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The Big Red One: The Reconstruction (Two-Disc Special Edition) [Import]

Lee Marvin , Mark Hamill , Samuel Fuller    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 18.70 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description


Sam Fuller's The Big Red One was already one of the best films of 1980, despite the fact that the version released to theaters ran barely half as long as the director's cut. Fuller had been America's ballsiest B-movie auteur, an ex-newspaper reporter of the hardnosed breed who made fiercely personal, radically stylized, and politically outspoken films between the early '50s (The Steel Helmet, Pickup on South Street) and the early '60s (Shock Corridor). The Big Red One was his long-dreamt-of account of World War II as experienced by his own squad of the 1st Infantry Division, USA, from the first shot fired (by a dead man, on the coast of North Africa) to the last (in a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia).

Even in the studio-truncated version, there was no shortage of astonishing moments and sequences: the squad choking on dust in a bat-filled cave in North Africa as German tanks clatter past the entrance; Fuller's cold-blooded distillation of the D-Day slaughter on Omaha Beach, with a wrist watch on a dead arm in the surf marking time as the water slopping over it grows redder; the rifle squad delivering a Frenchwoman's baby in a German tank on a battlefield full of corpses; a commando-like raid on Nazi troops bivouacked in a Belgian insane asylum. A quarter-century later, film critic Richard Schickel and Warner Bros. executive Brian Jamieson succeeded in restoring 15 never-seen sequences and fleshing out 23 others to create The Big Red One: The Reconstruction, a "new" film nearly an hour longer.

Above all, BR1: The Reconstruction has a rhythm the 1980 cut lacked. The arc of years, battles, and battlegrounds is so much more satisfying. Greater play is given to Fuller's feeling for children caught up in the sidewash of history and atrocity. And the 2004 cut puts sex back into the movie, not orgiastically but as a fact of life and a rarely forgotten driving force. We can see now that Fuller touched, bluntly and shockingly, on the phenomenon of infiltrators--English-speaking German warriors who donned GI khaki and moved among their enemies waiting for a chance to strike.

It's also apparent, as it was not in 1980, that Lee Marvin as the eternal Sergeant leading the young squad is magnificent. This was Marvin's greatest role, rivaled only by his walking dead man in John Boorman's Point Blank. Just beneath the masterly implacability, we glimpse the tenderness, rage, dark humor, experience, and wisdom beyond guilt that have enabled him to survive, to preserve others and to soldier on. His performance, like Fuller's film, is a masterpiece. --Richard T. Jameson

