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DVD: Beachhead (1954)
Review Rating:   Standard  
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1 (NTSC)

April 19, 2005



Genre: War/Action  
Four marines must verify the positions of Japanese minefields  



Directed by:

Stuart Heisler
Screenplay by: Richard Alan Simmons
Music by: Arthur Lange, Emil Newman
Produced by: Howard W. Koch

Tony Curtis, Frank Lovejoy, Mary Murphy, Eduard Franz, Skip Homeier, John Doucette, Alan Wells, Sunshine Akira Fukunaga, Dan Aoki, and Steamboat Mokuani.

Film Length: 90 mins Process/Ratio: 1.33:1
Colour Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages:  Dolby English/Spanish Mono
Special Features :  


Comments :

Above-average war picture essentially focuses on the recurring anger and general loathing of being a grunt solider, and the tensions between a guilt-ridden sergeant (Frank Lovejoy) and his cocksure troops. Richard Alan Simmons' screenplay, based on the novel "I've Got Mine" by Richard G. Hubler, doesn't shy away from grim, realistic tensions among the enlisted men, and director Stuart Heisler expertly handles the tense action scenes between hordes of Japanese soldiers, and the dwindling U.S. marine unit.

The script also infers some pretty dark material, including a native islander who bargains with the Americans to bring down some tribal justice. With the exception of a weak false ending - a poorly rendered beachfront attack with no-budget optical effects - Beachhead is a minor postwar, B-movie gem.

The real stars of this DVD, however, are the Kauai locations, photographed by veteran cinematographer Gordon Avil. MGM's transfer is taken from a near-pristine print, and the Technicolor photography is absolutely gorgeous. Avil's compositions and sly, tracking camera movements make this a notable benchmark in DVD transfers, and an excellent disc to test a high-end monitor. (Sure, it's a standard 1.33:1 ratio, but the colours and deep focus details are absolutely stunning.)

© 2005 Mark R. Hasan

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