Cast a Giant Shadow
|Cast a Giant Shadow|
|Directed by||Melville Shavelson|
|Produced by||Melville Shavelson|
|Written by||Ted Berkman (book)
Melville Shavelson (screenplay)
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Edited by||Bert Bates
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release dates||March 30, 1966|
|Running time||146 mins.|
|Box office||$3.5 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Cast a Giant Shadow is a 1966 big-budget action movie 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. Melville Shavelson adapted, produced and directed.
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 on his way to court. 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 travels as a civilian. The Haganah gives him a false paseport with the alias "Michael Stone" 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 one of 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," bypassing Latrun, 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 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.
- Kirk Douglas as Marcus
- Angie Dickinson as Emma Marcus
- Senta Berger as Magda
- Yul Brynner as Asher
- Stathis Giallelis as Ram Oren
- John Wayne as The General
- Frank Sinatra as Vince
- Gordon Jackson as McAffee
- James Donald as Saphir
- Topol as Abou Ibn Kader
The film includes a toast scene where John Wayne says L’chaim. Footage from this film was later used in a Coors Light commercial.
It was released on DVD in early 2000s but went out of print. It was Re-released on DVD, and the 1st time on Blu-Ray August 26th, 2014.
- "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
- Crowther, Bosley (September 2008). "Cast A Giant Shadow - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26.
- "Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) Overview". TMC: Turner Classic Movies. September 2008. Retrieved September 26.
- "Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) movie review". New York Times. March 31, 1966.
- Shavelson, Melville. How to Make a Jewish Movie, 1971. (ISBN 0-491-00156-8).
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