Sonterro | Lakeland, Florida USA | 12/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a true story about a relatively unknown event during World War I.The film was done in the same style as Saving Private Ryan. When action was happening, the cameras were right there. Plenty of detail added to the authenticity. It is especially interesting for anyone that is familiar to the ways in which warfare was fought toward the end of WWI.Bayonets! Man, I'd hate to have been a soldier at this time.... Some of the scenes are not for the squeamish. The film holds nothing back...I have seen the film twice in the last three nights. I am still picking up information. In my opinion, the cast did an excellent job of bringing this film to life. Even from the German point of view, this must be a good film. The details in the trenches as well as the "no man's land"... The weapons used... It all makes for a good film.It is a definite must for any collector of war films."
Leo | ny | 02/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In late 1918 WW1 was about to come to an end. The US, now fully involved in the war, participated in an offensive alongside the french in the argonne forest. In typical first world war fassion, the modest gains of the offensive were ultimatley lost as the allied forces simply withdrew back to their trenches. however one battalion comprised mostly of New Yorkers of the US 77th division did not withdraw. Instead they advanced, held, and fought to the bitter end. This is the story of the lost battalion; the 308th.AE really got this one right. Wonderfully scripted and with lots of attention to historical detail and accuracey, this film really comes off as more than just an AE original, but something worthy of a trip to the theater had it been there. The movie opens with new recruits coming in before the offensive. The fresh troops are indoctrinated quickly into the frightening world of trench warfare. Rick Shroder does an amazing Job as the Major in command of the 308th. Having been a lawyer back in NYC, he has no real taste for battle, and struggles with his supperiors over the danger posed to his men by the over-ambitious objectives given to them. Once they are in the Argonne forest, and fail to retreat like thier comrads, they become unknowingly surrounded by the Germans. The commanders, amazed that the 308th is sitting right smack in the German center, decides to lie and tell them that the french are still on thier flank, and to hold at all costs. Thus begins a desperate fight for survival, as ammunition and food runs out, and as wave after wave of german counter attacks are repelled. As the bodies pile up we are given glimpes into the personalities of these brave men. Being mostly NYers, the troops are diverse, with italians, jews, polish, and others all creating an interesting dynamic. The movie shows how an interesting transference occurs as the code of the streets, or neighborhood pride than many NYC kids grow up with, lends itself heroicly to the battlefield, not allowing for honor in surrender. The presence of a southerner thrown into the battalion ads a really interesting dynamic between the characters.the acting throughout the movie is superb, and special effects are gritty and realistic, not flashy and mainstream. Lots of nice touches are added into this movie to make it a pleasure to watch and a tribute to the courage of the men.The Germans are unable to understand why this battalion has not withdrawn or surrendered as any normal unit in WW1 would do, when the captured southerner informs them with warning that they are "up against a bunch of New York City Gangsters". Finally, even the fearsome special unit of German storm troopers are repelled, and only a handfull of the 308th are left when allied forces finally link up with them once more. The loss of the argonne, puts the german line off balance, and contributes to the further advances that end the war.I enjoyed this movie quite a bit as it shows both the futility of the war, and delves into the character of those fighting it. AE didnt just make a decent war movie, but a great film that easily deserves a place alongside all the hollywood classics of the genre."
Absolutely a "Keeper!"
Dr. Glenn W. Briggs | KSC, Florida & Chengdu, China | 06/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an "old soldier" and a professor, I am not only a collector of war films representing all eras, but am a "student of war." In that role I am quite critical of all films in that genre, and I found "The Lost Battalion" to be practically flawless, which is indeed a rarity. The producers, director, and actors displayed a penchant for historical accuracy in this film, and provided rare glimpses of what it was "really like" during World War I.
There is a chilling reality throughout the film, to include how the war was seen and pursued from the lowliest fighting man through the top echelons of command, and even from the German perspective. Frankly, there are relatively few films that cover World War I very well, but this is clearly the very best. I feel that my collection - or anyone else's - of war films would be incomplete without "The Lost Battalion," as it is clearly the WWI equivalent of "Saving Private Ryan," and one of the best war films of all time."
We are not going backward
Steven Hellerstedt | 05/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Why does it seem that all the interesting stuff is coming from cable television nowadays? Russell Mulcahy's THE LOST BATTALION is a 2001 A&E production that tells the based-on-fact story of an American battalion - about 600 men - that became `lost' during an offensive operation in the Meuse-Argonne sector of France in 1918.
Rick Schroder plays Maj. Charles Whittlesey, a New York lawyer before the war broke out. Soft spoken and hidden behind a pair of wire framed glasses Schroder nails the part, conveying the character's strength with whispered stubbornness. By the end of the film, when one of the characters tell the Major his men would follow him anywhere (okay, there's a cliché or two in this one), we believe him. With its jittery camera amidst the men and relative absence of establishing shots LOST BATTALION is emotionally gripping, if at times a tad confusing and dizzying. In any event, the movie successfully renders the muck and grim of trench warfare, and delivers an exciting and grisly view of a war cursed with primitive communications yet possessed of highly developed means of mass slaughter.
The dvd also contains a 45-minute History Channel special, `Dear Home: Letters from WWI.' Employing archive footage, period photographs, voice actors and a great number of letters to and from the soldiers it's a nice, sometimes touching, introduction to US involvement in WWI. Both movie and special are highly recommended.