This truly spectacular war epic is almost on a par with Patton (1970), though its original widescreen impact is sorely diminished when shown on TV.
Based on the last German offensive in mid-December 1944, when thousands of Hitler’s new King Tiger tanks smashed their way through the snowy pine forests of the Ardennes, it’s a study of resolve on both the American and the German sides.
Representing Uncle Sam are Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews, with Henry Fonda as an American Intelligence Officer and the only man who sees the German tactic months before it happens.
But the picture is dominated by Robert Shaw as the German colonel called in to command the attack – which is made by Hitler’s new King Tiger tanks. It’s a riveting portrait of military genius infested with paranoia.
Also on the side of the Nazis is Ty Hardin as the leader of a German commando group who drop behind the Allied lines disguised as GI’s to disrupt communications and sever supply lines.
Amid all the warfare, there’s a charming lady – Pier Angeli as a Belgian girl involved in a complex black market organisation with an American GI (Telly Savalas).
Lt Col Kiley
Hans Christian Blech