Anzio (film)

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Anzio
Anzio 1968.jpg
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Duilio Coletti
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Screenplay by HAL Craig
Based on Anzio 
by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas
Starring Robert Mitchum
Robert Ryan
Peter Falk
Earl Holliman
Music by Riz Ortolani
Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno
Edited by Peter Taylor
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • July 24, 1968 (1968-07-24) (US)
Running time 117 minutes
Country Italy, USA
Language English
Box office $1,400,000 (US, Canada)[1]

Anzio (US title), also known as Lo sbarco di Anzio (original Italian title) or The Battle for Anzio (UK title), is a 1968 war film, an Italian and American co-production, about Operation Shingle, the 1944 Allied seaborne assault on the Italian port of Anzio in World War II. It was adapted from the book Anzio by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, who had been the BBC war correspondent at the battle.

The film stars Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, and a variety of international film stars, who mostly portray fictitious characters based on actual participants in the battle. The two exceptions were Wolfgang Preiss and Tonio Selwart, who respectively played Field Marshal Albert Kesselring and General Eberhard von Mackensen. The film was made in Italy with an Italian film crew and produced by Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis; however, none of the main cast were Italian, nor were there any major Italian characters. The film was jointly directed by Edward Dmytryk and Duilio Coletti.

In the English-language version, Italians are portrayed speaking their native language, but in scenes involving the German military commanders, these speak English to each other.

Plot[edit]

After meeting a general, war correspondent Dick Ennis (Robert Mitchum) is assigned to accompany US Army Rangers for the upcoming attempt to outflank the tough enemy defenses. The amphibious landing is unopposed, but the bumbling American general is too cautious, preferring to fortify his beachhead before advancing inland. Ennis and a Ranger drive in a jeep through the countryside, discovering there are few Germans between the beachhead and Rome, but his information is ignored. As a result, the German commander, Kesselring, has time to gather his forces and launch an effective counterattack.

Ennis is with the Rangers when they are ambushed at the Battle of Cisterna. From there, the film departs from being a view of all sides and levels of the campaign to a story of a handful of survivors making their way back through enemy lines. Ennis asks what makes one human being willingly kill another. Corporal Jack Rabinoff (Peter Falk) replies that he loves it, and his lifestyle makes him live more than anyone else. Rabinoff is based on a real 1st Special Service Force soldier Jake Wallenstein, who ran an illegal brothel of Italian prostitutes in a stolen ambulance.[2] Most of the men, including Rabinoff, are killed (in reality, Wallenstein was killed by shrapnel at Port Cros during Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France.[3]) Ennis survives to publicly question the competence of the Allied commander.

Cast[edit]

Response[edit]

The movie opened to mixed reviews in the US; many felt it didn't work as well as Dmytryk's early war films. The New York Times film review was generally dismissive, and describes the film as "a very ordinary war movie with an epic title, produced by Dino De Laurentiis, the Italian producer... who thinks big but often produces small".[4] In contrast, Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert had a more favourable opinion of the film, described it as "a good war movie and even an intelligent one".[5]

Production[edit]

Riz Ortolani scored the film with a ballad called The World is Yours with lyrics by Doc Pomus that was sung beneath the credits by Jack Jones. Luigi Scaccianoce was the production designer.

Peter Falk thought that the script he read was clichéd and wanted off the film. At the last minute, Dino DeLaurentiis put Falk's name above the title billing and gave him his choice of writer for his character's dialogue. Falk stayed and wrote his lines himself.[6] The production saw DeLaurentiis bring in for the first time another actor who made a debut, Giancarlo Giannini, who would later do international films and would work with director Lina Wertmüller.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Big Rental Films of 1968, Variety, 8 January 1969: 15 . Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  2. ^ Adelman, Robert H; Walton, George H (2004), "The Devil's Brigade" revised, United States Naval Institute Press .
  3. ^ Tomblin, Barbara Brooks (2004), With Utmost Spirit: Allied Naval Operations in the Mediterranean 1942–1945, University Press of Kentucky, p. 397 .
  4. ^ Canby, Vincent (July 25, 1968). "Anzio (1968) Standard War Fare". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 27, 1968). "Anzio". Sun Times. 
  6. ^ Falk, Peter (2006), Just One Thing: Stories of My Life, DaCapo Press .

External links[edit]