The setting is WWII Italy, with Dana Andrews starring as Sgt. Tyne, one of the officers leading a platoon in an attempt to take a farmhouse in the Italian countryside, which is now a German stronghold. As the troops prepare to attack, they contemplate the lives that have led them to this place and think about how to most effectively do their jobs. The men repeat their mantra, hoping it will be a talisman: "Nobody dies."
This WWII film was the first to use a ballad as a thematic element, a practice which, after HIGH NOON, would become a cliche of the 1950s. The film stars Dana Andrews as Sgt. Tyne, one of the officers leading an attack on a farmhouse in the Italian countryside which functions as a German stronghold. When the ranking officers are killed soon after the platoon lands on the beach, Tyne must take over. He leads his men along an ill-defined road toward the farmhouse while the company is periodically strafed. As they walk, each character has his own preoccupations: Windy (John Ireland) writes mental letters to his sister, Rankin (Chris Drake) talks lovingly about his "baby," his submachine gun. But there is one phrase all share: "Nobody dies." As they approach the farmhouse, Sgt. Ward (Lloyd Bridges) takes a scout patrol across the field with fatal results for two of his men. After he blows the only bridge to the farm, the rest of the platoon moves in for the final assault. One of the best WWII films, A WALK IN THE SUN combines documentary-like sequences with a sharp awareness of the isolation of each soldier in the midst of battle.
World War II |