Aficionados of the action-packed war film will savor the crackling, combat-centered approach of The Thin Red Line, an explosive melodramatization of the Yank assault on Guadalcanal in World War II.
Bernard Gordon’s scenario, turbulently gleaned from James Jones’ novel, focuses its characterization gaze at two figures prominently implicated in the taking of that small but significant piece of Pacific real estate. One is a resourceful private (Keir Dullea), the other a war-wise, sadistic sergeant (Jack Warden).
The two quickly become enemies but it is no surprise when, ultimately, one dies in the other’s arms after saving the other’s life. Dullea and Warden are colorful antagonists, former’s intensity contrasting sharply with the latter’s easygoing air. In addition to this pivotal intramural conflict, there are other hostilities including the one between Japan and the United States.