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: Journey to Shiloh (1968)  ( 413 )

« : May 13, 2017, 11:04:41 PM »

We are the Concho County Comanches.

Journey to Shiloh is directed by William Hale and adapted to screenplay by Gene L. Coon from the novel written by Will Henry. It stars James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, Brenda Scott, Albert Popwell, Harrison Ford, Jan-Michael Vincent, Robert Pine and Noah Beery Junior. Music is by David Gates (supervision Joseph Gershenson) and Technicolor cinematography by Enzo Martinelli.

Seven young Texans journey east to fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Full of ideas of noble glory for the war effort, the group have their eyes rudely opened by the prejudice and snobbery they encounter along the way.

Rock of Ages.

Film is bookended by a cheesy song that first tells of the young men setting off for the journey, then latterly of what became of them upon their final destinations. Throw in some pretty wooden acting away from the lead player and mix in a score that sounds like it belongs in the Pink Panther cartoon show, well you would naturally expect the film to be something of a disaster? Yet there is much to recommend here for the discerning fan of Civil War yarns.

The Pensacola Light Blues.

Picture gets its strength from the interest garnered by the source story and the lead performance by a youthful, wig wearing, Caan. Story is potent as an anti-war piece, the parallels with the then current Vietnam War, and the feelings running high at that time, are hard to ignore. Here the lads have their ideals punctured by events that happen out on the trail. Firstly some in fighting upsets the equilibrium and this sets the tone for the rest of the picture. An encounter with a runaway slave, and the aftermath of said encounter, really puts a serrated edge on the plotting. Young men off to be brave and fight the good fight, do they know what for? They then are surprised by public resistance to their bravado, you see not everyone wants a war, lads.

Cos we're fixin to shove that there General Grant and them blue bellied soldiers of his-plum into Lake Erie.

A pointless romantic interlude threatens to derail the picture, but the makers overcome it by dropping in some good action. A bar room brawl at Munroe is most enjoyable, and then once the guys find themselves enlisted into the Pensacola Light Blues, with Beery Junior arriving and putting his mark on the picture, we move onto the horrors of war. Here we lurch onto The Battle of Shiloh (AKA: Battle of Pittsburgh Landing) which is resplendent with artillery galore and much flinging around of stunt men. It's well constructed but sadly too short in length. Filmed out of Agoura in California, the scenery is an extra bonus and an enjoyable character accompaniment as story unfolds.

All told it's a mixed bag of a viewing, but the good far outweighs the bad to make this a sleeper of an Oater worth seeking out. While future stars of film and TV taking tentative steps in the acting world also holds a high interest factor here. 7/10

UK cable.

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