1900s: World War II: Europe:
To Hell and Back (1956) ***1/2 D: Jesse Hibbs. Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Charles Drake, Jack Kelly, Paul Picerni, Gregg Palmer, Brett Halsey, David Janssen. This is the true story of Audie
Murphy, the most decorated soldier in the history of our country, and what led to his receiving the
Congressional Medal of Honor. If anything, the movie underplays his heroism. The scene on the tank, shows a very short lapse of time. In actuality, it was over an hour that he single-handedly held off the German advance while standing upon a burning tank. Another incredible aspect of the movie is Audie, himself. He looks terribly young in this film, but when you see pictures of him at the time of these events, you realize how very young he really was when he did these incredible deeds of heroism. Don't miss this movie. Highly recommended. V
Oklahoma! (1955) ***1/2 D: Fred Zinnemann. Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Charlotte Greenwood, Rod Steiger, Gloria Grahame, Eddie Albert, James Whitmore, Gene Nelson, Barabara Lawrence, Jay C. Flippen. Film version of landmark 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway play of the same title. This play is hailed as THE play which
began modern musical theatre. One item of note, this was the first play to use dance to forward the plot. Previously, dance was either interjected and all action stopped, or the dance was a rehearsal or performance in the plot. With Oklahoma! dance was used to tell part of the story so the dance became part of the plot, a very new idea in its day. Agnes de Mille's groundbreaking Broadway choreography can also be seen in the movie version. The score
includes many familiar tunes including "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top," "People Will Say We're In Love," "Kansas City," "The Farmer and the Cowman," and the title song. When filmed, two takes were done of each scene, one after the other. One version is in Cinemascope, the other is in Todd-AO. Video version is in Cinemascope and the laserdisc version is in Todd-AO. Some feel the latter is superior. Rent both and judge for yourself. If the child is interested, investigate the two processes and their differences.
Note: The tedium of two takes caused Sinatra to walk away from the film. V