Returning to the territory he charted with The Story of G.I. Joe, Wellman crafts another deeply humanistic, documentary-like portrayal of American soldiers during the Second World War as vulnerable humans, and not heroic killing machines. Restrained almost to the point of neorealism, Battleground again follows a single company (327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division) as they simply try to survive the notorious Battle of the Bulge.
“And William Wellman . . . has done a tremendous job of making all the action—and reaction—plausible. In settings of striking realism, he has got the ‘look’ of that wintry battleground. And the split-second timing of his actors has made them utterly true to the life of ‘Joe.’ Among his masculine performers (there is only one girl, Denise Darcel, in a small role), it is difficult to make a selection of those who merit special praise. James Whitmore is magnificently shaggy and laconic as a veteran ‘top kick,’ and Douglas Fowley does a dandy job of playing a constant griper with a set of loose store-teeth. Van Johnson is honestly appealing as a wise-cracking, scrounging rifleman, and John Hodiak and George Murphy are solid as older and quieter men.” – New York Times, 1949
Note later starting time.