|Release Date: Dec. 19, 1963|
It's no surprise that this movie is unavailable in VHS or DVD format. The one or two successful scenes are overwhelmed by a confusing array of disconnected episodes. The lengthy opening scene of stiffly marching soldiers leaves one perplexed. Is this a glorification or parody of war? Next, Director Carl Foreman uses actual newsreel footage of WW II events but, here again, the viewer is left in doubt . Trying to fathom the plot is hopeless because, as it turns out, the film is not really a coherent story but rather a succession of skits with an anti-war bias. One bizarre scene shows the execution of a GI for desertion. American soldiers obediently line up to carry out the sentence while the soundtrack plays Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
If you don't already know what war does to normally rational men, watch as soldiers in the back of a combat vehicle take pot shots at a dog chasing the truck. Unfortunately the rest of the movie is instantly forgettable. Even the presence of stars such as Vince Edwards (better suited to TV), Albert Finney, George Hamilton, George Peppard, James Mitchum, Eli Wallach and Peter Fonda doesn't help a bit. Surely these fellows were bored to death with one another and appalled by the script. And let's not forget the lovely actresses such as Melina Mecouri, Jeanne Moreau, Elke Sommer and Romy Schneider--well let's not forget about them in "other" movies!
Filmed in Tilbury, England, The Victors is based on a novel by Alexander Baron entitled The Human Kind. Obviously directors have ups and downs, and for Foreman this is definitely a down after his successful screenplay in Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and the Oscar-winning Guns of Navarone (1961). If you do happen to see The Victors listed in your TV Guide, and have absolutely nothing else to do for several hours, go ahead and watch it. It's better than counting sheep I suppose. Put me to sleep anyway!