Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel

Last Blitzkrieg (1959)

Directed by Arthur Dreifuss. Stars Van Heflin and several lesser U.S. actors. A Columbia production. 84 minutes.

Set during the Battle of the Bulge, the last major battle in World War II.

Van Johnson plays an American-educated German who has high rank in the Nazi Army and is the son of a German General. He is given the task of infiltrating the U.S. lines and do major damage. VJ leads a small group of fellow-Germans whose American English is flawless. They dress in G.I. uniforms and do their thing. Of course, in the final minutes of the movie they are unmasked and destroyed.

In historical reality, Nazi soldiers did manage to pass for G.Is but, so far as I know, never in the detailed ways shown in the movie.

The film is watchable, but also quite exaggerated and skippable.

Van Johnson, a rather major star in his heyday, is not a favorite of mine. For reasons I cannot explain but could be medical, whenever, in his later career, he appeared on TV interviews, he was outrageously whiny, sentimental and, what's worse, shockingly lachrymose. Makes a strange impression.

He is OK here, although his role becomes ludicrous at film's end, when, once unmasked, he has a change of heart and turns his gun against the German soldiers!

I have no idea who Arthur Dreifuss (1908-1993) was. All I could find out is that he was born in Germany, had a famous Jewish name--more often spelled Dreyfuss --and made some 50 movies in Hollywood starting in 1939. None of those movie titles is even vaguely a familiar one.

The movie was shot in Holland. Its sets and locations are convincing.

Copyright © Edwin Jahiel

Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel