Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pork Chop Hill (1959) Review:

Since the Korean War, nothing has been said about it. Yes it is mentioned in history books but even then, the subject matter is skimmed over. No one really knows what happened during that time except for the individuals who took part in the battle. Unfortunately, not many are left to tell their story. Thankfully director Lewis Milestone had the ambition to make this film in honor of those who fought during that time.

Rip Torn (left) next to Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck plays Lt. Joe Clemons, a tired soldier who is on the boarder of losing all his men because communication ties are running thin between him and headquarters. Along side Peck is Harry Guardino, George Peppard and Rip Torn. At first, it may seem a little difficult to see who's who, because the film is black and white but it doesn't take long before these recognizable faces come clear. What's nice though is how well each actor portrays their character. Each one has a specific background and when they talk about themselves, it reflects the time of the era very accurately.

Another great feature is the set design. Every piece of the set is like what it would be if the viewer were in the soldier's shoes. There's nothing comforting about warfare and that is what’s in this film. Barb wire, bunkers, sandbags, flood lights, bayonets and dirt is all that will be seen; which is anything but cozy. Also the fact that the psychological aspect being inserted into the story makes things even more accurate. Trying to persuade the Americans to leave over a loudspeaker can make them very uneasy, which is understandable.

George Peppard (far left) & Peck (far right)
As for action, I suspect some viewers will be turned off that there's no blood and guts. But what could someone ask for from the era of conformity? Realistic gore was considered taboo at the time and probably would have freaked too many people out. Especially since the government didn't want the families at home to see what war was really like. For this element, the audience must suspend from their minds that gore just wasn't permissible at the time, and there for, omit it from affecting their judgment of the film.

For the few films that focus on the Korean War, this film shows the best reflection of what times were like. The actors perform well, and the set is accurately grimy which is all due to Milestone's direction.

Points Earned --> 10:10

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