Steven M. (Stevekc43) from COLLINSVILLE, OK Reviewed on 7/22/2011...
Terrible picture. Peter Falk was ridiculous in it. Anyone who thinks this garbage will rate up there with Midway, Battle of the Bulge or From Here to Eternity is in for a serious surprise. Don't waste time on this garbage.
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Betty M. (bettysue) from CANTON, GA Reviewed on 6/12/2010...
Great WWII movie!!!
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This is one BAD movie.
(1 out of 5 stars)
"It may have been a big hit, but this movie stinks. Mitchum is good, but that's about it. It's fake and inaccurate, not to mention boring. Even when there is action, it so fake you won't care. I don't even know why it's called Anzio. It focuses on 7 GIs who survive an enemy ambush and try to get back to their lines. Bad script doesn't help. Inaccuracies include helipads on WW2-era ships and Americans with British WW1 rifles. You'll find that looking at the bottom of your popcorn bowl is more entertaining than the movie. I did."
Anzio - Two Stars
Steven Hellerstedt | 04/05/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"You're in trouble when you begin loathing a movie during the opening credits. A jeep drops off the a dusty uniformed Robert Mitchum and the camera follows him up a flight of stairs and past a couple of security check points, through some large palace rooms. There are gigantic paintings on the wall, the wealth of ancient Italy. We follow him into the first scene of the movie, the opening oh-oh.
A sizable crowd of American GIs, with a few stray prostitutes here and there, are in a huge hall of the palace. One soldier hangs from a monster chandelier, while the other soldiers taunt, hoot and throw oranges and such at him. Apparently he's trying to break a "How long can you stay on the chandelier" record. A herd of "elite Canadian Rangers" enter, shepherded by Corporal Peter Falk, and naturally the veggie throwing thugs attack them. Well, boys will be boys, and I suppose trashing an ancient palace can and should be written off to youthful exuberance.
Meanwhile, disillusioned journalist Robert Mitchum, kind of the anti-Ernie Pyle in this one, drags a long necked bottle of wine and the cynical sergeant Earl Holliman and makes for the balcony for a moment of intense character exposition. It looks like they're in a room with a blue mountain scene painted on the tapestry. I swear I saw Mitchum's shadow on the mountain behind him. Then battered Corporal Peter Falk enters the balcony, and you see by a reverse shot that they're supposed to be outdoors. Maybe it worked better on the big screen.
The movie is about American's invasion of Anzio as seen through the eyes of a pacifist journalist. The landing is unopposed, and Mitchum requisitions a jeep and, along with Falk, discover that the road to Rome, the ultimate destination, is open. Rome can be in Allied hands in a few days, if they move fast enough.
Allied high command decides to dig in instead, which allows the German's the time to create a Caesar Line to oppose advance. Some time later Holliman's battalion, with the un-armed Mitchum along for the story, advances cautiously towards Rome, led by ranger Falk.
It's too late, of course, (damn timid high command), and most of the battalion is killed or captured. A handful of them make it and they escape their valley of death by the clever clearing of a mine field.
Frankly, the script is a mess. There are references made to Salerno, where the invasion was hampered by precipitate action - the fools rushed in when they should have dug in. At Anzio the fools SHOULD have rushed in, but they dug in instead. The fog of war being what it is, my sympathy is with the high command in this movie, but I guess that's beside the point. ANZIO was made we questioned authority as a matter of course, especially military authority.
The best war movies rush forward. ANZIO meanders and makes some odd stops on its way to the battlefield. Take, for instance, the strange scene of Peter Falk teaching the prostitutes to sing "Bye, Bye, Blackbird." It takes way too long, it has nothing to do with the story proper, and it ambiguously establishes his character. It looks like an ad-lib job and should never have been shot in the first place.
A couple of the action scenes that take place behind the enemy line work pretty well, especially when the survivors come across the white dog and later when they encounter a snipers' nest.
I'm a big fan of Robert Mitchum, and I think he's effective as the weary iconoclast. Holliman and the other soldiers are okay in roles that don't demand a whole lot from them. Falk's improvisational style is way out of place here. The movie grinds to a halt every the camera centers on him.
The ending, the liberation of Rome, is tacked on at the end. The real end of the movie is the moment Mitchum discovers the answer to his question, "Why do we fight and kill each other?" The answer is pretty thin and unsatisfying, perfectly in keeping with the rest of the movie."
