This, the second of John Huston's three World War II documentaries, so infuriated powers within the U. S. War Department that at first the War Department forbade release of the film.
Only direct intervention on the part of Gen. George Marshall saved this film from extinction.
The film includes battlefield scenes showing soldiers being killed and the dead being loaded into body bags. There is also matter-of-fact reporting about high casualty rates and mentionings of volunteer patrols with not a single member returning alive.
This film demonstrates this fact about war: Victory comes not as much from planning as it does from the ability to dynamically adapt to circumstances.
But what makes this film much more than just a documentary is the pathos it engenders, because juxtaposed with the dispassionate battle planning and execution is the local people's experience and unpretentious perspective set to the very moving music of Brahms's German Requiem:
"The prime aim was to engage and defeat the enemy. The capture of the town and the liberation of its people were merely incidental. But the townspeople - in their military innocence - looked upon the Americans as deliverers. So far as these people were concerned, the Americans came to free them and their farm lands."
Other John Huston World War II documentaries available from Nobility Studios: