Sunday, July 31, 2016

CRACKER? Europa Europa (1990)



                “Europa Europa” is a German film based on the story of Solomon Perel.  Perel wrote an autobiography entitled I Was Hitler Youth Solomon.  He was still alive at the time of the filming and even appears as himself in the post script.  The film was written and directed by Agnieszka Holland (“In Darkness” and “Angry Harvest” – two other Holocaust films nominated for Best Foreign Film).  Her mother was a member of the Polish Resistance and participated in the Warsaw Uprising.  She is famous for injecting humanity into her films.   “Europa, Europa”  was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.  It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, but the German selection committee declined to submit it for the top prize.  The movie was critically acclaimed.

                The movie foreshadows its framing device by leading with Solomon’s circumcision.  On his bar mitzvah, the Night of Broken Glass occurs.  Kristallnacht signals the beginning of serious persecution of the Jews.  Solomon (Marco Hofschneider) hides naked in a barrel.  A friend gives him a coat with a swastika on it which portends his means of survival.  His sister is killed in the turmoil and the family moves to Lodz in Poland.  When the war begins, Solomon and his brother flee eastward only to run into the Soviet army invading from the east.  Solomon and other Jewish refugees cross a river and pass Polish refugees fleeing westward.  Separated from his brother, he is put in an orphanage for two years.  He becomes a Communist and atheist.  When Germany invades Russia, Solly is captured but manages to con the Germans into believing he is an Aryan.  They do not insist he drop his drawers.  His ability to speak Russian earns him a spot as an interpreter.  His biggest problem is hiding his circumcision, but he manages well.  “Jupp” becomes something of a mascot and then a lucky charm when his unit captures Stalin’s son.  Then he moves up to hero when he inadvertently leads a successful attack.  He gets adopted by his commanding officer and is sent to a Hitler Youth school.  This movie is full of irony.  At the school a eugenics expert selects him as an example of racial theory and then proceeds to demonstrate how Solomon has the classic features of a pure breed.  He gets a rabidly anti-Jewish girlfriend named Leni (Julie Delpy whose English was dubbed).  Although she wants to have a baby for the fatherland, sex is problematical for the circumcised Jupp.  Throughout his adventures he remains extremely lucky.  Twice his background is discovered, but he remains safe from the Holocaust until the Battle of Berlin.

                “Europa Europa” is a thought-provoking film.  If it were not based on a true story, one would scoff at the theme of a Jew who becomes an Aryan.  As it is, you are left wondering if he is a crafty survivor or a despicable turncoat.  The fact that he is a teenage boy cuts him some slack.  Before you say that he was just doing what he had to do, the movie makes it clear that he was seduced by his surroundings.  For example, when word arrives at the Hitler Youth school of the German defeat at Stalingrad, Jupp is genuinely upset.

                The movie is a pleasure to watch.  The cinematography has some pizzazz to it (but jumps the shark a bit with a surreal Hitler/Stalin dance).  There is an amazing set piece when Jupp’s unit passes through the Lodz ghetto with its horrifying sights.  One of those sights is possibly his mother.  He can only gaze upon her. The acting is fine with Hofschneider appropriately teenage boyish.  The movie mines some humor in his sexual encounters and the cluelessness of his Nazi comrades.  There is a Woody Allen vibe to the movie.  The implausibilities of the movie are what weakens it in the mind of a war movie lover like myself.  Although based on a memoir and having Perel on set as an adviser, one must be leery of one man’s account of events that cannot be verified.  As is typical of a biopic, the climactic final scene is pure Hollywood.  In actuality, Perel was captured by the American army and he later located his brother in Dachau concentration camp
.
                The Holocaust subgenre is a strong one and “Europa Europa” is a worthy member.  This is partly due to the uniqueness of its story.  Perel’s odyssey is entertaining and his deception intriguing.  However, it is a bit overrated and not one of the 100 best war movies.

