Thursday, July 06, 2017

1952: "Decision before dawn", a different World War II movie



"Decision before dawn" is a very different World War II movie.    

It's not "The longest day" or "Saving Private Ryan", a couple of wonderful movies about D-Day 1944.    It's not "Casablanca" or a love story either.    

It is about Germans helping the allies march through Germany:  
Richard Basehart plays Lt. Dick Rennick, an American soldier who, under the command of Col. Devlin (Gary Merrill), helps recruit German prisoners who are willing to become counter-intelligence agents for the Allied cause. 
Rennick eventually encounters Cpl. Karl Maurer (Oskar Werner), a German infantryman who is willing to spy against his own country when his friend is shot by Third Reich soldiers for suggesting Germany is on the verge of defeat. 
Maurer also wants to end the suffering of his fellow countrymen, and to stop the devastation generated by the war.
Upon orders from Rennick and Devlin, Maurer parachutes into Germany for a harrowing mission that will bring him into close contact with variously shattered Germans, most of whom would kill him if they knew of his new allegiance to the Allies. (Viewers should look closely for future Werner Herzog collaborator, Klaus Kinski, in one of his first screen appearances.)
The story is intense.   We've grown so accustomed to Germans wearing uniforms and that we forget that many were opposed to Hitler and what he was doing.

It is a good movie.    However, be patient with the story because it takes time to develop.  

Here is the movie:




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