Cinema: The Nature of the Beast

The Thin Red Line. The only good soldier is a crazy soldier. In James Jones's story of the ghastly campaign on Guadalcanal, this thesis was expounded with passion, and in the picture adapted from the novel it is developed with vigor. But somehow, when the stereophonic tumult and the dubbed-in shouting dies, the spectator senses that once again he has been told the tale of the crusty sergeant and the sensitive dogface who fought each other as hard as they fought the enemy but at last became buddies in battle on the island of Twaddlebanal.

The dogface (Keir Dullea) is scared and...

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