Cinema: To Fight & Die Quietly

Merrill's Marauders is much quieter than the usual war picture. Rifle fire has the deceptively dull sound of rifle fire. Plans are made in everyday voices, neither out of breath with excitement nor too studiously underkeyed. Director Samuel Fuller, who served in the infantry during World War II, seems determined to make the point that men at war—particularly when their war is one of close-in jungle combat unsupported by artillery—fight and die quietly.

The picture tells the story of the 3,000 volunteers who crossed Japanese lines in Burma in 1944 and spent five months clearing the enemy out of 5,000 square miles...

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