Cross of Iron (1977)

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    There are 18 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by The Ringo Kid.

    • Cross of Iron (1977)


      EMI FILM

      Photo with the courtesy of Gorch

      Information From IMDb

      Plot Summary
      In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann Stransky is assigned as the new commander of his squad. After a bloody battle of Steiner's squad against the Russian troops led by the brave Lieutenant Meyer that dies in the combat, the coward Stransky claims that he led his squad against the Russian and requests to be awarded with the Iron of Cross to satisfy his personal ambition together with his aristocratic family. Stransky gives the names of Steiner and of the homosexual Lieutenant Triebig as witnesses of his accomplishment, but Steiner, who has problems with the chain of command in the army and with the arrogance of Stransky, refuses to participate in the fraud. When Colonel Brandt gives the order to leave the position in the front, Stransky does not retransmit the order to Steiner's squad, and they are left alone surrounded by the enemy and having to fight to survive.
      Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      Full Cast
      James Coburn ... Unteroffizier / Feldwebel Rolf Steiner
      Maximilian Schell ... Hauptmann Stransky
      James Mason ... Oberst Brandt
      David Warner ... Hauptmann Kiesel
      Klaus Löwitsch ... Unteroffizier Krüger
      Vadim Glowna ... Gefreiter Kern
      Roger Fritz ... Leutnant Triebig
      Dieter Schidor ... Anselm
      Burkhard Driest ... Schütze Maag
      Fred Stillkrauth ... Gefreiter Schnurrbart ('Private Mustache') (as Fred Stillkraut)
      Michael Nowka ... Dietz
      Véronique Vendell ... Marga
      Arthur Brauss ... Pg. Zoll
      Senta Berger ... Eva
      Sweeney MacArthur ... Boy soldier
      Robert Rietty ... German Officer (voice)
      Igor Galo ... Leutnant Meyer (uncredited)
      Ivica Pajer ... (uncredited)
      Nedim Prohic ... (uncredited)
      Slavko Stimac ... Michail (uncredited)
      Vladan Zivkovic ... (uncredited)

      Wolf C. Hartwig .... producer
      Arlene Sellers .... producer
      Alex Winitsky .... producer
      Lothar H. Krischer .... co-producer (uncredited)

      Writing credits
      (in alphabetical order)
      Julius J. Epstein writer (as Julius Epstein)
      James Hamilton writer
      Willi Heinrich novel "The Willing Flesh"
      Walter Kelley writer

      Original Music
      Ernest Gold

      John Coquillon

      The ending wasn't the original ending in the script. At the time the film had run out of money so Sam Peckinpah got James Coburn to improvise.

      The lyrics to the famous 'Kinderlied' which is played over the montage at the beginning of the movie are, in German: Hänschen klein Geht allein In die weite Welt hinein. Stock und Hut Steht im gut, Ist gar wohlgemut. [first verse] Which, translated, means: Little John He has gone Out to see the world alone Staff and hat, Look at that, He's one happy cat. But his mommy cries a lot Now she has no Johnny got. "Fortune find, But you mind, Come back to your kind." Seven years, Joy and tears, John in many lands appears. Then he thought That he ought To go home and got - But now he's no Johnny small, No, he is now big John tall. Tall and tanned, Face and hand. Will they know this man? One, two, three Pass and see, Don't know who this man might be. Even Sis: "Who is this?" Knows not who he is. Then along comes mother dear, Barely sees his eyes so clear, Says: "My son, Welcome home, God bless you my son." [all verses]

      Filmed in Yugoslavia with money put up by a West German porn producer.

      Steiner carries a Russian PPSh-41 submachine gun originally chambered for 7.62x25 Tokarev, a round the Germans did not (officially) use. But the 41 was easily rebarrelled for 9 millimeter parabellum round, which the Germans did use, and the weapon was, in fact, adopted by the Germans as the MP717(r). While the drum magazine worked with 9mm ammo, the Russian curved stick magazine did not. If the Germans chose to use stick magazines with this gun, they had to modify the magazine housing to accept German issue MP38/40 magazines. However, doing this would prevent the use of the drum magazines. So Steiner's weapon, therefore, may be in the original caliber, or may have been rebarrelled for 9mm parabellum, but had not been modified for German stick magazines.

