Battleground

( 10 )

Overview

Incoming MGM production head Dore Schary ramrodded Battleground into the studio's schedule over the virulent protests of MGM boss Louis Mayer. The result was an award-winning box-office hit, as well as the beginning of the end of Mayer's power. This dramatization of the battles of Bastogne and the Bulge in the waning days of World War II concentrates on a single infantry unit. Van Johnson and John Hodiak are the ostensible stars, but the film is stolen by James Whitmore as the cigar-chomping, battle-stained ...
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Overview

Incoming MGM production head Dore Schary ramrodded Battleground into the studio's schedule over the virulent protests of MGM boss Louis Mayer. The result was an award-winning box-office hit, as well as the beginning of the end of Mayer's power. This dramatization of the battles of Bastogne and the Bulge in the waning days of World War II concentrates on a single infantry unit. Van Johnson and John Hodiak are the ostensible stars, but the film is stolen by James Whitmore as the cigar-chomping, battle-stained sergeant. Also appearing is Ian MacDonald as General McAuliffe, whose legendary response to the Nazi's suggestion that the Americans surrender consisted of a single four-letter expletive: "Nuts." Whitmore's final scenes of near-delirium before the relief troops arrive are unforgettable. Battleground tries within MGM limits to be wholly realistic, though it is slightly compromised by the scripters' inability to use Army profanity, and by pointless subplot involving actress Denise Darcel. The film doesn't hold up as well as such wartime efforts as The Story of GI Joe or Walk in the Sun, but in 1949 Battleground was regarded as an important milestone in the field of truthful, de-glamorized combat flicks. Please avoid the colorized version: this is a black-and-white subject if ever there was one.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Vintage cartoon Little Rural Riding Hood ; Vintage featurette Let's Cogitate; Subtitles: English, Français & Español
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Hailed by critics, audiences, and veterans alike, William Wellman's Battleground (1949), together with such other war movies as Wellman's earlier Ernie Pyle biopic The Story of G.I. Joe (1945) and Lewis Milestone's A Walk in the Sun (1945), set a new standard of de-glamorization in war films that continued for decades. The common elements of this new veracity were sharply observed details about the life of the common serviceman, a nearly documentary-like portrayal of war's gore and harsh brutality, and a somewhat sardonic redefinition of heroism, patriotism, and duty. Many decades and several wars later, films as diverse as MASH (1970), Platoon (1986), Hamburger Hill (1987), and Saving Private Ryan (1998), just to name a few, shared these fundamentals and were, in turn, acclaimed as superior war films. Battleground's background story is nearly as interesting as its plot. Producer Dore Schary, who preferred his film projects to contain socially relevant messages, brought the project with him to MGM when he was lured away from RKO. But MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer resisted putting Battleground into production, believing the American public had gotten its fill of war movies. When the film was a box office smash and nominated for a half-dozen Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, Schary won the confrontation with one of Hollywood's most powerful men, and Mayer's career began to decline.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/3/2005
  • UPC: 012569675216
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:58:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 3,305

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Van Johnson Holley
John Hodiak Jarvess
Ricardo Montalban Roderigues
George Murphy Ernest "Pop" Stazak
Marshall Thompson Jim Layton
James Whitmore Kinnie
Leon Ames The Chaplain
Jerome Courtland Abner Spudler
Don Taylor Standiferd
Bruce Cowling Wolowicz
Douglas Fowley Kipp Kippton
Thomas E. Breen Doc
Denise Darcel Denise
Richard Jaeckel Bettis
Scotty Beckett William J. Hooper
Brett King Lt. Teiss
101st Airborne
Screaming Eagles
Herbert Anderson Hansan
Edmon Ryan Major
James Arness Garby
Michael Brown Levenstein
Ian MacDonald Gen. McAuliffe
Roland Varno German Lieutenant
Technical Credits
William Wellman Director
Peter Ballbusch Special Effects
Jack Dawn Makeup
John D. Dunning Editor
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Lennie Hayton Score Composer
Hans Peters Art Director
Robert Pirosh Associate Producer, Screenwriter
Dore Schary Producer
Alfred E. Spencer Set Decoration/Design
Paul Vogel Cinematographer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits and Dedication [2:06]
2. The Drill [4:21]
3. Tent Talk [5:31]
4. Secret Move [4:38]
5. Bastogne [3:08]
6. Good Night, Soldier [5:25]
7. Strategic Withdrawls [3:00]
8. Diggin In [5:42]
9. Shared Eggs [4:15]
10. Sad News [4:29]
11. Incoming Mail [4:40]
12. What's the Password? [2:35]
13. Pitching Snowballs [3:05]
14. Enemy in Their Midst [4:18]
15. Passing of the Helmet [4:04]
16. Returning for Rodriguez [3:49]
17. Against the Rules [:11]
18. By the Embankment [4:44]
19. Under Attack [4:07]
20. Surprising the Enemy [4:22]
21. Wanting to Remember [2:59]
22. Answer: "Nuts." [4:50]
23. Christmas Card [6:01]
24. Was This Trip Necessary? [2:56]
25. Bombing Bastogne [3:38]
26. Sunlight and Supplies [4:47]
27. About Face [7:16]
28. Drill to the Rear [4:30]
29. Cast List [1:35]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Little Rural Riding Hood
      Let's Cogitate
   Languages
      Spoken Language: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Forget the movie I am proud of these boys!

