Fixed Bayonets! (1951)
As the rest of the unit retreat a platoon of 48 men are left behind as a rear guard to keep the following communists at bay and make them believe that the entire platoon is sitting just on the other side of the bridge blocking their path. Cpl. Denno (Richard Basehart) is one of the men and a good soldier who follows orders but he is no leader. When one by one his senior officers are picked off Denno has to face the fact that he is going to have to lead the men even though he can't bring himself to pull a trigger to kill a man.
Early on in "Fixed Bayonets!" there is a scene of a General being treated at camp; a medic is tending to his arm whilst he barks orders down a phone and barely winces when a syringe is plunged into his arm. You know this guy is tough, he has to be tough because he is in charge but he also has to talk in sentences of as few words as possible so when asked how his arm is his reply is "it's still attached" or words to that effect. It makes this guy a caricature, the cigar chomping leader of men who wouldn't even blink if he was caught and hit but he is not the only one as "Fixed Bayonets!" is swimming in caricatures.
Now there is a reason as to why "Fixed Bayonets!" is full of caricatures it is to highlight what the movie is about and that is what it is to be a solider and how some are natural leaders whilst others have to try and find it within them from somewhere. It makes it an interesting movie but because it is also a movie of caricatures not one which is highly believable.
That sense of lacking believability is extended because of the studio sets which it is filmed on which are impressive but are not always convincing, lacking that air of authenticity you get from a movie shot on location. But it does mean that when it comes to the action there is something clean and impressive about it.
What this all boils down to is that "Fixed Bayonets!" ends up one of those war movies, in this case a Korean war movie, that is both interesting and entertaining but not always convincing due to its unnatural look and caricature style characters despite some impressive looking sets.
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