EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BATTLE OF SAN PIETRO, THE (director/writer: John Huston; cinematographers: John Huston/Jules Buck; editor: Gene Fowler Jr.; music: Dimitri Tiomkin; cast: John Huston (Narrator); Runtime: 33; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Frank Capra/John Huston; Reel Classic Films; 1945)|
|"Gritty, realistic, extraordinary World War II
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This gritty, realistic, extraordinary World War II
documentary was Major John Huston's ("The Maltese Falcon"/"Key
Largo"/"The African Queen") second contribution to Frank Capra's “Why
series. It was shot by six
Signal Corps cameramen under Huston's direction. His cameras follow the bloody battle of the 5th Army's
1943 attack on the town of San Pietro, Italy, in the Liri Valley. The
small farming community, with a population of 1,412, is where
the camouflaged Germans are dug
in and have to be moved out so that the Allied army can advance forward
in the second phase of the Italian Operation.
the end of October to the middle of
December 1943, San
Pietro and the surrounding hilly terrain is the scene of intense
fighting, which Huston chronicles in its unsparing gory details. The
Americans win the battle, but at a heavy price as over 1,100 U.S.
soldiers were killed and over 1,000 replacements
needed in the 143rd regiment.
Huston is the passionate unseen narrator. His film was so grimly realistic in its showing of the bloody battle that the US Army refused to show it (then cut out more than half its content, reducing it to the current thirty-three minutes--believing it would be damaging to troop morale, hard on the family's of the dead soldiers and be construed as an anti-war film). The film was preserved by The National Archives and Records Administration.
REVIEWED ON 5/2/2010 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