PATTON

(1970)
With George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates, Edward Binns, Karl Michael Volger
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
Reviewed by JL

Sir, no funny caption, sir!    PATTON is regarded as one of the best film biographies ever made, yet its greatness as a motion picture often seems an afterthought in light of George C. Scott's tour-de-force in the title role, considered by some to be the greatest performance by an actor in screen history.  The film deals with only three years (1942-45) in the life of General George S. Patton, Jr., yet it's ample time to provide an astoundingly full portrait of a complex man.  Patton's heroism and obsessive eccentricities are on full display as he conducts his victorious, if often reckless, campaigns through North Africa, Sicily, and during the Battle of the Bulge.  Scott dominates the screen during every second that he appears, sometimes pulling focus by the sheer energy of his presence or the steely gaze of his all-knowing eyes.  The film also benefits from Franklin Schaffner's straightforward direction, Jerry Goldsmith's score, and an intelligent screenplay by the unlikely team of Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North. 5 - JL

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