Cinema: War Is Soap

Beach Red. Peter Bowman's moving free-verse novel about a Marine detachment on a World War II Pacific beach head was an understated masterpiece. In turning it into a film, however, Actor-Director Cornel Wilde has under lined its import so heavily as to convert Bowman's subtle poetry into monumental mawkishness. The message, that war is hell and soldiers are better off holding hands with the girls back home, is pounded out with a naivete beyond belief.

As the men inch forward toward their goal, the action stops to let each one run over in his mind a private snapshot album of The...

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