Though writer/producer Milton Sperling dubbed his company United States Pictures after he'd seen World War II service in the Marines, the war movies he subsequently backed were notable for their avoidance of either gung-ho excess or 'war-is-hell' blandness. Both Joseph H Lewis' Retreat, Hell! and Fuller's Merrill's Marauders are riven with contradictory impulses about heroism, duty, futility and necessity; and, if finally the epic logistics of this sprawling Cinerama spectacular submerge the sparkier points of the Philip Yordan/Sperling script, Battle of the Bulge is no simplistic flag-waver or exorcism either. Shaw's panzer commander takes on various Allied stars in games of strategic cat-and-mouse, both lucidly and dispassionately observed, during the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in late 1944.
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