Cast a Giant Shadow

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Cast a Giant Shadow
Cast original.jpg
Directed by Melville Shavelson
Produced by Melville Shavelson
Written by Ted Berkman (book)
Melville Shavelson (screenplay)
Starring Kirk Douglas
Senta Berger
Stathis Giallelis
James Donald
Yul Brynner
Frank Sinatra
John Wayne
Angie Dickinson
Chaim Topol
Michael Hordern
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Aldo Tonti
Edited by Bert Bates
Gene Ruggiero
Production
  company
Batjac Productions
Bryna Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) March 30, 1966
Running time 146 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3.5 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Cast a Giant Shadow is a 1966 big-budget action movie[2] based on the life of Colonel Mickey Marcus starring Kirk Douglas and Senta Berger. Yul Brynner, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, and Angie Dickinson also appear in cameo supporting roles.[3] Melville Shavelson adapted, produced and directed.[4]

Plot[edit]

The movie is a fictionalized account of the experiences of a real-life Jewish-American military officer, Colonel David "Mickey" Marcus, who commanded units of the fledgling Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Marcus, a reserve Colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the US Army, recently released from active duty and now working as a New York lawyer, is approached by Haganah agents while Christmas shopping. They request his assistance in preparing Israeli troops to defend the newly declared state against the invasion of its Arab neighbors.

Marcus, still an Army Reserve officer, is refused permission by the Pentagon to go, unless he uses an alias and travels as a civilian. As "Michael Stone", he arrives in Israel to be met by a Haganah member, Magda Simon, whom he immediately starts flirting with.

Marcus, who parachuted into occupied France during World War II, helped to organize the relief mission for Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp liberated by American troops, is initially viewed with suspicion by some Haganah soldiers. But after he leads a commando raid on an Arab arms dump and assists in a landing of illegal refugees, he is more accepted. He prepares his training manuals and then returns to New York, where his wife has suffered a miscarriage.

Now restless, and despite his wife's pleadings, he does return to Israel and is given command of the Jerusalem front with the rank of 'Aluf' (General), a rank not used since biblical days. He sets to work, recognising that, while the men under his command do not have proper training or weapons or even a system of ranks, they do have spirit and determination. He organises the construction of the "Burma Road" to enable convoys to reach besieged Jerusalem, where the population is on the verge of starvation.

Many of the soldiers under his command are newly arrived in Israel, determined and enthusiastic but untrained. Dubbing them 'the schnooks', Marcus is inspired by them to discover that he is proud to be a Jew. But just before the convoy of trucks to Jerusalem starts out, he is shot and killed by a lone sentry who does not speak English - the last casualty before the United Nations-imposed truce. The makeshift coffin containing his body is ceremonially carried by the soldiers who he trained and inspired.

Cameo roles (listed as Special Appearances Cast) include:

  • John Wayne as 'The General', Marcus's commanding officer at Normandy and now a senior general officer at the Pentagon, who initially refused him permission to go, but later supports him.
  • Yul Brynner as Asher, a Haganah commander.
  • Frank Sinatra as Vince Talmadge, an expatriate American pilot who takes part in what becomes a suicide mission to bomb Arab positions.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

The film includes a toast scene where John Wayne says L’chaim. Footage from this film was later used in a Coors Light commercial.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosley (September 2008). "Cast A Giant Shadow - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26. 
  3. ^ "Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) Overview". TMC: Turner Classic Movies. September 2008. Retrieved September 26. 
  4. ^ "Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) movie review". New York Times. March 31, 1966. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]