Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TO HELL AND BACK (1955)

Audie Murphy was the highest decorated soldier during WWII and this is his story (based on this book) and played by him. The sixth of twelve children, Audie was raised by poor sharecroppers and had to drop out of school during the 5th grade to work the farm. After his mother's death in May 1941 Murphy was forced to put some of his siblings in an orphanage.  Then after the attack on Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Army. The rest is history. He was small (5'5" and 110 pounds) but he fought hard to become a combat soldier (his company commander wanted him moved to the kitchen) and it's a good thing he succeeded because during his time on the front lines he killed over 240 Nazi's including a shitload of 'em while manning a big machine gun that was mounted on top of a burning tank!

Made in 1955, TO HELL AND BACK was wildly popular and reportedly Universal's biggest money maker until JAWS was released 20 years later. I'm not sure how modern audiences would like the film since it is pretty dated, but I've seen it a few times and always enjoy it. The pace is a little slow in places, but the action is exciting and as a fan of Audie Murphy it's a double joy to see him playing himself. If you're a fan of older WWII movies then I say it's most definitely worth a watch.

On a personal note: I would love to see a gritty hardcore remake of Audie Murphy's heroic WWII feats. Hey, Hollywood while you're at it how about an entire series of ultraviolent and brutal WWII movies? The second in the series, after Audie Murphy, could be about Simo Hayha who personally killed over 700 Russian soldiers!!!