Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Short Cuts: The Big Red One--The Reconstruction (1980/2004)

I've always enjoyed this film, but now Sam Fuller's autobiographical WWII epic is truly epic and even better than the shorter theatrical version. It's still uneven in spots, hampered by a low budget, and frustrating in its casting choices, but this longer cut (by some 47 minutes!) brings out the scope and shapes Lee Marvin's finest hour into something dramatically resonant and unforgettable. Makes Spielberg's over-rated Saving Private Ryan--despite its admittedly technical virtuosity--look like the false record of history that it is. As close to a true masterpiece that the always interesting Fuller ever made.

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