fbpx Men in War | George Eastman Museum

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Men in War

Saturday, June 20, 2015, 8 p.m., Dryden Theatre

“The cycle of Westerns Anthony Mann made with Jimmy Stewart in the first half of the 50s seemed to push the director’s fascination with the abstract cinema of gesture and posture to the limit. And yet, from the remarkable opening crane shot following a puff of smoke as it drifts up from a vehicle fire, Men in War carries Mann’s visual precision and dramatic abstraction further than ever before, right to the boundary between entertainment and art cinema. (Someone should pair Men in War with Antonioni’s Il Grido, made the same year, to observe the American and European cinemas meeting in no man’s land.) For years I’ve been trying to convince people that All the Ships at Sea is basically a reworking of the dramatic dilemma of Men in War, with Robert Ryan’s humane officer increasingly tormented that Aldo Ray’s brutal loose-cannon sergeant is manifestly better equipped for survival. Substitute older sister Evelyn in Ships for Ryan, traditional Catholicism for by-the-book military practice, and the serenity of faith for survival in the jungle—get it? Don’t worry, no one else does either.” – Dan Sallitt