GRADE  =  B

Sunday, July 24, 2016

CRACKER? The War Lord (1965)



                “The War Lord” is a different type of medieval movie.  It was a personal project for Charleston Heston who optioned the play “The Lovers” by Leslie Stevens.  He got Franklin Shaffner to direct it.  This was three years before he teamed up again with Heston for “Planet of the Apes” and five years before “Patton”.  The film was an attempt to bring a more authentically gritty view of the Middle Ages.  It is one of the rare medieval movies that are not epic in scope.  This might partly explain why it did not do well at the box office.

                Orson Welles narrates that in 11th Century Normandy powerful dukes ruled their lands and provided protection from Viking-like raiders called Frisians.  A knight named Chrysagon (Heston), fresh from a Crusade, has been given charge of a Druid village.  He and his band of knights-errant arrive just in time to kick some Frisian ass.  Chrysagon duels with the Frisian leader, but he gets away.  Chrysagon is less than thrilled with his task.  He and his men, including his brother Draco (Dean Stockwell) and his bro Bors (Richard Boone), look down on the Druids because of their pagan beliefs and the fact that they are peasants.  The knights occupy the keep that overlooks the village.  Small scale tale, small scale castle.

                Chrysagon meets the village hottie Bronwyn (Rosemary Forsyth) and he is so confused about his feelings for her that he does not rape her.  When her betrothed Marc comes to him for the customary permission to marry, Chrysagon reluctantly agrees.  Draco reminds Chrysagon of the “droit de seigneur” which gives nobles the right to sleep with a virgin bride first.  He thinks that is a good idea and promises to return her at dawn.  When the sun comes up and she does not come out, Chrysagon has a rebellious village on his hands.  A rebellious village that makes an alliance with the Frisians.  A rousing siege of the keep ensues.  Ladies, you get to watch Charleston Heston fight in his loin cloth!  Although anachronistic explosions are eschewed, we still get lots of fire. 

                This is a strange movie, especially for a movie that was made before the modern era of realism.  Chrysagon is not an anti-hero, but it is hard to tell whether we are supposed to view him as a hero.  Is it admirable that he refuses to rape a peasant girl?  Is he rewarded with her because of his restraint?  The romance that the movie is framed around is different, but not necessarily more realistic than in most medieval movies.  I am sure the movie does not want Bromwyn to be viewed as the villain, but she turns her back on a man that she seemingly was in love with and then betrays the entire village.  Both the central characters show little concern for the consequences of their actions.  This is justified by way of the common movie trope of “love conquers all”.

                There’s a lot to like in the movie.  The acting trio of Heston, Stockwell, and Boone is strong.  Less can be said for Forsyth.  She is in over her head and does little other than look lovely.  There is some interesting cinematography with some deep focus for the interior scenes and quite a bit of stationary camera scenes.  The music is almost continuous, but not pompous.  The action is what sets the movie on a higher plane than your typical medieval romance.  I was surprised to find that the movie does clearly fit into the war movie genre.  The assault on the tower is well done and shifts the movie into a higher gear midway through.  The stunt work is noteworthy.  There are a lot of falls in the film.  The deaths are not laughable and some are special.  One character is impaled by a tree!

                As far as accuracy, the movie deserves some kudos.  The interiors of the keep are authentically sparse.  The clothing is appropriate for the time period.   The knights wear chain mail, open-faced helmets, and carry kite shaped shields.  The siege tactics fit the scenario.  The besiegers use a battering ram and a siege tower.  The defenders respond with boiling oil.  There is a bit more use of bows by the defenders than would be common and the catapult hurling fire balls is pure Hollywood, but these can be forgiven.  The biggest groaner is the use of droit de seigneur to catalyze the drama.  It tosses in the qualification that the girl must be returned by dawn.  Not that this is the first or last time a movie will use this disproved myth to defame the nobility.  At least in 1965, the knowledge of this falsehood was not well-known, unlike the egregious “Braveheart” of 1995.  Other slurs on history include the fact that there would not have been a Druid village in France by  this time.  But then we would not get to see what Hollywood imagined a Druid wedding celebration was like. Lots of dancing, drinking, and wanton sex.  Basically a frat party.  The Frisians were no longer raiding France in the 11th Century, but at least they don’t have horns on their helmets.

