The Red Badge of Courage

( 4 )

Overview

The backstory of The Red Badge of Courage involves the toppling of MGM's old Louis B. Mayer regime in favor of Dore Schary and his young Turks. It is also the tale of how an intended epic was ruthlessly whittled down to a lower-berth programmer. Since this story has already been related in detail in Lillian Ross' Picture not to mention several John Huston biographies, the focus here will be what shows up on screen in Red Badge of Courage. Based on the novel by Stephen Crane, the film stars real-life war hero ...
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Overview

The backstory of The Red Badge of Courage involves the toppling of MGM's old Louis B. Mayer regime in favor of Dore Schary and his young Turks. It is also the tale of how an intended epic was ruthlessly whittled down to a lower-berth programmer. Since this story has already been related in detail in Lillian Ross' Picture not to mention several John Huston biographies, the focus here will be what shows up on screen in Red Badge of Courage. Based on the novel by Stephen Crane, the film stars real-life war hero Audie Murphy as a Civil War soldier who must redeem himself in his own eyes after an act of cowardice. When he finally gets his opportunity, he realizes that he is no less frightened than before; it is simply that he has learned to push on in spite of that fear. A comparative newcomer to films, Murphy acquits himself magnificently in the difficult title role; equally impressive are political cartoonist Bill Mauldin as "The Loud Soldier," John Dierkes as "The Tall Soldier" and Royal Dano as "The Tattered Man." When Red Badge of Courage tested poorly in preview, the studio sliced it down to 69 minutes and added a narrator James Whitmore to clarify the more obscure plot passages. Further hurting the film was Bronislaus Kaper's overbaked musical score, which seemed more suited to a gung-ho John Wayne flick than a comparatively intimate tale of personal fortitude. Though the finished product plays like a Reader's Digest adaptation, a few brilliant passages remain, notably the sequence in which a commanding officer ingratiatingly lies to his troops for the sake of morale. Like Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons, Red Badge of Courage is a truncated classic -- but a classic, all the same.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
The Red Badge of Courage is a powerful retelling of the classic Stephen Crane Civil War novel. A potent combination of epic battle scenes and intimate personal story, the movie's awesome and bloody combat sequences highlight the hero's (WWII veteran Audie Murphy) internal struggle with issues of courage, loyalty, cowardice, and betrayal. John Huston's film was troubled by conflicts with the studio, which used negative preview notices as an excuse to re-edit the film, slashing its length down to a meager 70 minutes before its 1951 release. Huston bemoaned that the film "could have been" his greatest, if not for the studio's interference. Crane's novel and the film's cinematography (Harold Rosson) were both inspired by the famous Civil War photography of Mathew Brady and imbue the film with a realism that borders on the documentary. Huston's direction -- with its sparse narrative, unusual camera angles and shadowy black and white imagery -- shows the influence of film noir, a genre he helped create. He augments this with a mobile camera -- lots of panning, tracking, and dolly shots -- to mirror the pace of the war scenes. The fall and redemption of the protagonist, while clearly predictable, is still intelligently and effectively executed.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/20/2013
  • UPC: 883316860106
  • Original Release: 1951
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:09:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 25,702

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Audie Murphy Henry Fleming the Youth
Bill Mauldin Tom Wilson the Loud Soldier
John Dierkes Jim Conlin the Tall Soldier
Royal Dano The Tattered Soldier
Arthur Hunnicutt Bill Porter
Douglas Dick The Lieutenant
Tim Durant The General
Smith Ballew The Captain
Whit Bissell Wounded Officer
Robert Cherry Soldier Who Sings
Dick Curtis
Andy Devine The Fat Soldier
Robert Easton Thompson
Lynn Farr Confederate Soldier
Jim Hayward Union Soldier
Ed Hinton Corporal
I. Stanford Jolley
Fred Kohler Jr.
Emmett Lynn
Joel Marston
Robert Nichols
Lou Nova
Ted Offenbecker
House Peters Jr.
William "Bill" Phillips
Buddy Roosevelt
Glenn Strange Colonel
Frank Sully
Dan White Sergeant
James Whitmore Voice Only
Guy Wilkerson
Technical Credits
John Huston Director, Screenwriter
Albert Band Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Bronislau Kaper Score Composer
Ben Lewis Editor
Hans Peters Art Director
Gottfried Reinhardt Producer
Harold Hal Rosson Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    the red badge of courage

    The Red Badge of Courage is a very interesting book. I will say it is a very confusing book. Advice when reading the book is to just go with the flow and follow along like you where having a conversation with someone. Someone in my class said it is like reading a prop directors eyes with a few lines. I do suggest for you to read this book and I hope you enjoy this book.

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

    Posted December 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 4 Customer Reviews