Seminal Image #721

The Red Badge of Courage
(John Huston; 1951)


Vanwall said...

By far, one of the very best war movies ever made, with one the most fearless men ever playing a most human role, with a conviction only he could've brought to it. These three pictured, Audie Murphy, John Dierkes, and Bill Mauldin could've stepped right out of a Brady glass negative, and were amazingly believable.

Tom Sutpen said...

My words exactly, Rob. Red Badge of Courage has always been a particular favorite of mine, and I've easily seen it more than 20 times, but I've often wondered when people lament MGM butchery of Huston's 90min. cut, if they're not foolishly discounting all that remains.

About 15 years ago (or thereabouts), when I finally saw the restored cut of Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster and found, to my extreme surprise, that the restored footage added virtually nothing to a film I already knew well, I started thinking, suspecting, that this may also have been the case with Huston's film. I can't support this suspicion at all, but I don't see how the 69 minutes that MGM released in 1951 could have been more rich or more poetic.

Maybe we'll never know, but I think this may be an instance where a studio-imposed ;improvement' did, in fact, improve the picture as a whole. A foul heresy in some circles, I agree, but I wonder how often this has been the case.