                Although the movie has a mixed record on historical facts, it gets a lot of credit for the bigger picture of medieval life.  It goes out of its way to be realistic on some aspects of the feudal system.  It clearly depicts the gap between the nobility (even lowly knights) and the peasants.   More rare is the noble family dynamics that are dramatized.  (The movie is not in a league with “The Lion in Winter”, but what movie is?)  Draco is seething with resentment toward his older brother because being the eldest gave you all the advantages.  In general, the movie does a fair job of showing how unglamorous the time was.  Seamy in a 1965 allowable way, of course.

                Does it end up on my 100 Best War Movies list?  Possibly.  It certainly belongs on a list of the Top Ten Medieval War Movies.  Not that there is a lot of competition.


GRADE  =  B-  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

“BASED ON A TRUE STORY”, REALLY? “In Pursuit of Honor” (1995)




                “In Pursuit of Honor” is a well-intentioned HBO film about the U.S. Army’s horse cavalry in the bleak days of the Depression.  It purports to tell the tale of the rescuing of a herd of cavalry horses scheduled to be exterminated as the Army makes the transition to mechanized units.  The movie claims to be “based on a true story” and seems reasonably believable upon viewing.  It was filmed in Australia and no horses were harmed in the production – just like in reality.

                The movie opens with the Bonus March in Washington, D.C. in 1932.  Hundreds of veterans were in the capital hoping to get their WWI bonuses early due to the Depression.  The doughboys had set up a shantytown and when Congress turned them down, the Army was ordered to clear them out.  A unit of cavalry was lined up to carry out Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s strong-arm tactics.  Sgt. Libbey (Don Johnson) and three of his comrades (all named after characters in John Ford’s “Fort Apache”) refuse to participate and they are relieved by Maj. Hardesty (Bob Gunton).  Flash forward to a dingy Western post where Libbey and his buddies are in limbo.  A new arrival is Lt. Buxton (Craig Sheffer) who is there for assaulting an officer.  The officer deserved it, of course.  It is not Hell until the Devil arrives in the form of Lt. Col. Hardesty.  Hardesty brings with him the new cavalry in the form of some tanks.  The hand-writing is on the stable wall.  The men are told to turn in their sabers and get rid of their excess horses, which means all the horses.  Libbey: “There’s nothing left.  No horses. No cavalry. No honor”.

                Hardesty twirls his mustache as he orders the horses herded to Mexico to be machine gunned in a pit.  You know those Mexicans and their love of horse carcasses.  After a horrific scene depicting the machine gunning of the first hundred horses, Buxton convinces Libbey and his buddies to abscond with the rest of the herd.  For some reason they decide to make a run for Canada instead of simply going deeper into Mexico.  Huh?  The villainous Hardesty is in luke-warm pursuit and manages to catch up with them right at the border.

                On first thought, the movie appears to be a nice little curio about a forgotten episode in American History.  The acting is good with Johnson dominating and Rod Steiger harrumphing in a slumming role.  The rest of the cast is B-movieish, but adequate.  Gunton is well cast as the cartoonish Hardesty.  Most nudge-worthy is an early career turn by Gabrielle Anwar of “Burn Notice” fame.  Her character has a lame romance with Buxton.  Someone has to love humans.  The movie has the inspirational music to match the theme. The scenery is not as awesome as one would expect and there is not a lot of action to compensate for it.  It’s just a nice little movie that is unfortunately marred by the fact that it has no facts.

                It will come as no surprise to history buffs that Hollywood sometimes stretches the truth with its “based on a true story” claim.  In this case, I would have to cry “shenanigans” on that claim for this movie.  Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised to find that seemingly unbelievable stories have some basis in fact.  This movie is the rare opposite.  It turns out virtually nothing that happens in the movie is true.  The Army did transition to tanks, but not as suddenly and not that early.  There is no evidence to support the events in the film.  No horses were killed to reduce the force.  That would have made no sense economically or humanely.  Also making no sense was taking the horses to Mexico to kill them and then all the way to Canada to save them.  If you are going to get your script ideas from a drunken retired cavalryman, you should be more circumspect.  Worse, the movie defames MacArthur.  Now I am not a big MacArthur fan, but I draw the line at accusing him of being a mass murderer of horses. 