      The pistol Stransky draws to shoot the teenage Russian prisoner at the first meeting with Steiner is a Model 1934 Beretta.

      The German general who visits the hospital is dubbed by Robert Reitty.

      Sgt. Steiner, as an officer at the hospital notes, "has been highly decorated." His awards: the Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class (rarely awarded to enlisted men), the Silver Wound Badge (3 separate times wounded), the Infantry Assault Badge (combat in 3 separate battles) and the rare Gold Close Combat Bar.

      According to Vadim Glowna, Sam Peckinpah emptied four whole Bottles of Whiskey or Wodka during every entire day of shooting while only sleeping approximately only 3 or 4 hours per Night.

      This is the only ever war film that was directed by Sam Peckinpah.

      This film's final closing coda is a quote from Bertolt Brecht: It states: "Don't rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, The bitch that bore him is in heat again."

      * Factual errors: When Steiner and his men are waiting to cross the road, the Russian soldiers on the tanks are singing "Oy Kozaro", a Yugoslav fighting song, which Russian soldiers would not know. The Yugoslav extras probably didn't know any Russian songs and figured nobody would know the difference.

      * Anachronisms: When the Russian woman bathing in the washtub stands up, bikini tan lines are visible.

      * Factual errors: In an already described scene, where Russian soldiers are singing Yugoslav song "Oy Kozaro", there are some more mistakes. The Russian soldiers are all wearing regular Yugoslav People's Army uniforms from the mid '70s, the trucks are model TAM (made in Slovenia for YU army between 1960-75), the registration plates on the trucks are regular registration plates of YU Army.

      * Factual errors: The Soviet planes that bomb the German trench system are actually U.S. Navy Vought F4U Corsairs. You can even see the U.S. military markings on them.

      * Anachronisms: The Russian tanks used in this movie are T34s with the 85 mm gun which were not in production at the time of the movie. T34s with the 76 mm gun would be the right choice, but there were not many left and quite a few countries still had T34/85s when the movie was made, so the wrong tank was used.

      * Factual errors: One of the members of Steiner's squad is wearing a captured Russian knit cap, complete with a Soviet red star/hammer and sickle badge on the front. Since the Nazi party and the German armed forces hated communism, the wearing of such an insignia by a German soldier would have been forbidden.

      * Factual errors: During Sgt Steiner's hospitalization for wounds, he yells from the hospital balcony to a driver below, "Corporal, hold that truck!" However, the rank insignia on the driver's shoulder straps clearly indicates that he is a Senior Sergeant.

      * Revealing mistakes: Although dozens of rifles, submachine guns, and machine guns are fired during the movie, in only one instance are spent cartridge cases shown to be ejecting during firing (this occurs near the end of the film, as Sgt Steiner is firing a captured Russian submachine gun at Lieutenant Treibig).

      * Anachronisms: Many Russian infantrymen in the film are carrying Mosin-Nagant (M-N) M44 Carbines, some with extended bayonets. However, the M44 did not enter service until the year 1944, and the battle depicted in the movie took place in 1943. The standard Russian rifles during that year were the older M-N M1891/30 rifle and the M-N M38 carbine.

      * Factual errors: In the scene where a dance party is held for the patients at the hospital, the visiting general's adjutant gives order to "bring meats and wines" on the buffet table "to the private room," supposedly to be consumed by the general and his entourage in privacy. However, such thing could never have happened in the German army of the second world war. Hitler had tried very hard to eradicate officer/enlisted man and class difference within the army, and any general attempting such thing would have been court-martialled.

      * Factual errors: When Steiner brings in a Russian boy as prisoner-of-war, Stransky yells "There are standing orders not to take prisoners!" In reality, there were no such standing orders in the German Army. Hitler's so-called "Commissar Order" prohibited taking of commissars as prisoners only, not ordinary Russian soldiers, even though the treatment of Russian prisoners thus taken was horrible.

      * Factual errors: Oberst Brandt is wearing the Krim shield on his right arm. It is worn on the left arm only.

      * Continuity: The way Kiesel holds his glass changes (early in movie).

      Filming Locations
      Obrov, Slovenia
      Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
      Trieste, Yugoslavia (near)
      Zagreb, Croatia (near)
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      Cross of Iron is a 1977 war film directed by Sam Peckinpah,
      featuring James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason and David Warner.
      The film is set on the Eastern Front in World War II during the Soviet's Caucasus operations
      that forced the Wehrmacht to retreat from the Taman Peninsula on the Black Sea in late 1943.

      The film focuses on the class conflict between a newly-arrived,
      aristocratic Prussian officer who covets winning the Iron Cross
      and a cynical, battle-hardened infantry NCO.
      The screenplay was based on the 1956 novel The Willing Flesh by Willi Heinrich,
      a fictional work that may be loosely based on the true story of Johann Schwerdfeger.

      Exteriors were shot on location in SFR Yugoslavia.
      They are notable for using a significant number of authentic tanks and equipment.

      This one is a request from The Ringo Kid.
      I will let Carl therefore post a review on it.
      Suffice to say it is Peckinpah's only war movie,
      and in many circles is rated second only, to The Wild Bunch.
      The review below, suggests, it is a classic!

      User Review
      2 December 2002
      Author: Jonathon Dabell
      Cross of Iron is probably the second best film
      made by Sam Peckinpah, rivalled only by The Wild Bunch.
      It is a war film shich follows a unit of
      German soldiers as they escape from the front line as the Russians
      smash through their ranks.
      This was perhaps the most devastating line
      to be fighting on during World War Two,
      and as expected there
      is a lot of death and gore, not to mention filth, sweat and treachery.

      James Coburn plays a German soldier with an almost
      God-like air of invincibility about him.
      He is not a comic book creation,
      but a hardened soldier who terrifies everybody,
      including his commanding officers.
      Max Schell plays a commanding officer who wants an Iron Cross,
      despite the fact that he a coward, and will go to the
      most treacherous lengths to get it.

      This is an upsetting and unflinching film.
      It pre-dates Saving Private Ryan by two decades,
      yet is just as detailed and frightening, just as bloody, and maybe even better.

      Anyone yet to see Cross of Iron must do so as soon as possible.
      It is one of the great war films, and an unforgettably chilling experience.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      ive loved this movie since I first watched it. Everything about the movie is top notch, the cast, the uniforms, the vehicles, the combat scenes-everything. Also, if you have both The Winds of War and War and Remembrance mini-series to watch, watch closely at some of the battle scenes that are between the germans and the Russians, and you will see that the producers of those mini-series borrowed many combat scenes from Cross of Iron.

      that said, the cast is top notch and the German Actors were also very good. this is where I became a Klaus Lowitsch fan as well as a fan of the guy who plays UFFZ Kern, and the gent who plays Herr Schnerrbart. Maximilian Schell is absolutely perfect as Captain (Hauptmann) Stransky, James Mason was great as Col Brandt, and David Warner was also perfect as Hauptmann Kiesel.

      As far as the militaria goes, the stuff shown is correct and also worn correctly. I read in one of the ""Goofs"" above that the ""Corporal"' (Obergefrieter) who was in charge of holding that truck (at the hospital) where Steiner was healing at-that his rank insignia wa that of a Senior Sergeant, that is soemthing i never noticed and will have to take alook at myself. I recall he was wearing ObGefr insignia-but will check next time I come across my DvD and watch it.

      Pic nr 1 (Stransky by the side of a truck) was when the Captain first came to take over the command of his company. Steiner has just returned back from patrol where he captured that Russian boy.

