Friday, April 11, 2008
TV EYE: Mud and Guts
Although I made my recent switch from Cox Cable to Verizon Fios since the former is a dastardly non-union company and the latter is a proudly unionized one, I’ve had the opportunity to discover a few minor gems on a few fresh channels. Chief among my new found pleasures is looking into the gritty World War II series Combat (AmericanLife, various times and dates) which ran from 1962-1967, with 152 hour long episodes. Anchored by the hangdog Vic Morrow, all tussled hair, squinty eyes, five o’clock shadow, with a killer a pause-and-terse reply style of anti-banter, the show purported to show the war from the trenches, a tale of infantrymen striving to survive through the minor skirmishes and oblique battles in war torn Europe. The shadow of Vietnam shades at least a portion of the proceedings, as the show shies away from heroic acts and crackerjack action, focusing instead on the humanity of the soldiers, and the mud-and-guts reality of their world. Many of the episodes are helmed by TV vets like Bernard McVeety, Ted Post and Tom Gries, with a few intriguing shows shot by Hollywood mavericks Robert Altman and Burt Kennedy.