                My research definitely colored my opinion of the movie.  It’s a C+ first impression and a D upon further review.  More importantly, I’ll never trust Hollywood again.

GRADE =  D  

Monday, July 18, 2016

FORGOTTEN GEM? The Last Valley (1970)




                “The Last Valley” is a movie set in the Thirty Years’ War.  It was written and directed by James Clavell and is based on the novel by J. B. Pick.  It was shot in Austria.  Although you would think the public was pining for a movie about the Thirty Years’ War, the movie was a flop.  It turns out that people did not care about a complex religious war in Germany in the 17th Century.  Go figure.

                A former teacher named Vogel (Omar Sharif) escapes from a hellish landscape of raping, looting, and murder to find refuge in an isolated village in a picturesque valley that is untouched by the war.  This paradise is about to be sullied with the arrival of a mercenary band led by “the Captain” (Michael Caine).  Vogel suggests they agree to a d├ętente with the villagers.  When one of the men questions this wimpy attitude, the Captain stabs him – end of discussion.  The villagers know the alternative to sharing their village and themselves (if they are women) is worse than any alternatives so they make the best of the situation.  Talk about dysfunction.  Throw in the religious fanaticism and you get a gooey mess.  The movie is not content to explore the obvious Catholicism versus Protestantism angle of the war.  We get a fanatical priest and a witch!  Someone (or two) are headed for a burning at the stake. 

                All this fellowship must come to an end, however.  One of the mercenaries has a dispute with the Captain and returns to the valley with another crew.  There is a mediocre battle that features uncanny accuracy from muskets.  The village sides with their thugs over these unknown thugs.  When spring approaches, it’s time for the boys to get back to work.  There is a siege going on that promises looting and killing.  This live and let live stuff has gotten old.

                I have not read the book so I cannot compare it to the screenplay.  I would hope it makes more sense than the film.  Maybe that was intended because God knows the war made little sense.  You will not learn much about the war from the movie.  You do get the accurate impression that the war was a conflict between Protestants and Catholics.  You also learn that neither religion was in the right.  The ignorant peasants are full of religious ignorance and superstition.  The mercenary nature of the warfare is also highlighted.  And the nasty nature.  At least they are using authentic weaponry.  

                This is a pretty bleak movie.  None of the characters is likeable.  I think the Captain is supposed to grow on you and he does, like a fungus.  In fact, there are several schizophrenic characters.  It does not help that the acting is poor.  Caine and Sharif are solid, but the rest of the cast is weak.  They make up for this with being incredibly well-groomed for the 17th Century.

                In conclusion, this could have been a good movie on a war that deserves at least one decent film.  Unfortunately, the movie tries to do too much and throws in too many diverse characters.  The symbolism of the idyllic valley that is eventually poisoned by the reality of human nature is a bit trite.  Hammering the theme that all religion is bad is also trite.  It also tries too hard to be anti-war.  You don’t have to try hard if you are dealing with possibly the worst war in history.

GRADE  =  D

Friday, July 15, 2016

FORGOTTEN GEM? “The Bunker” (1981)




            There are several movies about the last days of Hitler.  “The Bunker” was a made for TV movie that premiered in 1981.  It was based on the nonfiction book by James O’Donnell.  O’Donnell was a Newsweek correspondent who was in occupied Berlin at the end of the war.  He bribed his way into the Bunker and snooped around, even taking some top secret documents.  He made it a goal to tell the definitive story of Hitler’s death.  His substantial research included numerous interviews with people associated with the Fuhrer in the last days.  The most obvious comparison of this movie is to “Downfall” so some of this review will delve into similarities and differences.

