One of the better films to emerge from the final days of WWII, A WALK IN THE SUN is the story of one infantry platoon, covering one morning, from the time they hit the beach at Salerno until they reach and capture their objective, a farmhouse six miles inland. Before they even get ashore
things begin to go badly, and the green lieutenant in command is killed. A sergeant takes over for a time, but the stress proves too great and he cracks. The men encounter a German armored car for which they set up an ambush, raining it with grenades, then continue on their mission with natural
leader Sgt. Tyne (Dana Andrews) now in command. Eventually, the soldiers reach their objective, but the situation appears suicidal and Sgt. Tyne must devise some way to complete the mission with a minimum loss of life. Throughout the film, as it follows the men in battle, the soundtrack picks up
their chatty conversations and private thoughts. They think about their place in the great scheme of the war, about their fear of being killed, and about the hard, dirty, tedious, and dangerous job of being a front-line foot soldier. A languorous sense of resignation holds sway over all: weary,
hard-bitten, and somewhat cynical, they are there to do a job, and although they don't even understand what part they play in the big picture, they do it anyway, even at the cost of their lives.
Although director Lewis Milestone seemed to have put the pacifism of his earlier ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT on hold for the duration of WWII, A WALK IN THE SUN mostly avoids the patriotic posing and outright racism (indeed, the enemy is never given a face here) of his THE PURPLE HEART from the
year before and instead concentrates on the rugged day-to-day existence of the common foot soldier. While the film is consistently engaging, some of the narrative devices Milestone employs, such as the voice-over narration and the occasional off-screen singing of a somewhat sappy folk song
dedicated to foot soldiers, now seem more of an intrusion on the visuals than a complement.
Cast & Details See all »
- Rating: NR
- Review: One of the better films to emerge from the final days of WWII, A WALK IN THE SUN is the story of one infantry platoon, covering one morning, from the time they hit the beach at Salerno until they reach and capture their objective, a farmhouse six miles inl… (more)