This version of Irwin Shaw's lengthy WWII novel, adapted by Edward Anhalt, is three movies for the price of one. We follow idealistic German Brando, American soldier Clift and crooner Martin from the time of enlistment until their paths eventually cross outside a concentration camp towards the end of the war. Clift, who accused Brando of turning the character of Diestl into a 'fucking Nazi pacifist', blocked his fellow Method actor from dying with his arms outstretched as if on the Cross; and director Dmytryk dissuaded Brando from delivering an improvised speech about the plight of American blacks. Clift gave his deliberately unattractive Jewish GI, Noah Ackerman, a shuddering intensity. Perhaps wisely, Clift and Brando, shared no scenes together. Motivation, Dean Martin observed, is a lot of crap. 'Hell, I just played myself. A likeable coward.'
Cast and crew
Lee Van Cleef