Small Gems Within A Stillborn Film
pinxet | USA | 07/30/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"How easy to imagine a reader's confusion from the preceding reviews for "Anzio". Apparently a movie loved or hated with little middle ground, the reviews reflect in sum mixed sentiments I can well understand -- "Anzio" remains close to the top of my list of bad movies I nonetheless enjoy.
Previous reviewers felt very abused by its misleading title. Unlike it's contemporaries "Tora Tora Tora", "Battle of Britain", "Longest Day", or "Midway", this "Anzio" claims only cursory nods to history. You will not find here little yellow captions introducing each newly-met character, listing name, rank, and historybook significance: "Major General John Doe, Deputy Commander XIV Corp".
The bulk of this movie is clearly *not* about "Anzio the Historical Campaign" -- The DVD menu shows 4 scenes of generic soldier-awaiting-battle events, 15 scenes of fictional characters journeying home behind enemy lines, and only 8 scenes purporting relationship to history. With so much focus on historically fictional characters, this film could be about *any* group of men, in *any* battle, during *any* war in history, and should be accepted by us on those terms. The time and location are only marginally relevant backdrops for a theme. It's a disconcerting shame that so many become distracted from the story by five letters in stencil-font on a DVD cover. This is not history -- Get over it.
It is however an understandable distraction. The screenwriter and director profoundly fail to articulate their theme with either clarity or focused skill. Beginning with a silly theme-song, appropriate more to cheap Las Vegas nightclubs than to a war movie, we're subsequently walked through an idiotic procession of testosterone-laden scenes of sweating troops doing the Guy Thing -- Swinging on chandeliers, punching each other out, shouting "All right you mothers!", or lecherously eyeing large-breasted women during a joyride behind enemy lines, this cliche-ridden buffoonery could well be accepted as calculated instruction for alienating audiences aged 14 or above. The battle scenes are dusty non-believable hokum which became boring in movies before the VE-Day celebrations.
Despite that, this is no easy movie to completely dismiss with venomous contempt. For those inclined to look beneath the muck, there is also much which is distinctive and compelling. The theme is a simple but interesting one, expressed by Mitchum early in the script: " Why do we do it, why do we kill each other? How can a perfectly ordinary good-natured guy sit in an airplane and bomb a thousand sleeping strangers below? I haven't found an answer." In contrast to this well worn question, a disturbing, and -- for a movie of this ilk -- highly unusual answer comes from Falk, and summmarizes the movie's message: " ...and it's got nothing to do with democracy. Because I like it. I want this. A guy sells shoes for 40 years, and I live more in one day. "I see more, I feel more, I taste more, I think more. I'm more. Do you understand? I'm more."
Experience teaches us about ourselves. It demonstrates and corrects misconceptions about ourselves. Of all possible experiences, how many are more emphatic than protracted world war?
Falk's answer haunts the movie in crisp moments of self-revelation for characters who are other than what they believe themselves to be: Mitchum the journalist, outwardly a jaded pacifist, he discovers truth in Falk's telling him, "You're just like me." Arthur Kennedy as General Lesley, who, by virtue of rank and position should be a master warrior, is in his actions, and despite protestations to the contrary, the film's actual pacifist-at-heart These are fine performances rising above a poorly crafted script. But this movie truly belongs to Falk, sympathetically portraying one who has reached self-fulfillment as a man of violence thriving in violent circumstance.
The oft derided scene of Falk teaching "Bye Bye Blackbird" to three prostitutes is one of the reasons I purchased the DVD. In a movie where all the primary characters demonstrate some measure of depth and variety in their personalities, this scene balances Falk's killer corporal who loves war. Without it, Falk would simply be a cocky brute; with it he becomes among the men Mitchum describes in the quote above. I admit predjudice here however -- of all versions I've ever heard of this song, this remains my favorite.
We may easily denigrate this movie for it's obvious bad history, sour direction, and muddled script. But it's equally easy to remain alert to small gems here, shining from the acting of the lead characters deftly pointing to a thought-provoking if stillborn theme, of self revelation during war.
DVD is superb!
Benjamin E. Cressy | NH USA | 03/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"CONCERNING THE DVD: This is a pretty fair package from Columbia Pictures. It contains a nicely restored widescreen presentation of the film in its entirety, and in the correct 2.35:1 ratio with sharp, vibrant images. The French 2.0 surround track has more kick and dimensionality than the original English mono track. Special features include some rough-looking trailers for this film and a handful of other WWII movies, as well as subtitles in several languages. You can also find a full-screen transfer on the opposite side of the disc.
