The Thin Red Line (1964) The Sane and Mad VS First Sgt Jack Warden

The Thin Red Line (1964) poster movie film dvd cover soldier cross

This is the first adaption of the 1962 novel The Thin Red Line by James Jones. The story follows a band of American soldiers as they are thrown into tough terrain fighting during the Battle of Guadalcanal during the Second World War in the Pacific.

The Thin Red Line (1964) private doll Keir Dullea ww2 filmThe Thin Red Line (1964) first sgt welsh jack warden ww2

This version centers mainly on two very differing men, the rookie Private Doll (Keir Dullea) and his First Sergeant Welsh (Jack Warden). Pvt Doll is a fish out of water and probably a little on the autism spectrum to be honest. He is angry, disobedient and not capable of taking orders, especially when he sees them for what they are, ridiculous missions of certain death and destruction. So he makes a pact with himself to do whatever he can to survive, even if that means going rogue and refusing orders. This irrational behavior actually starts to help in certain ways as his actions become unpredictable, turning past plans and orders on their head.

The Thin Red Line (1964) private doll Keir Dullea and sgt welsh jack wardenThe Thin Red Line (1964) private doll Keir Dullea and sgt welsh jack warden battle

All this is much to the annoyance but also fascination to Sgt Welsh who takes the young soldier under his wing. Welsh is an old battle worn veteran whose attitude is mean, rough and tough but under all that exterior is a warm, almost father figure. Teaching Pvt Doll how to deal with his first kills, dealing with the dark horror of war and that thin red line that exists between sanity and madness.

First Sgt Welsh – “The point? ha what’s point got to do with it?…. If these guys get off this ship without being killed they gonna be fighting for an island they never even heard of before. They gonna spill out their guts for a piece of real estate that even the birds don’t want….. now whats the point in that?”

The Thin Red Line (1964) Second World War in the Pacific.The Thin Red Line (1964) battle war

Whereas most the film is the relationship between those two guys there are some other stand out performances like with Captain Stone (Ray Daley) who realises his superior officers haven’t much concern for the safety of his men, putting them in more dangerous and dire situations that he tries to make a stand against them.

The Thin Red Line (1964) charlie campany ready from battle river water fightingThe Thin Red Line (1964) battle fighting wwII

Their platoon is called Charlie Company and with orders to capture a strategic hill, where two other platoons have already failed, called “The Dancing Elephant”. To get to this main objective, they have to endure one suicide mission after another with a minefield called “The Bowling Alley”, dodgy bridges, snipers, hidden ambushes, caves and treks across killing fields. Can this band of men survive the madness of war and stay on the right side of the thin red line?

The Thin Red Line (1964) platoons wlaing world war two

A few Wolfman Observations

  • This really should of been called “The Jack Warden Show” as he shines in every scene he appears. He truly is a delight in this film.
  • Keir Dullea would later on in his career take on the monolith and a certain AI called HAL 9000 in the legendary 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • What with Keir’s portrayal of Doll with all his funny mannerisms, I couldn’t stop thinking of his David from the wonderful 1962 film David and Lisa. You can so imagine that maybe this is Pvt David Doll who has been kicked out the home and thrust straight into battle. If you have seen both those films I’m sure you will get the same feeling.
  • Time for me to revisit the very different and deep Terrence Malick’s 1998 all-star singing and dancing version.
  • Look out for the great little surreal dream “When your number is up, it’s up!” featuring a very sexy girl called Merlyn Yordan.

The Thin Red Line (1964) strange dream sexy Merlyn Yordan judy sweet

The movie is on YouTube in full at the time of writing. It’s a great little film and as I say Jack Warden is awesome.  If you’ve seen it, what did you think?


Castle Keep (1969) Surreal WW2 Fairy Tale With Burt Lancaster & A Bunch Of Sweet Ladies.

Castle Keep (1969) Burt Lancaster poster movie film peter falk

After watching director Sydney Pollack awesome film The Yakuza I searched for projects of his I may of missed and Castle Keep from 1969 is what I found. A World War Two movie with a big twist, that twist is, (no spoilers) it’s completely batty and totally off it’s shopping trolley. It also stars the legend Burt Lancaster playing the warmongering one eyed Major Abraham Falconer. Continue reading “Castle Keep (1969) Surreal WW2 Fairy Tale With Burt Lancaster & A Bunch Of Sweet Ladies.”

