Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Battle of the Bulge" Is Exciting, but Has a Bulge of Bad Facts

Cleveland Press March 25 1966

With "Battle of the Bulge" Cinerama moves out onto the battlefield and the super-wide screen process makes for some exciting moments.

Unfortunately, the camera work and thrilling staging of the battles are betrayed by a screenplay that looks as though it were assembled from bits and pieces of old war movies and maybe a western or two.

This isn't the Battle of the Bulge or any other recognizable battle.

It is, however, a standard Henry Fonda movie in which he drawls and looks quizzical and outwits everyone and eventually turns back a major German offensive thus hastening the end of World War II.

In this work of pure fiction Fonda is an intelligence officer who figures the Nazi forces are about to mount an offensive. He's an ex-police inspector who's been sniffing around but the regular Army boys just sniff at his ideas.

CHIEF AMONG these is Dana Andrews as a stuffy officer. Robert Ryan (he's a general) alternately frowns and smiles at both of them.

Along with this are the usual little side dramas -- Telly Savalas wonderfully cavorting as a sergeant who runs a black market on the side; a gung-ho sergeant (George Montgomery) helping a green kid lieutenant (James MacArthur).

On the Nazi side there is Robert Shaw -- tall, blond and very Aryan as the undefeatable officer who will lead the tank attack. The part is as much a stereotype as the others but Shaw gives it a little extra.

When the story is abandoned for action the movie gets pretty special. You can almost forget the hokum as you sit in awe at what must have been an amazing problem in logistics alone to stage the tank battles.

THERE ARE grim but exciting moments as the German Tiger tanks overrun an American outpost, the soldiers fighting back with little more than small arms. Tiger vs. the lighter Sherman tank occupy another major scene.

According to this movie the Battle of the Bulge couldn't have lasted more than a few days, Bastogne wasn't very important, and the fog that was supposed to have prevented Allied air cover held off long enough for some wonderful scenic photography.

What this film needs is some other title.


GREATER CLEVELAND'S only Cinerama theater -- for the time being anyway -- opened last night. The Great Northern Theater opened to the public with the premiere of "Battle of the Bulge."

Since the Palace stopped showing Cinerama features ("Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "Circus World" were the last of them) this area has been without a theater equipped to show this widest of all projection processes.

The Great Northern is located at Lorain and Brookpark Rds. in North Olmsted and is owned by Stanley Warner Theaters with headquarters in Pittsburgh.

This is the third new Stanley Warner theater in Northern Ohio. The other two are in Akron and Canton.

THE THEATER SEATS 1346. Like other recently built theaters there is no stage, no proscenium. The screen occupies the fourth wall of the auditorium.

The deeply curved 90-foot screen can be adjusted to handle 35mm and 70mm films as well as Cinerama.

Last night's opening was attended by North Olmsted officials, members of American Legion Excelsior Post No 628 and members of the Great Northern Assn. and executives of Stanley Warner Theaters.

Other Stanley Warner theaters in Greater Cleveland are the Allen, Colony and Vogue.