Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cross of Iron (1977)

Cross of Iron is a 1977 war film directed by Sam Peckinpah, featuring James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason and David Warner. The film is set on the Eastern Front in World War II during the Soviet's Caucasus operations against the Wehrmacht's Kuban bridgehead on the Taman Peninsula in late 1943.
The film focuses on the class conflict between a newly arrived, aristocratic Prussian officer who covets winning the Iron Cross and a cynical, battle-hardened infantry NCO. The screenplay was based on the 1956 novel The Willing Flesh by Willi Heinrich, a fictional work that may be loosely based on the true story of Johann Schwerdfeger.
Exteriors were shot on location in SFR Yugoslavia. They are notable for using a significant number of authentic tanks and equipment.
Cross of Iron, Sam Peckinpah's only war film, "is a forgotten masterpiece that has never really managed to overcome its troubled and expensive production." While Peckinpah had directed "many films about battles between groups of armed men...this was the first in which both sides wear uniforms."
In the opinion of, "Peckinpah indulges in endless combat scenes (this was his only war movie), which try the patience of viewers who came for the real story." Critical opinion has since improved and Cross of Iron was voted the greatest film ever made by Cinemag. Fans of the film include Quentin Tarantino, who used it as inspiration for Inglourious Basterds.
According to Variety magazine, "the production [from the book by Willi Heinrich] is well but conventionally cast, technically impressive, but ultimately violence-fixated.
Orson Welles, when he saw the film, cabled Peckinpah, praising the latter's film as 'the best war film he had seen about the ordinary enlisted man since All Quiet on the Western Front. Ian Johnston, reviewing the film's release on Blu-ray in June 2011, praised the film, saying Cross of Iron bears all the hallmarks of a real classic, which ranks with Peckinpah's finest work. As a poignant reminder of the sheer brutal obscenity of war, it has rarely been equalled."
At the time of its release, the film did poorly at the box-office in the US and received mixed reviews, its bleak, anti-war tone unable to get noticed amidst the hype of the release of the mega-popular Star Wars in the same year. However, it performed very well in Germany, earning the best box-office takings of any film released there since The Sound of Music and audiences and critics across Europe responded well to the film.
Download this movie via torrent from here

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