Johnny Got His Gun (1971) Jesus H Sutherland This Film Is FUBAR

Johnny Got His Gun (1971) movie poster film dalton trumbo

Jeepers creepers, what can you say! How deep can a film go? Seriously this is an emotional thought-provoking, haunting journey into the human soul. What happens to the human mind when that is all you are, just a mind?

Tagline – The most shattering experience you’ll ever live.

Continue reading “Johnny Got His Gun (1971) Jesus H Sutherland This Film Is FUBAR”

Eastern Condors (1987) Sammo Hung & The Hong Kong Dirty Dozen

Eastern Condors (1987) poster film movie sammo hung dirty dozen vietnam

Any teenager growing up with a local video rental store near them during the 1980’s would of seen the shelves over filled with VHS cassette covers from the likes of Hong Kong promising non-stop action packed high adrenaline filled martial arts. Relentless Kung Fu fighting, crazy acrobatics and a barrel load of slap stick comedy. They never failed in bringing deep joy and wide opened, jaw hitting the floor shock as stunt men flew through the air smashing into all manner of bone crushing solid wall or concrete structure or propelled head first out of a bus window at full speed. These guys were incredible and we just couldn’t get enough of them. Continue reading “Eastern Condors (1987) Sammo Hung & The Hong Kong Dirty Dozen”

633 Squadron (1964) Flight Lieutenant Singh Attacks The Death Star

633 Squadron (1964) poster movie film cliff roberton star wars

The right honourable Flight Lieutenant Singh (Julian Sherrier) is not content with being a crack shot fighter bomber pilot with an awesome dashing mustache and a proper gentlemen to all the ladies. This valiant Sikh is part of 633 Squadron, a courageous band of brothers, tasked with a mission to take out a German V-2 rocket fuel plant built in Norway. A truly suicidal mission but this is the stuff these boys from Royal Air Force’s No. 633 Squadron are made for.

633 Squadron (1964) Flight Lieutenant Singh (Julian Sherrier) bomber pilot Continue reading “633 Squadron (1964) Flight Lieutenant Singh Attacks The Death Star”

King & Country (1964) The Horrors Of Man

King & Country (1964) movie poster dirk bogarde tom courtenay world war 1

When you get two impeccable performances taking center stage talking about the evils and horrors of men at war during World War 1. Descriptions so horrifying, shocking and unfortunately all so real, you can’t take your eyes of the screen for one heart stopping second. Two men of different standing and rank discussing the “crime” of desertion. One young, Private Arthur James Hamp (Tom Courtenay) shell shocked, battle worn, depressed, confused but honest, friendly and open. The other, Captain Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde) a veteran of the Boer War, a man of compassion, a decent moral man. Continue reading “King & Country (1964) The Horrors Of Man”

The Final Countdown (1980) Pearl Harbor Revisited

The Final Countdown (1980) movie film kirk douglas martin sheen poster dvd

The award this month for the most silliest plot taken extremely seriously goes to The Final Countdown. Not a tongue in cheek to be seen. What can be seen though is an incredible array of military fire power. This film is a war machine fanatics dream, quite simply this is a giant Cold War, mines bigger than yours, show off exhibition. If you love jets of all sizes firing off from an aircraft carrier, you gonna love this film.

Tagline – Nothing in the world can prepare you for .. Continue reading “The Final Countdown (1980) Pearl Harbor Revisited”

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) Skirmishes, Ambushes And Booby Traps

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) movie poster film artwork burt lancaster vietnam war

This was a great surprise! Was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Thought it be OK but had it chalked down as a low budget Vietnam war film, most probably by the numbers. It’s was getting late, I’ll watch the first hour to see if I like it. Two hours later I’m going to bed at way past midnight and up for work at 5.30, oopft I was mashed up but worth it especially when I saw these three classics pop up …….. Continue reading “Go Tell the Spartans (1978) Skirmishes, Ambushes And Booby Traps”

Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) Bombastic Berlin Bomb Disposal Drama

Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) film poster movie artwork

Director Robert Aldrich teams up once again with Jack Palance. After enjoying their last outing together, the 1956 war film Attack, I was keen on seeing our Jack in another hero role. Off the back of Attack, IMDB recommended me the wonderfully titled 1959 film Ten Seconds To Hell. A story of six German ex-soldiers returning to Berlin to help clear and make safe the city from unexploded British and American bombs. Continue reading “Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) Bombastic Berlin Bomb Disposal Drama”

Attack (1956) Badass Chiseled Cheeked Curly Costa

Attack (1956) poster film movie artwork jack palance

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. Continue reading “Attack (1956) Badass Chiseled Cheeked Curly Costa”