Kings Go Forth


Action / Drama / Romance / War


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January 25, 2016 at 03:11 PM



Natalie Wood as Monique Blair
Frank Sinatra as 1st Lt. Sam Loggins
Tony Curtis as Cpl. Britt Harris
Karl Swenson as The Colonel
720p 1080p
774.67 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 49 min
P/S 2 / 2
1.64 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 49 min
P/S 7 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

The Great Champagne Offensive

Kings Go Forth is one of, maybe the only, film about the Allied offensive in Southern France in late summer of 1944. Several divisions who were fighting in Italy under Mark Clark were sent to invade France from the south. The action as compared to the larger shows movie east from Normandy and north up the Italian peninsula was light as the Germans were retreating to protect their own borders. It was called the champagne offensive because it was as you see it with Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis, fighting one minute, and on a weekend pass the next.

Frank Sinatra narrates the story with him as one of the protagonists. He's an army lieutenant and he's just gotten some replacements for his company, one of them being Tony Curtis. Curtis is a spoiled rich kid, a real smooth operator. But he turns out to be a good soldier and he and Sinatra become friends despite Sinatra being an officer and Curtis non-com.

Then the two of them get interested in the same girl, Natalie Wood. She's an American expatriate living with her widowed mother, Leora Dana. Her father was a black man and they left the United States many years before to escape ruling prejudices. Ironic that they escape to France and then France gets occupied by the real prejudice merchants.

The film is divided equally, half of it concerning the war and half of it dealing with the romantic triangle. For the second time in his career, the first being in Sweet Smell of Success, Tony Curtis plays a heel and does it well. Curtis was really coming into his own as a player and not just a pretty face. Kings Go Forth was filmed on the heels of his Oscar nominated performance in The Defiant Ones.

Frank Sinatra gives one of his best screen performances in Kings Go Forth. None of the hipster slang, not the nebbish of his forties musicals, Sinatra plays a really good man trying to deal with his own inner conflicts about what he's been brought up to believe and the feelings he has for Wood. It's something different and Sinatra does it well.

Natalie Wood was as beautiful as they come and Leora Dana as her mother who's seen too much of the world and is determined to protect her daughter has some of her best screen moments. Tony Curtis liked working with Natalie Wood very much in the films they made together, but he does mention in his autobiography it would have really been great if someone like Dorothy Dandridge had been cast in her role. It might have made Kings Go Forth better remembered today, as much as classic as Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.

Elmer Bernstein did the film score and one of the themes was given a lyric by Sammy Cahn and became the song Monique after Natalie Wood's character. Frank Sinatra made a hit record of it though it is only heard instrumentally in the film. It's one of his loveliest ballads.

Viewers should see the film before hearing Sinatra's record of it. The whole premise of the film is the plain Sinatra and the smooth Curtis competing for Wood. You hear old Blue Eyes sing Monique and you'll find it hard to believe why he didn't just sing that song.

Why Natalie would have melted right away in his arms.

Reviewed by Bob-45 7 / 10

What's Wrong With This Picture?

When I saw the previews to "Kings Go Forth" in 1958, I was excited. This looked like an important picture with big stars (Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood). That I already realized this at the age of 9 still strikes me as fairly remarkable. Later, I couldn't remember much about it after seeing it, except for its climactic battle scene. So, when it showed on Turner in 2005, I decided to watch it again. The interracial theme is certainly dated now, but this was strong stuff in 1958, particularly for someone from the South. After all, at that time southern department stores had separate restrooms for "White" and "Colored," and interracial marriage was ILLEGAL in southern states. However, the interracial theme is really not all that important to the story, as the themes of Sinatra's alienation, Wood's infatuation and Curtis' narcissism are probably elements familiar to MOST of us. Ever pine for a girl/guy friend who fell hard for someone else who was showier or better looking? I would, however, like to touch on what I believe is an unfair criticism of the film; i.e., that Natalie Wood is not convincing as someone of mixed race. Blonde, blue-eyed Cameron Diaz is Swedish and Cuban, and has said in interviews that her father's skin is black and that it is very likely her children would be.

