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Posts Tagged ‘classic films’

It’s a rare occasion when I’m wholly surprised by a movie. Rarer still is when I come across a star-powered film of which I’ve heard absolutely nothing. Rarest of all is a movie that combines both of these.

Morituri (1965) is such a film.

Before I stumbled across it while channel-surfing, I’d never heard of this WWII story starring Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner. It was released in ’65 to middling reviews and box-office crickets. The title of the film was deemed the main culprit for this poor performance–audiences didn’t understand the title’s reference to the phrase Nos morituri te salutamus, or “We who are about to die salute you.”–but I think it also it was a matter of the public’s waning appetite for tense movies about the war. In the early ’60s, we saw a definite down-tick in the number of WWII films produced by Hollywood, alongside a shift to movies with more romance and humor (The Americanization of Emily, Ensign Pulver, Father Goose, and The Sound of Music– I mean come on…singing Nazis? ). We were still making great WWII dramas, to be sure; some of the greatest, in fact, came out of the mid-’60s, such as Judgment at Nuremburg and The Longest Day, but on the whole the WWII thriller was becoming less common.

Into this changing landscape steamed Morituri. (more…)

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