Kehr Capsule of the Week: Bitter Victory (1957)

Nicholas Ray’s direction of black-and-white CinemaScope, that freak child of the 50s, is consistently brilliant in this raw, confused masterpiece about two commando officers (Richard Burton and Curt Jurgens) lost in the North African desert after a dangerous raid. The moral parable fades into metaphysical speculation, as the desert is always there to lend an eternal perspective to the personality conflict. Extensively recut by its producers, the film barely makes sense on the narrative level, but Ray, as always, is able to illustrate what he cannot articulate.

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