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The Victorsdirected by Carl Foremanstarring George Peppard, George Hamilton, Rosanna Schiaffino, Romy Schneider, Senta Berger, and Elke SommerBlacklisted screenwriter Foreman placed his personal stamp upon many films he wrote and produced but he did direct one ambitious feature, the very rarely screened The Victors. Running nearly three hours in length, with an impressive all-star cast, it is beautifully photographed in widescreen black-and-white by the unsung cinematographer, Christopher Challis. The film follows the dispiriting exploits of the members of a World War II American fighting unit from Sicily through France and Belgium, and finally, in occupied Germany at the end of the war.
On a scene-by-scene basis, the direction of The Victors is not inestimable but the writing, as in other Foreman screenplays, suffers inordinately from didactic heavy-handedness. The film is also diminished by an unwieldy parataxis in the construction of the story; one doesn't experience a unified, developing narrative so much as a mere unity of theme. There is some graceful acting, sometimes surprisingly so -- Peppard has an unusually moving moment, for example -- and it is certainly a further pleasure to enjoy Ms Schiaffino, Schneider, Berger, and Sommer, all in a single movie. The Victors was presented in a handsome UCLA archival print, one that reportedly belongs to the director.
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