The Red Badge of Courage

Director: John Huston
Year Released: 1951
Rating: 1.5

Callow soldier (Audie Murphy) - on the Yankee side of the Civil War - at first chickens out, fleeing from conflict before learning how to conquer his fear by screwing his courage to the sticking place and running recklessly into battle. Unusually clipped and choppy - even for the oft-careless Huston - it also spells out the soldier's inner turmoil with some clunky voice-over (remember: reading passages from the source text - here, the Stephen Crane novel - isn't always the best idea). Murphy may have been a decorated war hero - one of the 'scary brave' - but as an actor he leaves much to be desired (which he admitted): even his staring into space and perspiring appear forced.