  The movie opens with O’Donnell (James Naughton) entering the Bunker and vowing to tell the tale.  The film then flashes back to Hitler’s arrival at the site.  This bunker is a lot more bright and pristine than the one in “Downfall”.  Instead of centering the movie on the secretary Traudl, it uses multiple viewpoints.  The most notable is that of Albert Speer (Richard Jordan).  Speer is something of a hero (which would conform to his memoirs) and not only argues with Hitler on his plans to destroy the German infrastructure, but he plots to assassinate his boss.  The main villain is Martin Boorman (Michel Lonsdale).  Anthony Hopkin’s Hitler is a lot less sympathetic than Bruno Ganz’s.  He is not portrayed as evil either.  He’s tired and dazed.  The crucial scenes like the wedding, the killing of the Goebbel’s kids, and the Adolf and Eva suicides are similar in both movies.

“The Bunker” is not bad for a made for TV movie.  It is accurate enough to have given the television audience the basics on Hitler’s death.  Some of the dialogue was improvised, but that is acceptable.  There are some controversial (if you are a historian) interpretations of incidents.  For instance, when Speer tells Hitler that he has not carried out his scorched earth plan, Hitler reacts as though he is not surprised.  The acting is fine, with Hopkins dominating of course.  He is not on the same level of Ganz, but he did win an Emmy and his interpretation of Hitler may actually be more realistic.  One major complaint is the sets are too phony looking.  You don’t quite get the desperation that the visuals should imply.  On the other hand, the Bunker is much emptier and quieter in the last few days.  That is probably closer to reality than “Downfall”.

                In conclusion, “The Bunker” is a sincere effort to cover an important and fascinating event in history.  It served a purpose until 2004 when “Downfall” replaced it as the definitive account of the event.  It’s still worth watching as a companion to “Downfall”.  Concentrate on how the same historical event can be variously interpreted.


GRADE  = B-

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

CRACKER? Into the White (2012)



                “Into the White” is a Norwegian movie loosely based on a World War II tale.  It was released under the title “Cross of Honour” in the United Kingdom.  Why the name was changed to something unassociated with the movie is beyond me.  It was directed by Petter Naess.  Yes, that Peter Naess.  We are about to find out what the phrase “inspired by a true story” means when applied to a war movie.
 
                In April, 1940 the Germans and British were fighting over Norway and its natural resources.  The film claims they both wanted to conquer Norway.  The British might find the word “conquer” a bit harsh.  A British fighter shoots down a German bomber, but goes down itself in the encounter.  Both crews end up at the same hunter’s hut.  The Germans arrive first, but allow the British in despite the fact that the Germans are armed and the Brits aren’t (and just shot them down).  Instead of being grateful for that not killing us thing, the British insist on being treated equally and even bitch when the Germans take their lighter to start a fire.  They plan to provoke their hosts and stress them out.  This task is taken up by future soccer hooligan Smith (Rupert Gint – Weasley of Harry Potter fame!).  He manages to get a pistol and now they have the upper hand.

                Since they are stuck in a cabin in wintertime, we get some exposition (but no explosion because this is not a Hollywood film).  The foes debate which is worse – Nazi Germany or the British Empire?  When German Captain Schopis (Florien Lukas) argues that England wants Norway for its raw materials, British Captain Davenport (Lachlan Nieboer) agrees!  I think Norwegian cinema has a grudge against WWII England.  Along with the exposition, we also get the requisite bonding.  The schnapps helps.  You know they are accepting each other because they share cigarettes.  Part of the bonding experience involves Smith and Strunk (Stig Hoff) going off hunting.  Only one comes back when they meet a Norwegian patrol searching for the Germans.  War over for the Germans.  Movie over for us.

                I am always skeptical when a movie claims to be “inspired by a true story”.  I spend the movie wondering what moments of bull shit might actually be true.  Sometimes I am stunned when my research proves the most ridiculous scenes are verifiable.  Most of the time my cynicism is warranted.  This movie is somewhere in the middle.  There really was a German bomber that got shot down and its hunter also crashed.  The movie changes the names of the British, but not the Germans.  Davenport was actually Capt. R.T. Partridge and Smith was Lt. R.S. Bostock.  The British arrived at the cabin first and when the Germans came armed, a truce was agreed to.  The British lied and convinced the Germans that they were the crew of a bomber.  The Brits moved on to a nearby abandoned hotel and were joined there the next day by the Germans.  Davenport (not Smith) and Strunk went out scouting and ran into a Norwegian ski patrol.  Because they feared Strunk was going to kill Davenport, they shot him.  They then moved on to the hotel where Schopis and Auchtor were taken captive.  The movie post script is accurate.  It is obvious that all of the filling in between the lines (like the amputation of Auchtor’s arm) were made up.

                If the “true story” had not existed, someone would have invented it anyway.  Two planes crash near each other and the crews have to live and let live.  Cinema 101.  “Into the White” fumbles the chance to enhance the basic story with entertaining elements.  The characters are all stereotypes.  One of the Germans is “bad” (Auchtor), but strangely not the officer.  We know he’s bad because he carries a copy of “Mein Kampf”.  Smith is a caricature.  The two leaders are too noble.  The dialogue is bland and the plot is predictable.  You can see the bonding coming from a mile away.  There is no real suspense.  You never get the feeling that the two groups will open fire on each other.

                If your favorite color is white, this is the movie for you.  Otherwise, it’s not anything special. It certainly is not going to make my 100 Best War Movies list.


GRADE  =  C 

Monday, July 11, 2016

ANTIQUE or CLASSIC?: The Purple Plain (1954)



                “The Purple Plain” was a British film that was released in 1954 and did pretty well at the box office.  Gregory Peck and the fact it was in color probably were responsible for some of the success.  It was directed by Robert Parish from a novel by H.E. Bates.  The movie was shot in Sri Lanka and used some of the sites later used in “Bridge on the River Kwai”.  The Royal Air Force cooperated with the use of authentic Mosquitoes.

                We are in Burma in 1945.  Squadron Leader Forrester (Peck) is suffering from mental instability due to the death of his wife in the “Blitz”.  He has a death wish and everyone thinks he is a “raving lunatic”.  Everyone except the base doctor who refuses the base commander’s wish to have him relieved.  There’s a nice twist!  Instead the doc takes him to a Burmese village where Forrester meets a beautiful girl named Anna (Win Min Than).  Love will conquer his mental problems.  The relationship develops very briskly with Anna pressuring him to commit.  Another twist.  Forrester promises to always come back to her, thus eliminating any suspense over whether Gregory Peck’s character will die with his romance unrequited.  (Like there was a good chance of that otherwise.)  Forrester is a changed man and his brain is fixed.  Unfortunately, his engine is not and he crashes on the very next mission.  Imagine the odds!

                The crash is well done which is at odds with the rest of the movies shoddy effects.  Forrester, Flight Officer Blore (Maurice Denham), and wounded navigator Carrington (Lyndon Brook) are far from safety.  Forrester wants to press on, but Blore insists on staying with the wreckage.  Peck points out to Denham which one of them is the big star so they move on.  Excellent decision plot-wise.  Plus we get some nice scenery and the emoting you get when three desperate men have to make a trek.  Will Forrester be true to his promise to return to Anna?  Check out the year the movie was released for a clue.

                This is an interesting movie.  I had never heard of it and I am a Gregory Peck fan.  It is not one of his more famous roles.  It came between “Roman Holiday” and “Moby Dick”.  He dominates, but Denham was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor.  I think this was Win Min Than’s only movie.  It is obvious she was an amateur, but she holds her own and does the opposite of scene-chewing.  The plot is a bit predictable, but the movie is comfortable for a 1950s audience.  Not surprisingly, the PTSD issue is handled in too simplistic a way.  Anna is one great therapist!  Good thing due to the doctor’s bizarre lack of concern that an insane, suicidal officer is leading men into combat.  The cinematography stands out with a lot of close-ups.  Too close actually and too many.  Other than the crash, the effects are those of models being pummeled by fake flak.

                Antique or Classic?  Neither.  Just a mildly entertaining trifle.

