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Author Topic: The Big Red One (1980) - The Reconstruction  (Read 7410 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2014, 08:00:14 AM »

Yesterday Drink and I were at MoMA to, among other things, view the film. A good time was had by all, although at the end Drink had to kvetch about the ending. This is the guy who always alibis Red River with its atrocious ending. Hey, if RR gets a pass, I think TBRO is entitled to one as well.

Looking at IMDb, I found a couple of interesting nuggets. The first:
Quote
The bulk of the picture was shot in Israel, and director Samuel Fuller remarked that it was unsettling after a scene was shot when the German soldiers and SS troops pull would take off their helmets and Fuller would see them wearing yarmulkes, and between takes they would be sitting around the set in full Nazi uniform speaking Hebrew or reading the Torah.

The second bit of interest comes from the fact that at one time the film, in certain quarters, was suppressed because it was thought to be a porno. How could such a misapprehension have occurred? Just say the title aloud with the following emphasis: The Big RED One.

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« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2014, 10:30:35 AM »

Yesterday Drink and I were at MoMA to, among other things, view the film. A good time was had by all, although at the end Drink had to kvetch about the ending. This is the guy who always alibis Red River with its atrocious ending. Hey, if RR gets a pass, I think TBRO is entitled to one as well.



Go read the Red River thread again. Nobody bashes the RR ending more than I do. (Especially after reading the original book the movie was based on, and seeing how awesome the real ending was, I bashed it even more.) All I said is that the AWFUL ATROCIOUS TERRIBLE MISERABLE ending doesn't mean that RR is not a great movie.


The Big Red One would not be a great movie no matter what the ending.

But yeah, the ending is stupid. Especially right after showing us the crematorium, we're supposed to believe that Marvin would be frantically trying to save this Nazi because, gasp, the war is over? Even when he thought the war wasn't over, he had no problem killing a man who was clearly surrendering - he was not holding a weapon and had his arms up. So now I am supposed to believe that he's frantically trying to save this guy's life ... to make up for his similar sin in WWI?


In TBRO, that Nazi they get at the end, he may not have been involved in the Holocaust, he was "merely" fighting the Americans. Still, after showing us a lengthy piece about the concentration camps and how Marvin rescued that boy, I'm not buying his frantic saving of the Nazi, even if it is a few hours after the war ended. If I saw a Nazi today, 69 years after the war ended, I'd tear him apart piece by piece.

.... And btw, one Nazi was hiding in the crematorium? Really?  ... I just finished watching Shoah a few days ago.

Anyway, this was my first viewing of TBRO in any version. It's like a bunch of different episodes. (Yet in every one, the narrator has no shortage of big, fat cigars in a war zone - and (except one brief moment where he takes  a cigar from a dead soldier)  nary an explanation of how he got them. Carrying around all them fat cigars, I don't know how he had any room for ammo .... But I generally did enjoy the episodes... I wonder if the reason they seem to be unrelated episodes is cuz of the restoration, maybe the restoration restored some of it but didn't get every single scene that Fuller wanted? Or maybe it wasn't properly edited? Did the original version have more continuity? I have no idea, I didn't read a thing about either version.

Anyway, I guess I'd give this a 7/10

yes DJ, a good time was had by all  Wink

« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 10:33:07 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2014, 01:50:28 PM »

Drink, I often think you shouldn't watch film before you are around 70, and then will probably understand a little more about how life really is. And that mankind often does things which do not make necessarily sense or look like logical behaviour.

Or that you should at least not watch films which don't come without a tinker guidance. Wink

I think the ending of The Big Red One is great. Fuller at least was in the war, so he may know a few things about absurdity.
TBRO is of course a great film, but maybe a bit too long in the reconstructed version. It works well enough in the theatrical version, which mostly leaves out complete episodes. And is of course less complex. But the aesthetic mixture of "realism" and some touches of surrealism is already there.

http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=2789

« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 01:57:34 PM by stanton » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2014, 09:58:50 PM »

Stanton, whether you want to argue on "logical" terms or on "realistic" terms, there's no way Marvin would try to save the Nazi like that. Go read about what the American soldiers did to Nazis they caught. Let's just say that the civil rights groups wouldn't have been too pleased. I read one particular book by a Dachau survivor: when the Americans liberated Dachau, there were still Nazis there that hadn't escaped, and the American soliders let the former inmates have their way with their former tormentors. (This particular author/survivor happened to have been a peaceful religious man and said that he and many of the other religious survivors didn't take part in the revenge some of the other inmates did - not that they were wrong, but somehow many of the religious people couldn't bring themselves to do it. Still, many survivors did tear these Nazis apart, the American soldiers there weren't too concerned about law and order or laws of war, and God bless them for it. Whether you wanna talk about what "logically" should happen or what actually did happen, the ending was bullshit. I know Fuller was in the war, but I didn't read about his experiences, and I have no idea whether or not he was among the troops that liberated the camps .... But plenty of shit that was done by the Americans to the Germans in WWII wouldn't have pleased those concerned with laws of war.
I know you get all bent outta shape at the idea that Nazis shouldn't be treated like human beings, but that's your problem. Doesn't change history.

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« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2014, 02:18:00 AM »

Yes, but that all has not much to do with what I have written, it only adds to what I have written.