    Yes Ive see this move a few times because I do own it. Yes its the true story of the 101st Airborne done in less than 2 hours, but I did love Band of Brothers also and I own that one. This movie is great because it wasnt a glorified account with romance big names and done with a high budjet. Think about this, look into the story that happened behind the scenes look at the awards that this movie won

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Powerful, stirring flick deflates the romanticism of war!

    'Battleground' is the all-star grim depiction of an Allied offensive in the Ardennes forest during WWII. It's remarkably hard edged by 1949 standards - a tribute to the tough, hard-hitting directorial style of director, William A. Wellman. Starring Van Johnson, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore, Scotty Beckett and John Hodiak the on camera camaraderie amongst the men seems genuine, in part because Wellman insisted that his actors train with real soldiers to fully appreciate their brief tenure in military service. MGM refrigerated a cyclorama built inside one of their sound stages to recreate the unsettling and terribly cold atmosphere of winter. This is a top flight, ensemble war drama that engrosses and entertains. Oscars given for screenplay and cinematography. Warner gives us a much improved transfer from previously available versions. The gray scale is nicely balanced. Blacks are generally solid. Some scenes have a bit more film grain and grit that one would like to see, but over all the image quality is very smooth and consistent. While previously issued versions of this film suffered from a misregistration - resulting in ghostly halos around objects and a general blurring of the image quality, this DVD is remarkably solid and sharp. Edge enhancement crops up but is minimal. Pixelization is also present but only marginally. The audio is MONO but very nicely remastered. 'Battleground' is one of the best war dramas ever made. It is tops in action, establishing taut tension, providing serious storytelling and detailed character development, and truthfully - how many of the more recent war films (Peal Harbor, anyone?) can you say that about?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of the Great War Films

    This film has always been on my Best of Lists. Definitely gritty for it's time and probably one of the first American Films to deal with combat in a realistic way that would set the standard for later war films. Great cast all round. I heard this film was a major influence on Spielburg when he was making 'Saving Private Ryan'. I've been waiting for this DVD release since the format was introduced!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2003

    Father in Famous Movie

    Of course I am partial to this movie because my father was in it. The 82nd Airborne Division from Ft. Bragg, N.C. was sent to Hollywood to star in the movie. Watching the film I could even see my father and uncle. What a great feeling and a great time for history!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2001

    Similar to Band Of Brother's

    Battleground dipicts the 101st airbourne's ''battle of the buldge'' experience as accurate and as similar as the recent mini-series Band of Brother's. If you liked Band of Brother's you'll enjoy this movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Battle of The Bulge

    The army unit that I was in from 1966 to 1968 had received a Presidential Unit Citation for service during the Battle of the Bulge. I wore that unit citation on my uniform during my time of service; but, I did not fully appreciate what the members of that unit went through until I saw this movie. The cinematography is great and the Oscars that were awarded for this film were deserved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Let us never forget

    This movie gives a good synopsis of what the 101st Airborne went through during the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. As that generation dies out we younger people need to remember the pride these soldiers had and the hell they went through to help win the war in Europe against one of the most notorious villians in the world. My father served in the Army during WW2, and was in Bastogne the week before it was surrounded by the Germans. I am a proud American and fully support our troops. After all the men serving today are just like the men that served in WW2 and their sacrifices help us to be free.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Heroes

    This film has beenone of my favorites since I was a kid. I chose the headline "Heroes" becausse it is the subject of this film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews