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Author Topic: Cross of Iron (1977)  (Read 10630 times)
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« on: June 29, 2007, 09:59:15 PM »

Sam Peckinpah's lone war film, and a pretty damn good one if you ask me. James Coburn was great as usual. Always fun watching him act. Who here thinks this should be considered a classic of the genre?

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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2007, 01:56:16 AM »

Some comments on this film (along with several others) can be found here: http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=2183.0

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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2007, 03:07:10 AM »

Very good war film. Of the WWII I think the best.  James is terrific, he should won an Oscar...  Wink

Only the ending... in the book Steiner dies. In the film why not?  Huh

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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2007, 03:30:05 AM »

The short answer is that P ran out of money and couldn't afford to shoot the ending; making a virtue out of necessity, he and his cast improvised a new one. I actually like it a lot. It allows the film to avoid what was going to be an all-too-predictable conclusion.

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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2007, 03:36:42 AM »

I love that laughing at the end.  Grin Totally crazy.
But that son-of-a-bitch Stransky should have been die. Possibly he does, or they both do - there's a blowing at the end.

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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2007, 03:45:18 AM »

Well, that's war: the brave die with the cunning.

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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2007, 05:52:47 AM »

With the death of Steiner the film would have been an even bigger downer after almost all the Platoonmembers got killed.

As for the ending:
Like during STRAW DOGS, Peckinpah improvised it.
There's this famous story that Hartwig and the other money men pulled the plug on CROSS OF IRON while
Peckinpah wasn't really ready to wrap. He sat on a wooden tower and cried. Coburn got very upset and angry that these suits brought out the tears of his beloved Sam, so he pushed the guys off the set and they spent the reminder of the day shooting like crazy to get as much as they could.
That's true, sure.
But one has to understand the whole here: first, Peckinpah wasn't very disciplined in terms of time (=money). When he shoot, he wouldn't stop until you just sent the boys home. When he edited, he edited until you kicked him out of the editing room or a new film started shooting. That's a major pain for producers, on the other hand it's a reason why his films are better than most films of his fellow directors.
I think CROSS had ovr 90 days of principal photography! Poor Hartwig had to sell parts of the film to EMI in London. Then again, previousely he thought he could handle Peckinpah (wrong guess).

The film starts different than the script (which starts with Stransky) and the ending (as for example the 'walk thing' in WILD BUNCH) is a couple of lines. Peckinpah's vision for the complex end-montage asked for three shooting days!
If you read the attached script excerpt, you'll understand why a producer would say 'A day for this is more than enough!!'. They were over over budget anyway.

Anyway, there are film makers who make great films from good or great screenplays. Peckinpah was one of the few, who could produce magic on screen based on three lines Smiley. But for this magic he needed many set-ups (contrary to Leone), which takes a lot of time, especially when dealing with action.



Steiner steps close to Stransky. With his free hand, he
pulls a grenade from his belt.
STEINER
Stand close to me, Captain.
STRANSKY
(backing away)
No -- No -- You can't --
STEINER
(pulls Stransky
to him)
This will do for the both of us
-- the final fraternization --
STRANSKY
(a whimper so low
it can scarcely
be heard)
Steiner -- please -- Steiner --
Steiner pulls the pin from the grenade, holds it between
himself and Stransky.
STEINER
What's the count before it goes
off?
STRANSKY
(his lips move, but
no sound comes out)
-- Steiner --
STEINER
Count with me, Captain -- One --
Two --
The CAMERA STARTS to MOVE UP and AWAY from Steiner and
Stransky.
STEINER'S VOICE
-- Three -- Four -- Five -- Six --
The CAMERA is at TREE TOP LEVEL now --  Suddenly there is
a SHATTERING REPORT. The branches of the tree tremble.
The CAMERA STAYS on the tree for a moment.  The leaves
stop trembling. There is a vast silence now. The CAMERA
starts to PULL AWAY AGAIN. As it DOES:
FADE OUT:
                          THE END


The actual ending of the film catches of course the spirit of the written word, but it's much richer,
cinematic, inspired and memorable.
Peckinpah even included an idea he couldn't use in his previous film: in THE KILLER ELITE Sam shot
a scene were the dead Bo Hopkins sails into the sunset (final take in the film, but without him) with
Caan and Burt Young. United Artists cut it out, they though it was weird.
Working in Europe he had more freedom, that's why the blond russian boy was brought back to
life in CROSS.  Great stuff.


« Last Edit: July 02, 2007, 06:02:45 AM by mike siegel » Logged


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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2007, 09:23:44 AM »

Uh... that's hard... and we would seen no explosion, only knowing what happens?


Poor Sam. They should give him more money.  Angry

I always loved James, but for this I love him much better.

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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2007, 02:06:43 PM »

I prefer the ending as we have it.

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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2007, 09:33:30 AM »

In case anybody is interested in my book PASSION & POETRY - SAM PECKINPAH IN PICTURES: At AMAZON.DE they're practically giving away some left-over books!
I'm sure it's just for a very short time, the price is unbelievable: about 8,00 Euro. That's over 70% less! (29,90 is the regular price.). And there won't be a 2nd printing, that's for sure.
The writing is in German but it is basically a photo-book with over 1000 images, 300 in color. It is very heavy, 3 pounds, with 576 pages. The filmography is more exlizit than in any of the other books. And those who want the read about the Man or the Films surely own the great publications by Garner Simmons, David Weddle & Paul Seydor.

http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/3896024728/qid=1092387857/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/302-6206201-6208832

On my website you can take a look inside the book:
www.eldorado-film.de

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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 12:42:13 PM »

The Blu-ray Cometh: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cross-Of-Iron-Blu-ray/dp/B004OQJSV8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1298489853&sr=1-2

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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 02:05:52 PM »

Thanks for the warning.

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