GRADE = C+  

Friday, July 1, 2016

THE 100 GREATEST WAR MOVIES (STATISTICALLY)



This is my attempt at a statistical analysis of the greatest war movies.  Here is the methodology.  I found four 100 Greatest War Movies lists that I feel are knowledgeable on the subject.  Two of those lists (Military History magazine and Channel 4) rank the movies.  The others are Film Site and the book 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die.   I also used three books that rate war movies:  Video Hound’s War Movies, Brassey’s Guide to War Films, and The Belle and Blade Guide to Classic War Videos.  The reason why the list is limited to only movies from the 20th Century is because the sources do not include 21st Century movies. 

 I won’t bore with the details, but basically the first number is a combination of the average rating from the ratings books and a rating based on the ranking from the two ranked lists (on a scale of 1-5).   I grouped the movies based on how many lists they made so only movies that were in both Military History magazine and Channel 4 made the top 43. 

 I must emphasize that this list does not reflect my opinions.  In fact, I find some of the positions ridiculous.  I have seen and reviewed all of the movies on the list.  Some are not war movies, in my opinion.  Others are very overrated.  It is also apparent that foreign movies got short-changed.

Sorry about the columns.  I was not drunk when I made them. 

Either MH (Military History magazine) or C4 (Channel 4) plus one more list
100.  The Manchurian Candidate  (1962)                3.85        85MH 
99.    Bridge at Toko-Ri                                        3.85        73MH
98.    Mrs. Miniver                                               3.93        79C4   
97.    To Hell and Back                                          3.94        77MH
96.    Run Silent, Run Deep                                   3.95        79MH
95.    The Alamo  (1960)                                       4.02        61MH
94.    Sands of Iwo Jima                                        4.03        76C4
93.    Land and Freedom                                        4.05        80MH
92.    Ulzana’s Raid                                              4.05        54MH
91.    The Sea Hawk                                              4.05        48MH
90.    The Man Who Would Be King                      4.08        74MH
89.    Hail the Conquering Hero!                            4.08        70MH
88.    The Cruel Sea                                             4.08        41C4
87.    They Died with Their Boots On                    4.09        68MH
86.    Foreign Correspondent                                  4.1          86MH
85.    Ride with the Devil                                       4.1          73C4
84.    Casualties of War                                        4.12        55C4
83.    The Train                                                    4.16        62MH
82.    Empire of the Sun                                        4.16        43C4
81.    Life is Beautiful                                          4.19        56C4
80.    Twelve O’Clock High                                    4.2          72MH
79.    The Story of G.I. Joe                                    4.26        45MH
78.    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon                            4.28        55MH
77.    Catch-22                                                     4.28        42C4
76.    Oh!  What a Lovely War                              4.28        40C4
75.    The Tin Drum                                              4.3          60MH
74.    Scipio Africanus                                           4.3          56MH
73.    Ministry of Fear                                           4.3          53MH
72.    Colonel Redl                                                4.3          50MH
71.    The Third Man                                            4.33        80MH
70.    Battleground                                               4.34        36MH
69.    Beau Geste                                                 4.35        52MH
68.    Three Kings                                                 4.4          50C4
67.    Hell’s Angels                                               4.4          43MH
66.    Hope and Glory                                           4.43        52MH
65.    Pork Chop Hill                                            4.43        39MH
64.    Good Morning, Vietnam                               4.44        31C4
63.    Gettysburg                                                  4.46        46MH
62.    Battleship Potemkin                                     4.47        47MH
61.    Tora! Tora! Tora!                                        4.51        39C4
60.    Kagemashu                                                 4.53        34MH
59.    The African Queen                                      4.53        32MH
58.    Duck Soup                                                  4.53        27MH
57.    Notorious                                                   4.55        57MH
56.    The Searchers                                             4.55        49MH
55.    The Dawn Patrol  (1938)                             4.58        38MH
54.    Best Years of Our Lives                              4.61        40MH
53.    The Dam Busters                                        4.69        11C4
52.    The Killing Fields                                       4.75        15C4
Either MH or C4 plus two more lists                       
51.    Birth of a Nation                                          3.8          92C4
50.    Ballad of a Soldier                                        3.9          81MH
49.    The Big Parade                                            4.1          58MH
48.    In Which We Serve                                     4.12        57C4
47.    Gallipoli                                                     4.19        48C4
46.    Stalag 17                                                    4.19        18MH
45.    Sergeant York                                              4.4          19MH
44.    Wings                                                        4.7          11MH
Both MH and C4  (the highlighted movies appear on all four lists)
43.    The Last of the Mohicans  (1992)             3.75        65  (avg. of MH and C4)
42.    Battle of Britain                                         3.75        59.5
41.    Guns of Navarone                                      3.94        53.5
40.    The Deer Hunter                                        3.95        20.5
39.    A Bridge Too Far                                     4.02        50.5
38.    El Cid                                                      4.05        74.5
37.    Breaker Morant                                         4.07        84.5
36.    The Thin Red Line  (1998)                       4.12        58
35.    Cross of Iron                                            4.12        50.5
34.    Braveheart                                                 4.13        40
33.    Charge of the Light Brigade  (1936)          4.15        51.5
32.    The Dirty Dozen                                       4.19        24
31.    Rome, Open City                                      4.2          56
30.    From Here to Eternity                              4.29        56.5
29.    The Longest Day                                      4.3          17.5
28.    Spartacus                                                  4.35        33
27.    Alexander Nevsky                                     4.38        39.5
26.    The Big Red One                                       4.4          84.5
25.    The General                                             4.45        53.5
24.    Stalingrad  (1992)                                      4.45        40.5
23.    Platoon                                                    4.65        7.5
22.    Battle of Algiers                                        4.5          44
21.    MASH                                                     4.52        26.5
20.    The Great Escape                                    4.52        23.5
19.    The Life and Death of Col. Blimp               4.55        79.5
18.    Ran                                                          4.55        70
17.    Napoleon                                                 4.55        52
16.    Full Metal Jacket                                    4.55        10.5
15.    All Quiet on the Western Front  (1930)    4.65        17   *  #1 in MH
14.    Apocalypse Now                                      4.67        8
13.    Glory                                                      4.69        39
12.    Dr. Strangelove                                         4.7          51
11.    Casablanca                                               4.7          47.5
10.    Paths of Glory                                         4.74        12.5
9.      Bridge on the River Kwai                        4.75        11
8.      Das Boot                                                 4.84        10
7.       Saving Private Ryan                               4.84        4.5      *  #1 in C4
6.       Henry V  (1944)                                       4.85        55.5
5.       Grand Illusion                                        4.85        34
4.       Patton                                                    4.85        30.5
3.       Lawrence of Arabia                                4.85        23
2.       Schindler’s List                                       5.0          17.5
1.       Zulu                                                        5.0          15  *  #22 MH  /  #8  C4

