Bitter Victory

1957

Drama / War

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 76%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 68%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1890

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 29, 2021 at 04:35 AM

Director

Cast

Christopher Lee as Sergeant Barney
Richard Burton as Captain Leith
Ruth Roman as Jane Brand
Curd Jürgens as Major Brand
720p.BLU
928.8 MB
1280*528
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S 53 / 151

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Goodbye_Ruby_Tuesday 8 / 10

"The Cinema is Nicholas Ray"

A heavy-handed thing to say, but that's what Jean-Luc Godard proclaimed upon seeing this film at the Cannes Film Festival. The French knew it long before we did: Nicholas Ray was one of the most original and wisest directors to ever make films. He took a French anti-war book and he made it into a film that was so much more than that. Unlike his previous routine assignment to confirm his allegiance to Howard Hughes during the Red Scare FLYING LEATHERNECKS, there are more layers that stretch far beyond the sea of sand that cast Richard Burton and Curt Jurgens away from society. Unlike most war films of its time and like almost every film Ray ever made, the conflict lies not in the battles between the nations, but inside the hearts of the film's protagonists.

The brooding Richard Burton is given a great role as disillusioned soldier Captain James Leith, forced to carry out an assignment with Major Brand, a man he dislikes (the feeling is mutual--Leith had an affair with Brand's wife Jane a few years back, and the desire still lingers on, showing Leith's last trace of humanity). Their assignment is to travel behind enemy lines and take some German documents. The long journey through the desert becomes even more heated as Leith reminds Brand of his cowardice (Brand hesitated to kill a German soldier during an attack) and Brand tries in subtle ways to kill Leith to cover up his cowardice. But this isn't a black and white good-guy/bad-guy caricature; there are so many shades of gray in both characters. As Leith later says, the two are almost mirror images (although he is much wiser than Brand and accepts his futility, Leith is not as strong as some might make him to be; he admits to leaving Jane because he was scared to get close to someone else--like all of Ray's anti-heroes, the ones who reject love are the ones who need it the most), possibly explaining why Brand feels compelled to kill Leith.

BITTER VICTORY wasn't the first anti-war film, but it was one of the few to make its statement so eloquently (and it had the most profound title). Too subtle to connect with American audiences (the film flopped badly at the box-office and when the studio re-cut it several times, each time farther and farther away from Nicholas Ray's original vision, it didn't work) but revered by French audiences, BITTER VICTORY has grown more potent in the decades since its release. The futility of war isn't proclaimed by the horrible violence of battle like countless films, but through the impossible absurdity of a man's role in the war. After all, if Leith "kills the living and saves the dead," what difference does it make, other than that little matter of when and what for? By the end, how is Brand any different from the training dummies with hearts painted over them? The enlightenment that Brand finds by the film's end comes too late; he's already lost what's precious to him and all he has to show for it is a DSO. It truly is a bitter victory.

Reviewed by dbotoreales 8 / 10

More than cinema

Before entering the cinema theater I read a review of the film made by Godard in Cahiers du Cinéma. He defined this movie 'more than cinema' and a pure reflection of life. The miserable and coward behaviour of the character (played superbly by Curd Júrgens), a bewildered Richard Burton when futilely carries over his shoulder a dying soldier through the desert until he realizes his death: 'I kill the living and save the dead! or the moment when Ruth Roman looks for "Jimmy" among the survivors of the expedition, and many more... are all beautiful pieces of life, probably bigger than life... How easy is killing!? I also wanted to emphasize the brilliant expressionist photography used in the film. Especially in the nocturnal sequences.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 6 / 10

Okay...just okay

This film made a very odd casting decision. For some reason, the German actor Curt Jurgens was hired to play one of the leads...a British major serving in WWII! He doesn't sound the least bit British and this took me out of the film a bit. The other lead was Richard Burton....a man who grows to hate and have contempt for the major during the course of their suicide mission. This is because although the Major was in control of the mission, he is a coward and hesitates when they need to act. And, it appears that the Major might just be trying to get the Captain (Burton) killed off so that no one will know about his failings as a leader.

An interesting portrait of humans in war, it's worth seeing but isn't a great war film.

By the way, there was one scene that annoyed me. The Captain is bitten by a scorpion and INSTANTLY everyone thinks he will die. Death from scorpion stings is VERY rare and only about 2% of all scorpion species MIGHT be able to kill you...and mostly if your system is already compromised. And, just like snakebites, you DO NOT cut the wound to suck out the poison!!! Kids...don't try this at home!!!

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