The point of the end is of course that it is somehow absurd what Marvin does. Saying "there's no way Marvin would try to save the Nazi like that" shows a certain lack of imagination (and of knowledge), which is quite a problem in many of your reflections on films.

And your usual conclusion that I "get all bent outta shape at the idea that Nazis shouldn't be treated like human beings" is also completely wrong. If you had understood what I wrote in the past, instead of only making statements by ignoring the context, you wouldn't so often me (and others) allege opinions which are actually closer to the opposite of what I have written.

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« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2014, 04:19:11 PM »

It's like a bunch of different episodes. (Yet in every one, the narrator has no shortage of big, fat cigars in a war zone - and (except one brief moment where he takes  a cigar from a dead soldier)  nary an explanation of how he got them. Carrying around all them fat cigars, I don't know how he had any room for ammo .... But I generally did enjoy the episodes...
Fer cryin' out loud, the cigars are a joke! The mature Fuller is famous for always having a stogie to chomp on, so it's only natural that we see the young Fuller-like-character with one in his mouth in every scene. Part of the amusement is knowing that it would have been impossible for him to always have one in combat. But nonetheless, each time, there it is! Fretting over the logic of it all misses the point entirely. Man, grow a sense of humor, wouldja?

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« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2014, 10:18:29 PM »

Fer cryin' out loud, the cigars are a joke! The mature Fuller is famous for always having a stogie to chomp on, so it's only natural that we see the young Fuller-like-character with one in his mouth in every scene. Part of the amusement is knowing that it would have been impossible for him to always have one in combat. But nonetheless, each time, there it is! Fretting over the logic of it all misses the point entirely. Man, grow a sense of humor, wouldja?

DJ, you were taking quite a different position on Sunday. That's the way you usually are, nice and agreeable in person, a grumpy curmudgeon on the boards  Wink

The cigars shouldn't be a joke cuz this isn't that type of movie. This seems to generally be a pretty serious movie, and Marvin gets his supposed redemption at the end; of course even very serious movies often have lots of moments of humor, but IMO that particular point didn't fit here. The cigars may well have been a reference to Fuller, but I didn't feel that the fact that the narrator has a never-ending supply was meant to be a joke. I mean, it's not a big deal either way, it doesn't influence my opinion on the movie much one way or the other, just something I found funny - not in a comedic way, but in a roll-my-eyes way.

for those of you who have seen the original - does the original version feel more like a straight story and less like disjointed episodes?

courtesy of wikipedia, here is a list of the scenes missing from the original;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Red_One#Restored_scenes

     Extended scene after the beach landing in North Africa when the squad is resting and eating, more quirky scene involving an Arab boy.
     The Sarge and the 'Horsemen' are trapped in an ancient Roman colosseum, and are relieved by French Spahi Moroccan cavalry. The scene ends with the Moroccan Goums cutting off the ears of dead Germans.
     Extended Sicilian landings where the squad engages a machine-gun nest.
     Omaha Beach, D-Day, extended scene in which the whole infantry company, including Zab, encounter casualties (this was how director Fuller earned his Silver Star on D-Day).
     Schroeder receives a massage from a French woman whose husband has been killed by German soldiers.
     Aftermath of the attack on the lunatic asylum, where Griff has sex with a Walloon.
     Belgian innkeeper uncovers a German infiltrator as the squad eats a meal.
     Scene showing a general giving an interview to a war correspondent (played by Sam Fuller).
     Tree-shelling scene extended to include the German artillery piece being destroyed by a Bazooka.
    Schroeder booby-trapping a castle, then killing the Frau of the house after he finds that she hates Hitler.
     The squad approaches a derelict castle, losing one man to a sniper. They capture the sniper, only to discover him to be an adolescent boy, a so-called "Hitler-Jugend".
     The squad encounters a protest march of old Germans who refuse to let the squad pass until the Sarge threatens to shoot their leader.
     Schroeder removing his equipment and thus ending his responsibility to fight.


Wikipedia also says that Fuller, in real life, was present at the liberation of the Faulkenau concentration camp.

I liked the acting here, particularly Marvin and Carradine.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 03:19:28 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2014, 02:21:33 AM »


for those of you who have seen the original - does the original version feel more like a straight story and less like disjointed episodes?


No it doesn't. It can't be anything else than an episodic film, cause there isn't anything else than a lot of episodes. But the episodical storytelling is not really disjointed.

Hmm, ... now I feel the need to re-watch this cigar flic.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 02:30:27 AM by stanton » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2014, 03:21:38 AM »

what's even funnier is that Carradine looks like he is 19 years old (he was actually born in 1954, so he woulda been 26 in 1980) and he is chomping on these big fat cigars you usually associate with older men, the cigars are almost bigger than he is!

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« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2014, 03:28:54 AM »

DJ, that is a very interesting thing you posted from IMDB, about the movie being shot in Israel and Jewish actors wearing yarmulkes under their Nazi-helmet costumes. Thank God, the Thousand Year Reich took a discount of 988 years, so now, in movies, it's the Jews playing Nazis instead of the other way around  Smiley

Why was the movie was shot in Israel? I don't think I have heard of American films that aren't set in Israel being shot there.

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