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A Girl and Her Tanks …. this is ‘The Big Red One’


Watched ‘The Big Red One’ last night.  If you love the movies like I do, you’ve got to see this.

Visually, this film is a thing of real beauty.  Check out, for example, the scene that introduces Lee Marvin’s Nazi counterpart.  Not only is it gorgeous to look at, the guy hasn’t gotten to the top of that sandy ridge and you already know everything about him.  Holy shit, those Americans are in deep, deep trouble….

I don’t want to diminish this film’s impact on you, just in case you haven’t seen it yet. So I’ll restrain myself and mention only one more scene.  And, as above, I won’t try to reduce this film’s visual experience to words because I ain’t got that kind of talent.

Okay, let me tell you, never has the meaning of the word ‘tank’ been more perfectly expressed than in this movie.  Swear to God.  Watch as the Nazi tank enters the scene around the ##-minute mark.  Watch that tank’s performance across that entire scene!  Omg, did you see how that was handled?!  Abso-fuckin-lutely jaw-dropping!  I was watching it on my home TV screen (albeit a 52-inch Panasonic Plasma, lol) and, for the first time in my life, I could imagine the terror that a tank must inspire among the poor bastards facing it.

Note:  I don’t have a time-stamp for that tank scene yet …. but you’ll recognize it when you watch the film.  The tank’s turret climbs into the frame then makes a sweep to the left (screen’s right).  If anyone has the DVD, send me the minute-mark and I’ll update this post.

Okay, it’s not a perfect movie – they’re not using a real German tank.  Quite a disappointment for a girl like me who travelled all the way to England for Tankfest 2011.  But you know what?   That Sherman tank did a great job acting as a German one … so good that I’d give it my vote for that year’s Best Supporting Actor.


Q&A follow-up #1    A reader asks what kind of tank was used in that scene.

Sam Fuller used Super Sherman tanks, ones already resident in Israel which is where the film was shot.

Btw, I double-checked myself for accuracy on this.  Found confirmation via AppleSauceBandit and Thompson153 over on World of Tanks.  Want a glimpse into some uber tanky geeky goodness?  Here’s a link to that discussion .…    (Careful, over-exposure to WoT could lead to TankFest, lol.)



Q&A follow-up #2   A reader asks about TankFest. 

TingTong uploaded a YouTube here.  (And check out that Infidel t-shirt, lol.)



Q&A follow-up #3    A reader asked why it took me so long to see ‘The Big Red One.’ 

Good question. I had a chance to see this movie in a big theatre many years ago in Virginia, with the treasured Sean and his parents.  Waiting in line to buy our tix, Tom asked me whether I’d seen ‘The Big Red One’ (playing on another screen) and if I even liked war movies.  Sadly, we were there to see ‘Reds’ and I never got another chance to see TBRO in a theatre.  (Of course, that would have been the film’s short version, not the reconstructed one!)

For a long, long time I held out the hope that TBRO would show up at a film festival or someplace like LA’s Nu-Art.  Again and again, I’d refuse to watch TBRO on a TV screen.  This week the Military Channel ran it (thank you!) and I just couldn’t wait any more.


Q&A #4    A reader asked me to compare TBRO to Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan.’

A comparison of these two films is a reasonable request.  After all, having seen TBRO, I’ve gotta believe Spielberg watched this movie a lot as he prepared for SPR.

Last night, Ting said he thought SPR was better, more realistic.  I remember my Dad said Spielberg’s D-Day landing was the closest thing to real-life combat that he’d ever seen on film.

Personally, I’m preferring ‘The Big Red One.’  Spielberg, even at his very best, can’t resist his sentimental instincts.  He loves that stuff and so do audiences.  For me, he’s too heavy-handed.  The moment I saw that bit of color come on-screen in ‘Schindler’s List,’ I was instantly yanked out of that film and into the movie theatre.  Was anyone else ever bothered by it?  I don’t think so.  I’m just easily annoyed.

In my (easily irritated) world, only two Spielberg films are watchable.  Best is ‘Schindler’s List, second is ‘Saving Private Ryan.’  Please don’t ask me to discuss the others.  I hate being in the same room a lot of the other stuff, including ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘E.T.’

To illustrate my point — watch ‘The Big Red One’ and imagine how Spielberg would have handled the scenes, near the end of the film, between Lee Marvin’s Sergeant and the little boy.

Nuff said.  Hopefully I won’t be hearing from Mr. Spielberg’s lawyers.



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