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesnt quite make it May 30 2002
First off, the best on screen depictions about WW II are Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. Its an undisputed fact, IMHO. Any serious filmmaker attempting to make a WWII Production knows this, or should, and begin work on his production with that in mind. Anyway, in all fairness The Big Red One came 20 years before Ryan.
To the Movie: the film its so... CLICHÉD! What really amazes me is that Sam Fuller is an actual veteran. But nonetheless the movie has every Hollywood cliché and is so unreal. Compare the landings of Normandy in "Ryan" with this. The soldiers are more preoccupied with the number of a bet they made back in the ship than to escape german bullets. David Carradine didn't stop smoking a big cigar through the whole thing.
The dialogue. In Ryan and BOB there's evidence of research done, but every word from the mouths of Lee Marvin and Co. sound like... a John Wayne movie, or a western.
In the part where they fight for the concentration camp: first, no camp was taken by force, they were all left abandoned, since the germans knew they were committing crimes and the camps were supposed to be a secret. Plus, the troops guarding the camps were just that, guards, they were no regular troops, they were not supposed to fight. They weren't even Wehrmacht, they were a special SS unit, but Fuller's movie shows Wehrmacht troops guarding Death Camps?. The camp personnel knew always in advance when the allies were coming, so they'd left, what was the point of fighting for a camp? Plus, when this happened, Hitler was already dead, and Czechoslovakia was supposed to go to the Russians. So the germans at this stage of the war were surrendering en masse to American troops, for fear of being taken prisoner by the Russians, so why fight the American saviors?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slightly less than mediocre in most respects. May 9 2002
By A Customer
As war movies go, this one lacks any element of a good movie. I bought the DVD on the strength of its many recommendations in Amazon.com and resold it after the first viewing. The problems are too numerous to detail in a short review, but here are a few: First, no one platoon could be present (indeed, the first to arrive) at all of the major events the "Big Red One" experienced -- this is flatly unrealistic. Second, there is no dramatic tension. In fact, there is no drama in the classical sense at all. The platoon sort of wanders around Africa and Europe fighting at times. Where is the human involvement? Why do we care about these specific soldiers? A better movie on this score is Platoon. The action is decent but the directing does not really capture the moment in the same way as, for example, Saving Private Ryan. The acting was good on average, but this did not save the directionless meanderings of the non-plot. In fact, I cannot even recommend seeing this once in light of the shortness of life and the many other good war films that are available, unless you just gotta see Mark Hamill play something other than a jedi knight (and play it well!).
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1.0 out of 5 stars Plan 9 from Normandy! Sept. 5 2002
Quite simply the worst war movie of all time. And that may be an understatement. I am shocked at the comparisons to other legitimate films of the genre. And I'm one of Lee Marvin's biggest fans but there must have been a reason I avoided watching this turkey for the last twenty years, and frankly he's way too old for this part. It's terrible. In fact, it's worse than terrible.
"You know how you smoke out a sniper? You send a guy out in the open." That was the most intelligent line in the entire movie, but the logic matches the production quality of this thing.
Put Sam Fuller in the category with Peckinpah as one of Hollywood's most overrated directors. Just painful to watch. A begrudging one star in the shape of a Bangladore torpedo. Ask Johnny Knoxville what to do with it.
BTW, do not believe a word that BoydJT from BizzaroWorld has to say about this movie. If he's from Ft.Bragg he's already a braindead robotron sheep that's living this stupid made for TV Patriotism or Death nonsense the country's riding out. What an idiot.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not particularly realistic. Nov. 13 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Of the countless war movies I've seen over the years, I can honestly say that this is not one of the better ones. Sure, it has some interesting aspects and even a few suspenseful scenes, but the overall effect is not very impressive.
The thing that struck me most, and the least believable part of the whole movie, is that the same squad of the same platoon of the same company of the same division would be the first unit on the beach in every major allied action from Operation Torch to Kasserine (I know, no beach) to Sicily to Normandy and beyond. Strains credulity just a bit, in my humble opinion. A few of the other scenes were just too surreal for my tastes, for example, delivering a baby in a knocked out German tank, or clearing an exit on Omaha beach with the very first bangalore.
On the positive side, Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill do decent acting jobs, and the scene where the squad comes upon a German death camp (I think it was Auschwitz -- this squad is first on the scene at all the big stuff) is somewhat moving if overdone. I suppose it's fair to characterize this movie as an attempt to encapsulate the entire G.I. experience in WW2 in a two hour movie by showing every major battle, and it that respect I guess it has a measure of success. Still, for someone who watches these movies from the perspective of an amateur historian, I wasn't particularly impressed by this endeavor. Watch it solely for its limited entertainment value -- it's not good for much else.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good price, came in good time
God quality, good price, came in good time.
Published 1 month ago by Ramon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent product, delivered as promised
Published 2 months ago by jo
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could possibly ever want to know.
This re-construction of the hacked up mess that was 'The Big Red One' is the pet project of film critic, Richard Schickel. I have other DVDs with Schickel doing commentaries. Read more
Published 18 months ago by whitefire390
1.0 out of 5 stars movie sucks
this movie sucks...i'm glad i did NOT buy it...don't even bother with it...waste of time.
Published on Dec 23 2009 by pinoymetal
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great...
One of my all time favourite war movies. Unfortunately, the re-edit seems a little choppy with scenes that were cut out of the original for a reason (they took away from the pace... Read more
Published on June 5 2005
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst war film ever?
This film is a disgrace, the combat is unrealistic and i'm sure the tanks in it are all the same for americans and germans alike. Read more
Published on April 20 2004 by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars OVERALL SCORE: (B+)
This is one of the more stunning and profound cinematic portraits of the Second World War. It is an unflinching window into the surrealistic exploits of warriors in combat. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by Pequegnat
1.0 out of 5 stars The "Definitive" Bad Review
This is one of those movies that you either love or hate. I'm guessing the lovers like the interesting combat action and episodic nature of the movie, which keeps up a fast pace... Read more
Published on Dec 6 2003 by B. Dalton
1.0 out of 5 stars The "Definitive" Bad Review
This is one of those movies that you either love or hate. In this case, the haters are the players. I'm guessing the lovers like the combat action and episodic nature of the movie,... Read more
Published on Dec 6 2003 by B. Dalton
1.0 out of 5 stars The absolute worse war movie I have ever seen.
Words cannot do justice to how bad of a portrayal of war this movie is. Even comparing it to other war movies made around the time of this one and before it is bad. Read more
Published on July 3 2003 by Mark Schmidt
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