The Big Red One: The Reconstruction | Chicago Reader

The Big Red One: The Reconstruction

A heroic effort by critic Richard Schickel to reconstruct Samuel Fuller's most ambitious feature—a semiautobiographical account of his own fighting unit during World War II, severely truncated by distributors when first released (in 1980). This isn't a director's cut, and the offscreen commentary that Fuller objected to is retained (if reduced), but it's 50 minutes longer than the original release, with 15 previously missing scenes and 23 extensions of existing scenes supplied from surviving footage, with Fuller's script and notes used as guidelines. Starring Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, and Bobby Di Cicco as well as Stephane Audran and Christa Lang (with a cameo by Fuller himself), this multifaceted, earthy, and philosophical reflection on war runs the gamut from realism to surrealism. What it lacks in cohesion it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness, as it follows Fuller's combat experience from North Africa to Sicily, France, Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. R, 163 min.

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