A few thoughts:
1.  The two ranked lists (MH and C4) differ greatly in placement of the movies.  Only 43 movies made both lists.  The movie that was highest on both lists was “Saving Private Ryan”. 

2.  Because I could find only three appropriate rating sources, this meant that if one reviewer disliked a movie, it could skew the average rating.  For instance, “The Longest Day” got a 2.0 in Belle and Blade, which is ludicrous.  However, I had to stick with the system.

3.  “Patton” and “Dr. Strangelove” were the only movies to get a perfect rating in all three sources.  Several movies had 5s on two sources, but were not reviewed by the third source.  These were “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Zulu”, “Schindler’s List”, “Casablanca”, “Henry V”, “Ran”, and “Grand Illusion”.

4.  Only three movies made the top ten in both MH and C4:  “Das Boot” (3 & 10), “Saving Private Ryan” (8 & 1), and “Platoon” (9 & 6).  “Platoon” ended up at #23 because of lukewarm ratings.

5.  Movies that met the criteria, but did not make the top 100 included:  “Guadalcanal Diary”, “Castle Keep”, “The Desert Fox”, “A Walk in the Sun”, “Sahara”, “The Desert Rats”, “Dunkirk”, “Midway”,  “Ben Hur”, “Come and See”, “Regeneration”, and “Europa, Europa” .