Cinema: Package Tour

Cross of Iron is Sam Peckinpah's venture into one of the movies' thriving subindustries: the big-budget, international-cast package tour of World War II. The itinerary is a bit unusual—the Eastern Front in 1943, where the German defenses are crumbling before a Russian onslaught. But within the German bunkers Peckinpah focuses on some old familiar attractions: the maverick sergeant who hates officers and war but is still a helluva soldier (James Coburn), the gutless captain who schemes to ride to glory on the bravery of others (Maximilian Schell), the worldly colonel who copes philosophically with futility up and down the ranks (James...

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