Part fact, part fiction, Cast a Giant Shadow powerfully dramatizes Israel's heroic 1947-48 struggle for independence. Both realistic war story and passionate romance, it features an all-star cast, including Kirk Douglas, S... more »enta Berger and Angie Dickinson, as well as Yul Brynner, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra in notable supporting roles. After a brilliant career with the U.S. army, WWII hero and Jewish American Mickey Marcus (Douglas) is called to the new state of Israel to build an army capable of withstanding its Arab foes. Against the wishes of his wife (Dickinson), Mickey makes the journey and begins transforming a rag-tag underground army into a first-class fighting machine. But as the threat of war looms, Mickey must also confront his growing attraction to beautiful activist Magda Simon (Berger).« less
"First off, this film contains a rousing score by Elmer Bernstein. It is brilliant. Melville Shavelson wrote and directed this sprawling biographical action picture about (Colonel) "Mickey" Marcus (Kirk Douglas), a West Point graduate and an adviser to President Roosevelt during W.W.II, who, at the request of the Israelis, went to there in the late 40s to re-organize their army. In this account, based on a book by Ted Berkman, Mickey Marcus is the master strategist who leads the Israelis to victory in the war with the Arabs. Melville Shavelson admires him, making him the cool but enigmatic leader. Shavelson is very eager to please the audience enough to throw in numerous guest stars, such as Frank Sinatra and Yul Brynner, and agonizes over Mickey's moral conflict between Angie Dickinson, the wife he leaves at home in the U.S., and Senta Berger, the female warrior he takes up with. Even those willing to accept the hours of incoherence and banality may recoil at the obscenity of being asked to experience the horrors of Dachau as reflected in John Wayne's bleary eyes. It also features Topol, James Donald, Stathis Giallelis, Ruth White, Gordon Jackson, Luther Adler, Gary Merrill, and Jeremy Kemp. Get the soundtrack."
A true story with a tragic death [that of col. marcus]
usmc [ret] | BRECKSVILLE, OHIO United States | 07/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i was an 11 year old when the events in this movie took place. col. marcus was often a guest at our house, prior to going to help israel. my father was a member of the nypd, and was one of the pallbearers for col. marcus. in addition to that, he was also involved in helping the israelis get weapons [pistols, ammo, and radios]. i saw this movie whwn it 1st came out, and memories were refreshed. i also visited israel, and went to latrun and up the 'burma road' to jerusalem. to this day, there are the remnants of military vehicles destroyed in battle by the arab forces, which entirely out manned and outgunned the fledgling israeli army. one of the results of col. marcus' untimely death was the mandatory learning of hebrew for all new immigrants, no exceptions! despite all the negative reviews, this reviewer knew col. marcus, and other fighters for the fledgling israeli army. this review refers to the book, the screen version, and the vhs tape. it is worth buying this movie."
Captures the spirit that founded Israel
Sam Damon Jr. | Fort Bragg, NC | 10/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reviewers need to be aware that films of history the sooner they are filmed to the event can often catch the mood/look of the time period better than today with our myriad of special effects but no heart. "Cast a Giant Shadow" does this.A great war film that shows how technotactically the "edge" on the battlefield goes to those who can get the best mechanical advantage---the Israelis need a main supply route open to feed Jerusalem (I have actually walked these steep defiles) and tries to armor plate trucks and this doesn't work against ambushers waiting for them. This serves as a warning that the U.S. Army cannot make the same mistake of basing itself on restricted to roads, vulnerable heavy armored cars as some seem lusting for these days. David Ben-Gurion, Israeli Prime Minister knows the "center of gravity" is holding Jerusalem (same is true today) in order to have a rallying point for the new nation. He compels Marcus to find a way to win.Col Marcus played by Kirk Douglas displays the dogged determination "if you first don't succeed, try, try again" so lacking in today's generation. He reminds the Israelites not to wallow in self-pity over their plight BUT TO DO SOMETHING to make things better. He tries to infantry attack Latrun without tracked armored vehicle fire support and fails to take the walled post (now the IDF tank museum) to bust open the road to Jerusalem. He does succeed in mobile warfare against Egyptian tanks using anti-tank guns mounted on jeeps. Eventually, Marcus finds a way----I think the women in the film are sexy; Dickinson and Berger and add to the film in that they love their man, Marcus but fear for his safety as he does what has to be done because humanity insists it be done. The film reminds us that the true feelings many people have towards Israeli people would be exctinction as Marcus discovers at the death camps in Germany as a U.S. Army Paratroop officer. This prejudice is depicted well in the film and reminds us that freedom is not a "free" lunch. Someone has to pay for it, and that usually means our men in uniform. It also means helping them do their jobs as the film shows that getting support from your own people is not automatic. Marcus earns the respect of his Army but at a lot of struggle; what if today there are no men of vision willing to go this far to defend freedom?"
Cast a Giant Shadow is the last major Hollywood pro-Israel f
David Thomson | Houston, TX USA | 06/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mickey Marcus (Kirk Douglas) greatly contributed to the birth of the Jewish homeland. I have not read Ted Berkman's biography of this great hero. Still, I get the impression that the 1966 film tries to be faithful to the historical reality. We even learn about Marcus' disloyalty to his marriage vows. Was this necessary? The scenes involving his wife (Angie Dickinson) and mistress (Senta Berger), however, admittedly do help us better understand him.
Mickey Marcus was primarily a big picture military planner. He sought opportunities to bravely put his life at risk---but working behind the scenes and organizing an effective military force was his real specialty. The Jews of Palestine were often at odds with each other. Marcus had to find a way to unite them to fight the common foe, the self pitying and bigoted Arabs. The appearances of John Wayne, Yul Brenner, and Frank Sinatra added to my enjoyment of the film.
Cast a Giant Shadow was made thirty nine years ago. It is the last major movie depicting Israel as a land of decency and honor. Did Hollywood turn anti-Israel soon afterwards? What is the chance it might be made today? Less than zero? Are a number of Hollywood Jews ashamed of Israel? If so, why do they embrace this inexplicable attitude? Have they become Jewish Uncle Toms?"
A sentimental film
Seth J. Frantzman | Jerusalem, Israel | 12/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off let me say I have been living in Jerusalem now for two years and I saw Exodus before I cmae here but this film in many ways is more senitmental and brings tears to the eyes, despite its Hollywood idiocy, cardboard acting and stereotypes. The cinematography cannot be beaten, the film is shot in the dirty kibbutzim, Jerusalem hills and Negev desert. Although the battles are stylized and the Egyptian tanks are not accurate, the film maintains many accurate aspects. It truthfully shows the non-support given by the U.S to nascent Israel. It also gives many accurate details regarding the Egyptian advance, the battles for Jerusalem, the Burma road and the ALA. It fairly depicts the arab irregulars, and in this many are wrong, the depiction of Israeli organization and Arab disorganization is fairly portrayed. The Israelis are shown to be full of bravado, lacking many military skills, but with much efficiency and zeal while the Arabs are truthfully shown to be made up of a variety of competing interests, including irregulars, sheikhs and regular troops.
Many small details are accurate and fair. The cast is brilliant, including Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra(in a bit part) and John Wayne. The Hebrew is simple and helpful for the begginer. THe Romance is not as stupid as previously portrayed, and the Israelis/Jews are depicted in their diversity(with the exception of the religious).