I thought Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis were just great in this movie, as was Leora Dana as Natalie's mother. Wood never received her due as an actress and I thought her French accent was just fine. Curtis is absolutely chilling in his confrontation with Dana and Wood and it is easy to understand why Sinatra would want to kill Curtis. I think Sinatra is somewhat miscast as the "ugly duckling" who pines for Wood. After all, we've all seen too many movies where Sinatra's won the hearts of girls as pretty as Wood (if there ARE any other girls as pretty as Wood). Watching the film again, I couldn't help but wonder what Charles Bronson could have done with Sinatra's role. Nonetheless, given the potentially explosive (at that time) interracial element, it is unlikely "Kings Go Forth" would have been made without Sinatra's participation. Further, the episodic structure of "Kings Go Forth" plays against the sexual tension of a love triangle. Finally, the ending is almost annoyingly noncommittal. It shouldn't be; after all, there are enough clues as to what should eventually transpire between the principals. I think, here, the problem continues to be Sinatra. He is simply too aloof and passionless.

Given my criticisms, you may be surprised to know I really like "Kings Go Forth." I give it a "7". Oh, and for the record, the French ARE, historically, a VERY racially tolerant people. Witness "Cajuns," the French and Indian War, Josephene Baker and their acceptance of Indo-Chinese Eurasian children.

Reviewed by writers_reign 8 / 10

Nice Work If You Can Get It

There are some tasty technical credits on offer here; two fine novelists fashioned the screenplay and versatile veteran Delmer Daves, no slouch as a writer himself, was behind the camera. Southern writer Joe David Brown had three of his novels adapted for the screen beginning with Stars In My Crown and ending with Addie Pray which became Paper Moon with this one in the middle. His fine novel was altered in keeping with the climate of the times yet although the girl survives we are still denied a happy ending.

This is one of Sinatra's finest acting jobs and his understated Sam Loggins surpasses the flashier Frankie Machine of The Man With The Golden Arm because he is saddled with the thankless task of portraying basic decency, if not goodness, and not being Jack Lemon, James Stewart or Gary Cooper, all of whom personify the quality before saying a word or doing a thing, Sinatra is obliged to ACT it and makes a first rate fist of it. The Sinatra persona we know is highlighted in the opening sequence; it's 1944 and Sinatra's company are in the South of France marching to a new base camp; Paris has just been liberated and the locals are cheering the arrival of the Americans but one old lady (Maris Isnard) silently offering a drink of wine - probably all she has - is totally ignored and even Sinatra's Lieutenant Sam Loggins passes her by at first but then he pauses, walks back to her and graciously accepts a glass of wine with a smile. They exchange pleasantries then Sinatra leaves and as he does so he gently takes the bottle from her and hands her the glass. Economically the screenplay introduces the second male lead, Sergeant Britt Harris, a replacement radio technician. This is the kind of part that Tony Curtis used to phone in; a brash, arrogant, smarmy,full of himself little s**t; this time around he's rich as well, the spoiled brat who's managed to avoid any dangerous assignments and treats a world war as a glorified night club. In the fullness of time Sinatra meets Monique Blair (Natalie Wood) and is instantly smitten. The following week he meets her mother, Leora Dana, and becomes a regular guest at their large villa on every weekend pass he gets. In nothing flat both mother and daughter are so comfortable with him that they reveal that Monique's father was Black (or, as they used to say in 1958, a Negro). The stage is now set for Curtis to upset the apple cart and he duly obliges when Sinatra foolishly takes Monique into Nice for a night on the town and they stumble into a club where, lo and behold, Curtis turns out to be a dab hand with the trumpet. From then on Sinatra gets less of a look-in than he did previously until the inevitable moment when Curtis informs all concerned that he never had any intention of going through with marriage to Monique on the grounds that he is a bigot but not averse to Black tail. In the novel Monique who had led a sheltered life to say the least - her parents had deliberately moved to France for her birth and Sinatra was the first American she had ever seen - commits suicide and Sam kills Britt but in the movie Sam sees to it that Britt is killed, loses an arm himself and visits Monique for a last farewell before returning to the States; since the death of her mother (for which no explanation is offered) she has taken to running a school for orphans and that's where we leave her. There are two excellent performances from respectively Sinatra and Leora Dana, who was actually some eight years younger than Sinatra and made up to look the forty-something she was meant to be. Curtis is just Curtis, mediocre to fair and Wood is unconvincing as a girl born and raised in France. Jazz buffs are catered for in the nightclub scene where the musos include Red Norvo, Pete Candoli, Mel Lewis and Richie Kamucha but playing the kind of 'modern' jazz more representative of the 1950s - as exemplified by the Chico Hamilton combo in another Curtis movie, The Sweet Smell Of Success - than 1944. On balance a good rather than a great film but more than worth a look.

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