CONCERNING THE FILM: (from my website, www.angelfire.com/film/eurowar)
American director Edward Dmytryk headed to Italy to shoot "Anzio", one the most lopsided World War II epics to come out of the 1960s. Despite some good intentions, this film fails as both an anti-war drama and an action piece.
The film stars Robert Mitchum ("The Enemy Below") as Dick Ennis, a cold and cynical war correspondent that does his work on the front lines with the infantrymen. When the squad he is accompanying gets cut off behind the German lines due to an ambush, he must pick up a gun and help them fight their way back to Allied lines.
The movie has a lot going for it, right from the start. Every actor looks comfortable, especially Mitchum. Robert Mitchum has never been one of my favorite American actors, simply because he always seems to be acting - despite the dimensionality of the part, Mitchum can never seem to break out of a box. Here, he looks to be having plenty of fun and seems quite natural in the role. Mark Damon ("Between Heaven and Hell") provides the necessary dramatic opposite as an infantryman who can't seem to agree with Ennis on his policies. Arthur Kennedy ("Attack and Retreat)") is the exact opposite of Ennis' character as the incompetent General Lesley, who takes too much time establishing a solid beachhead and allows the Germans to launch an offensive, pinning his men down on the beach. Peter Falk ("Situation Normal, All Fouled Up"), on the other hand, is totally wasted as Corporal Rabinoff, a soldier who has become addicted to combat. Earl Holliman ("Armored Command") is the Sergeant in command of the squad, and he makes the most out of a clich?d-role by giving his character personality. Be sure to watch for Robert Ryan, Anthony Steel, Arthur Franz and Patrick Magee as Allied Generals.
There is only one big battle sequence, which expertly staged and filled with tanks, extras and big explosions. However, its effectiveness is limited because of two key flaws. Primarily, American soldiers are seen to stand up in the open and rush German machine-gun nests, only to be mowed down by overwhelming enemy fire. Secondly, there's a ridiculous scene in which Ennis and a soldier engage in a discussion about the war right in the middle of a fight, despite the fact that bullets and artillery shells are landing all around them! The final, small-scale, climactic showdown with German snipers was much more suspenseful, due to some excellent editing and great music score.
One major flaw in the film is, unfortunately, the script. It's as if "Anzio" can't decide if it wants to be a gung-ho flag-waver, or a downbeat, anti-war story. The first half the film is filled with humorous, almost slapstick scenes, although some of Mitchum's dialog hints that this is going to change ... and it does, in fact the focus turns around 180 degrees. Throughout the second half of the film, the action stops dead in its tracks so that the characters discuss issues of personal sacrifice, what constitutes above and beyond the call of duty, etc... until it's been repeated so much that you can't stand to hear anymore. For all of this discussion, the conclusion is pretty forced. Mitchum says something along the lines of, "Men kill each other because they like to. Maybe if we all sit back and realize it, we could stop the killing and get along." That statement defines over-emphasis. Instead of being a history lesson about the real Anzio campaign, the film turns into a social commentary on Vietnam.
The on-location shooting served the proceedings well, as the film looks like sunny Italy in every frame. The scene in the Italian house looked excellent, and Dmytryk uses wide angles throughout to show off the scope of the Italian locales. The score ranges from victorious and rousing to mournful and depressing, which contributes a great deal to the mood of some important scenes - such as the entry into liberated Rome and the significance of one character's death in the sniper sequence.
"Anzio" is a mixed bag, but despite a lack of focus on one central theme, it manages to be entertaining and satisfying as a drama, with enough well-staged action scenes to hold it together and help obscure the muddled anti-war sentiments.
OH. David Janssen DID NOT appear in this film, contrary to the belief of many viewers, who may have this title confused with INCHON! (released in 1980)
Historically Inaccurate but Entertaining
gobirds2 | New England | 07/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Allied landing at Anzio was not unopposed. Allied forces were bogged down in trench fighting for almost three weeks before they could move inland against the Germans. In this film facts get turned around but the basic story is intriguing. A rather stoic Robert Mitchum plays a pacifist battle-hardened war correspondent who must come to grips with his own convictions. Under Edward Dmytryk's direction Mitchum's character seems to have more military smarts than the professionals do, thus making his character a bit of a conundrum. That's what makes this film so interesting. Peter Falk, Earl Holliman and Reni Santoni are good as the stereotypical GIs that Mitchum goes out on patrol and has to fight his way back with. Riz Ortolani created a good suspenseful score and there are some really good action sequences. The good cast, which is a great asset, includes Robert Ryan, Arthur Kennedy, Patrick Magee and Mark Damon."