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The Naked and the Dead Reviews

The Naked and the Dead, thought by many to be the finest novel written about WW II, was disappointingly truncated and toned down for this (still violent) adaptation, which steamrolls Norman Mailer's dark depiction of the horrors of war into just another WW II film. Mailer's doomed dogfaces, killed one by one as they participate in the taking of a small Pacific island, are transformed into a standard WW II "melting pot" platoon, much to the film's detriment. Cliff Robertson plays the admirable Lt. Hearn, Raymond Massey is his closed-minded superior, and Aldo Ray is a brutal sergeant. Although none of their performances are particulary distinguished, the supporting players--including Joey Bishop, L.Q. Jones, Jerry Paris, and Richard Jaeckel--turn in much more solid work, and the film does offer a number of excellent combat scenes.