      Pic Nr 2) Was where he was being interviewed by Oberst Brandt and Hauptmann Kiesel and was after that combat action where Leutnant Meier was bayonetted and also where Steiner got his severe head wounds.

      Pic Nr 3) Steiner and Herr Mustache's return from hospital and were being greeted by Kern.

      The ""Goof"' part about the Russian "Tommyguns" being used by the Germans and allegedly "rechambered" to use the 9mM round is not exactly true. True they did rechameber a few tommyguns but mostly they used captured Russian ammo. If I have the chance soemtime soon? ill dig out my copy of; Island of Fire and a couple other books about the Russian Front, and can place here what the Germans themselves had said about using captured Russian weaponry. Mainly they used them because they were better and more rugged SMGs than their own MP-40s.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

      The post was edited 1 time, last by The Ringo Kid ().

    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      Thank YOU Keith, for posting these for me ;-)) Now I am finally beginning to feel like im able to contribute something useful to this site by having some of my stills posted ;-))

      The first still is of Colonel Brandt (James Mason) and this is after Stranskys replacement took command of his Company and Brandt is giving his Company Commanders the speech where they will regain their lost ground and push the Russians back to Moscow.

      Still 2 is of Sergeant Steiner (James Coburn) and he and a few others ar eposing as captured Germans who are taken to Russian lines trying to make the Russians tink that the soldiers "guarding" these "PWs" lost their way when they are really trying to lead them all through the fluid Russian front lines.

      These are the first Cross of Iron stills I have seen for sale in a long long time so is why I snagged these while I could.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      I forgot to mention that the character of Sergeant Steiner is actually based on a real person who was a Knights Cross Recipient and who did fight on the Eastern Front. I forget his name but can get it if I remember to do so? in a day or two.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      A bit of info on the "Real" Sgt Steiner.

      His name was Johann Schwerdfeger, and he was a recipient of the Kinghts Cross may 17-43 and the 474th soldier to get the Oaks on: May14th 1944.

      Born in Nov 24 1914, was in the military serving in Inf Rgmt 85 from 1935-1937. He participated in the invasions of Poland and the Soviet Union. as a trooper in: 3rd Battalion Inf Rgmt 186 of the 73rd Inf Div.

      In the Summer of 1942 was in Jager Replacement Battalion 75 for the 228th Jager Regiment of the 101st Jager Division. Some of the battles he was in in the Eastern Front include: Charkow, Isjum, Kupjansk and the battles along the Don River Basin Area, Kamenz-Poldolsk the "Hube Kessel" was wounded on: May 14th 1944 as an Oberfeldwebel (Master Sergeant) and Platoon Leader in: 1st Btn Jgr Rgmt 228 of the 101st Jager Division. He was wounded on May 14th 1944-recievving the Gold Wound Badge-which means he was wounded previously and then no less than five times.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

      The post was edited 1 time, last by The Ringo Kid ().

    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      :blow::blow:Hi All,
      Ths film along with "Zulu" was used as motivational material during my basic training in the Australian Army. I must admit that both films made an impression on me. I thoroughly enjoyed James Coburn, James Mason and Maximilian Schell in their roles. Personally I don't think others would have got the chemistry that was there between the three of them.
      RACMP - For the troops With the troops
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Cross of Iron (1977)

      Redcap wrote:

      :blow::blow:Hi All,
      Ths film along with "Zulu" was used as motivational material during my basic training in the Australian Army. I must admit that both films made an impression on me. I thoroughly enjoyed James Coburn, James Mason and Maximilian Schell in their roles. Personally I don't think others would have got the chemistry that was there between the three of them.

      Hi Red, glad to see you back here. I feel the same way about the actors in Cross of Iron. The movie as a whole is simply unbeatable.

      Oh and, thatnks to a very Generous Gent-he sent me as a B-day gift, a few of his Cross of Iron stills. I have these already on CD and if you would like them? please let me know. I think all told thaere are about 84 or so stills on the newest CD made.

      Take care--Carl.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..