The film bears little more than surface resemblance to the hard hitting Norman Mailer novel of the same title. It catches neither the spirit nor the intent of the original yarn and thus becomes just another war picture, weighed with some tedious dialog sporadically lifted from the book.

The film bears little more than surface resemblance to the hard hitting Norman Mailer novel of the same title. It catches neither the spirit nor the intent of the original yarn and thus becomes just another war picture, weighed with some tedious dialog sporadically lifted from the book.

The characters go through the motions, hating themselves, hating each other, hating the jungle war that flares around them.

The action sequences come in spurts, but when they do, lenser Joseph LaShelle sees to it that they impress and the dangers of the jungle warfare become vividly real. Unfortunately, a good deal of the footage is taken up with the platoon moving up a mountain or down a mountain, crossing rivers, etc and, after a while, these scenes begin to wear thin.

Aldo Ray plays the frustrated, bitter and sadistic Sergeant Croft. It’s not a very plausible part in the first place, and the strenuous efforts to ‘explain’ him (his wife, Barbara Nichols, has been unfaithful) don’t help. Ray plays this beefy character with gusto and certain raw power.

As the playboy whom the general picks as his aide, Cliff Robertson turns in a slick performance. He’s good in his verbal encounters with the general, whom he eventually defies, but lacks conviction once he’s assigned to lead the Croft platoon on its final sortie.

The Naked and the Dead

Production

RKO. Director Raoul Walsh; Producer Paul Gregory; Screenplay Denis Sanders, Terry Sanders; Camera Joseph LaShelle; Editor Arthur P. Schmidt; Music Bernard Herrmann; Art Director Ted Haworth

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1958. Running time: 131 MIN.

With

Aldo Ray Cliff Robertson Raymond Massey Lili St Cyr Barbara Nichols Richard Jaeckel
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