Fireball Forward

2585. FIREBALL FORWARD (1972-USA). COLOR. With BEN GAZZARA, RICARDO MONTALBAN, ANNE FRANCIS, EDDIE ALBERT. This rock-solid World War II drama is at ones a gripping mystery tale and a perceptive allegory about the dirty business of war. The story opens in Normandy just after D-Day. Ben Gazzara offers a tough, brilliant performance as Major General Joe Barrett, who has just received the Distinguished Service Cross for leading his men in battle. He is justifiably proud of those who have fought bravely under his command, and now he promises to lead them on to Berlin. However, Barrett is told by his superior officer that he is being relieved of his command in order to take over and whip into shape a faltering division. Good soldier that he is, he follows orders and promptly discovers that his new command is a slovenly lot that is lax in military discipline. “They don’t look like soldiers,” he notes, “They look like a beaten mob.” It seems that the Germans know exactly when and where the division is planning an attack. This has resulted in a large number of casualties, which explains the low morale. Someone from the inside must be supplying this top-secret information to the enemy! The tension slowly but surely mounts as Barrett sets out to determine who this could be, and what his motives are. Gazzara is surrounded by a fine supporting cast, led by Ricardo Montalban as a heroic French resistance fighter and Eddie Albert as an amiable intelligence officer. Don’t blink for a moment as you watch this. If you do, you will miss LORETTA SWIT making a brief appearance as an army nurse in dire need of a shower. 94 minutes. War Drama