Interesting Movie, Decent Story, Great Cast!
Steve Stalzle | Colorado | 10/29/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"(...)That alone is scary-- I knew it might stink, but with the cast list, I thought it might actually be OK, and it is. It's a HORRID DVD transfer though, but for 1 dollar I can't complain too much!
It's what I thought it was, a TV movie (originally aired on ABC) from 1969 written by TV mogul Aaron Spelling and Produced by the great Danny Thomas Productions, who produced such classic TV shows as The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, The Andy Griffith Show, etc,.
This film stars Stephen Boyd, a great character actor/leading man known for his roles in such movies as 'Ben Hur' and 'Fantatstic Voyage'.
It features young newcomers such as Richard Pryor and Billy Dee Williams & football star Rosie Grier in great supporting roles as members of an all-black WW II US Army company ('B' Company) in France who are doing the 'grunt' work of the Army. Digging latrines, digging graves, dealing with garbage, etc. Basically getting No Respect. Blacks were considered second class citizens during WW II.
The story shows how Racist Redneck Major Carter (Boyd) is asked to go on a dangerous mission to blow up a Dam held by the Nazis and the only company of men to help accomplish the task are 'B' Company, (the all black company).
They appear lazy and shiftless to Major Carter, who doesn't believe they can help him blow up the dam. Little does he know, they are more than up for the job. Carter asks their lieutenant in charge for 'volunteers', and he picks 6 men, including Pryor, Williams & Grier.
It's fairly standard TV movie fare, and it's kind of neat to see Pryor and Williams in early roles, as well as great black character actors Moses Gunn & Glynn Thurman (Cooley High)--as well as Susan Oliver, a great blonde character actress who appeared in lots of TV drama in the 60's on shows like 'Star Trek', 'Mannix', 'The Wild Wild West',etc.
It's a nice forgotten addition to black cinema, and shows that black men in WWII could be just as heroic as their white brothers. It's an interesting look at race relations in the late 60's context too, what with the Black Panther movement and all.
It's kind of funny how all the black actors have big afros and a few have mustaches/goatees--not typical of WWII U.S.Army standards, but more like1969 fashion. Pryor sports a natty red beret throughout the whole story, too.
I guess I recommend it as a piece of nostalgia. Again, The DVD transfer is Horrid, but viewable."
Excellent movie...horrible transfer
Desmond J. Burton | Saint Albans, NY USA | 07/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was curious about this movie primarily to see the comedic and cinematic development of a young Richard Pryor(pre the Toy and Superman 3 debacles)...the movie in my opinion DOES stand the test of time considering that it was made 34 years ago. There were some cool cameos(a young Paul Mooney in the background)and of course an ensemble cast of some heavy weight & familiar African american actors..i.e..Billy Dee Williams(starring in Brian's Song the following year), Moses Gunn, Rosie Grier, Glynn Turman and Robert Hooks(a superb actor and father of noted actor/director Kevin Hooks). Surprisingly, the movie holds up..an example of this is the reference to the Moses Gunn character being a physics teacher from Howard University who joined the war effort thus surprising the racist Stephen Boyd character for being a learned Black man. My main gripe is the transfer...yes..this was a Aaron Spelling made for tv movie but if the movie was remastered it would have been a hell of a lot more enjoyable to watch...but again...it WAS worth a gander to see some familiar actors during their prime.....it's worth a look."