard
Romy Schneider
Vince Edwards
George Hamilton
Melina Mercouri
Jeanne Moreau
Elke Sommer
Senta Berger
music = Sol Kaplan
cinematography =Christopher Challis
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = 1963 | runtime = 175min
language =

The Victors is a 1963 film by Carl Foreman following a group of U.S. soldiers through Europe during World War II, from the early days of the Battle of Britain, through the fierce fighting in Italy and France, to the uneasy peace of Berlin. It is adapted from a collection of short stories called "The Human Kind" by British author Alexander Baron, based upon his own wartime experiences. In the film the British characters of the original book were changed into Americans in order to attract American audiences.

Atypically of Hollywood interpretations of World War II at the time, the depiction of American GIs shows soldiers worn out by battle and weary of conflict. Hostility towards their newly liberated hosts on the part of Germans depicted in the film is obvious and surprising given the era in which it was made. The film slips between Pathé style newsreel footage showing the conquering heroes abroad for the audience at home, and the grim reality of post conflict ennui.

The film consisted of short vignettes, each having a beginning and an ending in itself, though all connected to the others, as a series of short stories adding up to a longer one.

The cinematic highpoint is a bizarre and long sequence depicting the execution by firing squad of a GI deserter in a huge, otherwise empty, snow covered field, conducted to the sound of Frank Sinatra singing 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas', followed by an uplifting chorus of 'Hark the herald angels sing,' after the fatal shots are fired. This scene is remarkable for its stark, visually extreme imagery.

The whole film is shot in black and white, with black regimented figures of the firing squad and witnesses facing the lone man bound to a stake in the midst of a snow-covered plane. The addition of surreal accompanying Christmas music and absence of dialog make this scene an oft cited one. This unreal use of saccharine music with a frightful scene was emulated the following year by Kubrick in Dr. Strangelove, which was also shot in black and white.

This scene may be based on the actual execution of Eddie Slovik by the US Army in France in early 1945. He was the only soldier executed for desertion by the Americans in the second war. His sentence was approved by Dwight Eisenhower himself, presumably to act as an example.

There is a distinctly different effect between seeing the movie in entirety in a theatre, which may leave one virtually gasping for air, and seeing it on a small TV screen with the disctractions of a household, and perhaps even commercial interruptions, rendering it merely "interesting."

The all star cast included George Peppard, Romy Schneider, George Hamilton, Albert Finney, Melina Mercouri, Eli Wallach, Elke Sommer, Jeanne Moreau, Vince Edwards, Senta Berger, and Peter Fonda.

The film was nominated for a Golden Globe (Most Promising Newcomer, actor Peter Fonda).

External links

* [ The Victors at the IMDB]

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