There have been many heroic war movies about what historians call the last great war, World War II, but none have surpassed “A Walk In the Sun” based on the book of the same name by HARRY BROWN. It was the first war movie I ever saw, release a year after I was born, and remains, in my mind, as the most vivid.
The story is simple. It follows a platoon of American soldiers from their landing on Italian soil to the confrontation of their objective, a German held farmhouse and bridge, six miles away. The entire movie covers one day and shows how war is long periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of intense violence. The drama is very human, as you learn about each of the soldiers and the courage it must have taken to run toward enemy machine guns, with nothing for protection then a thin, cotton shirt.The lieutenant is killed in the landing barge and so it is up to the sergeants to carry on the mission. One of those sergeants is Sergeant Tyne, played by DANA ANDREWS.
DANA ANDREWS is one of my favorite actors. He epitomized courage faced with overwhelming odds. His handsome, chiseled face never showed weakness, no matter what he encountered. He was always the hero as in “The Best Years of our Lives” when he returned home from World War II to face a faithless wife and a demeaning job, or in “Laura” as a detective who has fallen in love with a murder victim, or in “Zero Hour” where, as a passenger, he must take over the controls of an air liner disabled because the entire crew has been poisoned, or in “Curse of the Demon” where he is a paranormal investigator cursed by a cult of demon worshippers. I will probably be reviewing those movies in more details since they are among my favorites.
His brother, STEVE FOREST, is also an actor, who may be remembered as the Hond Harrelson in the original TV series “S.W.A.T.” later made into a movie starring SAMUEL JACKSON and COLIN FARRELL. Recently on TCM, FOREST gave an emotional tribute to his brother, DANA, whose tragic battles with alcoholism shortened his career and life.
If you say you are a fan of war movies, you cannot honestly make that claim if you have never seen, “A Walk in the Sun”.