Perhaps twelve characters are simply too many to chisel out of the hard rock of an action scenario. Even so, Aldrich managed a modicum of physical differentiation even without a corresponding psychological distinction. The final flurry of action suggests that even in World War II, and indeed in all wars, you can’t really tell the hoodlums from the soldiers without a scorecard. Through all the absurd carnage, Lee Marvin’s solidity and tenacity hold the picture together.
January 01, 1967