Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Jack Palance

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Jack Palance - Stardates: Born February 18, 1919, Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania; died 2006. Star Sign: Aquarius. Star Qualities: Hawklike face, intimidating eyes, steely commitment to his characters. Star definition: "He was a gifted man -- not just an actor, he was an artist, he was a poet." -- Singer/songwriter Jack Hannah. Galaxy of Characters: Slade in Man in the Attic, Charles Castle in The Big Knife, Lt. Joe Costa in Attack!, Chet Rollins in Monte Walsh.

In the trailer for Robert Aldrich's World War II epic Attack!, Palance's Lt. Costa is described as "a leader of men whose captain was a coward". Costa angrily confronts that captain (played to the blustery hilt by Eddie Albert) with this ultimatum: "You play the gutless wonder just once more and I lose men because of it, I'll come back and I'll get you Cooney ... I'll shove this grenade down your throat ... and pull the pin."

Lee Marvin also stars as Col. Bartlett, a "brass hat who played war like he played poker: hard and dirty!" The over-the-top titles go on to describe, B-movie style, what is actually a gritty war drama thusly, "This is war -- stripped of everything but TRUTH! The war story so HOT, no one dared film it till now!" Ah, they don't make trailers like they used to ... can you imagine Saving Private Ryan being promoted that way today?

Attack! airs tomorrow on TCM at 11:00 AM EST.

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