The Pillbox

Zoltan Korda’s Counter-Attack, Hitchcock’s I Confess.

The point is the analysis, how one leads into the other.

“I can’t commit murder,” says Lt. Hanley, even for a dying soldier who can’t either, as it happens.

Trio for Rick Jason, Warren Oates, and Albert Paulsen as the wily English-speaking kraut resembling Hasse.

Joseph Turkel as another prisoner of war introduces a hysterical note from Kubrick’s Paths of Glory.


The Glory Among Men

The terms are those of “The Pillbox”, the wounded G.I. is a German pawn, the temptation is to forget him for military expediency, Caiaphas, and besides no-one likes him.

“Help me,” he cries out.

The Virgin and Savior look on at the church in the opening scene as he counts all the money he’s won at craps, Morrow has a favorite tracking shot along a row of faces, the only sound is the rustle of paper notes.


Losers Cry Deal

The kid who was a coward or not, “insufficient evidence”.

The thumbscrew, last of his squad from Omaha Beach.

The blackmail is played out in and around an opulent chateau, lately Nazi HQ.

The theme is taken from a strand of Hawks’ Only Angels Have Wings and given a nasty turn.

Heavy rain, Allied bombers rattle the chandelier over a long game of poker.


Cry in the Ruins

The anecdote recalls a Christmas truce informally called between the trenches.

The functioning basis is certainly Pabst’s Kameradschaft.

The technical point in question is a moment of Hibbs’ To Hell and Back when Murphy loses his place in the war, alone and thinking of it.

Shelled town, lamenting Frenchwoman, absent child.


Hills Are for Heroes

A very long descriptive joke on holding the center.

Two high concrete bunkers left and right, each with a machine gun.

Division advance, the full platoon moves out from a shell-struck German bunker below, orders come down through regiment and battalion, a captain in an OP directs Lt. Hanley to proceed, there is a vital road, platoons to right and left have their objectives.

The platoon has very little to work with and suffers considerable losses.

The feminine position described is part and parcel of the joke, anyway the hill is taken at length, Hanley under orders grits himself to it most admirably.

Only a question of orders and a job. “The Germans have counterattacked on our right,” a general retreat “to our original position,” with the instructive memory of this engagement.

Perfectly directed by Morrow.



The true criminal takes the wrong path, he falls into it, his is the domain of misfortune.

The Šsthete of crime wills it, as he says, he abolishes the criminal way and is alone.

A simple question of murder in either case.

The pellucid filming (Leonard Nimoy, Michael Forest, Paul Mazursky, with Robert Ellenstein and Gavin MacLeod, cinematography by Vilis Lapenieks, music by Gerald Fried) exactly conveys in a fluid, surreal manner Genet’s analysis.



Littlejohn, strafed by a Messerschmitt out of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and tied down on a cart by French orphans who loot dead Germans on the way to the houseboat where he’s kept at gunpoint for cash from the Americans or the Boches, doesn’t matter, “first the Germans bombed us, then the English, then the Americans.”

The latter are too busy pulling out even to listen, the Germans take a pointed interest.

The little girl on guard duty sews a rag doll’s head back on, Madame Defarge in reverse.

The children are too young to draw conclusions, some go one way, some another, as Rosenman beautifully closes the piece.


A Man Called Sledge

Christian name Luther.

The gold’s in a prison, he goes there and frees the inmates, his gang quarrel over it and perish, he rides away with nothing, so overcomes the “old man”.

Sledge with a wounded right arm stiffened for the fight by tying a crucifix to it.

A Dino de Laurentiis Western on familiar locations.

Roger Greenspun (New York Times) dithered on about “a certain abstractness... a certain purity... a certain dullness.” Halliwell’s Film Guide says “the result doesn’t linger in the memory.”


A Dead Man’s Truth
Quincy, M.E.

A complicated exposÚ of the hand behind a killing dogged throughout by a prima facie reporter. Two cops stop a robbery, the suspect is shot point-blank, the cop who fired denies it.

An audio store with lights and music for cover, a shot from across the room, powder burns. Expert analysis shows a second robber firing over the shoulder of the first.

The controlled murkiness is taken in stride by Morrow as a mood piece suffered to break its spell in a jailhouse interlude, investigations, lab work and final apprehension, set into an encounter with the mummy of an Egyptian princess who scientific examination reveals died of an illness Quincy recognizes, called in to observe, as identical with a murder case he is working on.