Jack Palance is one of those actors that I know so well. His voice is so recognisable and that unique face of his seems to have played nothing but bad guys. He is probably best known to a certain generation for playing old badass rancher Curly Washburn alongside Billy Crystal in the 1991 comedy adventure classic City Slickers. But he’s popped up in a string of 80’s films which included Batman, Hawk The Slayer and Tango & Cash, to name a few, usually doing his panto villain role.
Now I know he had a massive career in cinema right from the 40’s playing all manner of cowboy, crime boss, soldier and even a saucy “R” rated film called Black Snake Woman but I’m honest to say I haven’t seen many.
So what a pleasure it was to stumble upon director Robert Aldrich’s 1956 World War Two drama Attack. What a film it was and Jack got to play a hero, Lieutenant Joe Costa. A wiry battleworn, lean and tough, no nonsense hands on fighting machine with a strong code of honour. Unfortunately for our Joe Costa he is under the command of the inept Captain Erskine Cooney (Eddie Albert) a coward with no honour or morals. Which sadly our Joe finds out when the Captain fails to support his troop as they try a daring assault on a German pill box. Resulting in the unnecessary loss of good soldiers in his platoon.
Tagline –“Not every gun is pointed at the enemy!”
After letting the Captain know his disgust for him, Joe is shut down by the Captains friend and superior Lt. Col. Clyde Bartlett (Lee Marvin). Luckily he has an ally in his buddy Lt. Harold Woodruff (William Smithers) but sadly his hands are tied.
With what looks like the start of the Battle Of The Bulge Lieutenant Joe Costa is sent off with his company to lead a reconnaissance mission to see if the Germans are holed up in a small town. Not wishing to lose his good men again with the thought of no support from the Captain and the rest of the company, Joe Costa demands a promise that he will be backed up. Getting to use the fantastic line of……
Lt. Joe Costa – “I swear, I swear by all that’s holy, I’ll come back. I’ll come back and take this grenade and shove it down your throat and pull the pin!”
Surely it wouldn’t happen again? Can our hero keep his troops safe through this attack? Can the incompetent superior officers be brought to justice? Will Joe Costa really have to blow the Captain’s head clean off with a grenade? You gotta tune in to find out.
Jack Palance is just absolutely perfect in everyway as the efficient, charismatic, chiseled hero with that wonderful commanding voice. It’s an excellent film and I’m now gonna be searching the archives for more of his performances. Next up is the amazing titled Ten Seconds to Hell which incidentally is also directed by Robert Aldrich.
Can you recommend me some of his films? I see he’s done some film noir style dramas too. Let me know please.
Thanks for reading. Keep it cool, keep watching films. Mikey The Wolfman