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The Execution of Private Slovik 1974
Description: The storyline of Eddie Slovik, who was executed by the Units in 1945, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.
Released: 13 Mar 1974 Director: Lamont Johnson Writers: Richard Levinson (written for television by), William Link (written for television by), William Bradford Huie (based on the book by) Actors: Martin Sheen, Mariclare Costello, Ned Beatty, Gary Busey Genres: Biography, Drama
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The Execution of Private Slovik Reviews:

I read the ebook in 1970 or so when I was in the Army, I thought the film was cute well balanced. The ebook begins with Huie visiting the "Dishonored Dead" section of the US Oise-Aisne Cemetery in France where Slovik was initially buried-his remains were repatriated in 1987. The creator keeps asking why only one death sentence carried out and why Slovik, why if the purpose was to create an example of him was the execution carried out in secrecy. From there he goes into Slovik's troubled youth, his criminal record which initially protected him from the draft. But as the Drill Sergeant says him and his fellow recruits in Basic, "You guys are the bottom of the barrel. But actually the heat's one, Uncle Same needs bodies, and the bottom of that barrel is starting to look mighty good." Armies-and the governments they serve-have a funny method of lowering their standards as fights drag on. The official name of the Draft in the USA was (and is) Selective Service, by 1943 they were a lot less selective. Slovik was a nice example of what WWII GIs named "The Sad Sack" (in my day, 1967-1971, a "dud", in civilianese we might tell a loser. One poster told Slovik gambled and lost, a very apt description. He repeatedly declared he would desert if given the chance, he was given a possibility to redeem himself, he refused-I can clearly recall the stage where he says the JAG officer "I wish my court martial." Eisenhower hoped he should equal Pershing's record of no executions for desertion, but as the creator notes he had a lot of another things on his plate. The creator notes the court martial was made up of rear echelon officers, he notes the presence of some combat arms officers would have been better but they were otherwise engaged. I recall the stage where the president of the court reads the written secret ballots, realizes the vote is unanimous for death, says the others "Let's have other cigarette and think about this."Worth watching, very real to the source, this is one you watch and you draw your own conclusions.


This is a movie that will leave you crying, mad and filled with righteous indignation, as it should.Of the thousands of GI's who deserted during WW2, only one, Eddie Slovik, paid the ultimate price. His storyline is one of sheer terrible luck on an appalling scale. Having done time for a minor offence (it was Grand Theft Auto), Slovik is determined to place the past behind him and begin afresh. He gets a job, finds a wife and settles down, satisfied in the knowledge that his prison record means he's a 4F when it comes to military service. But when the units changes the guidelines and he registers as 1A, he finds himself in a case he's emotionally unable to cope with.Eddie Slovik could never have been on the front line. He was terrified of guns and at boot camp they had to hack to receive him through the rifle range. Right from the begin it was clear this was not the sort of boy any soldier would wish defending his rear, since he was incapable of doing it. Despite this, he was sent into Europe after the D-Day landings. Separated from his platoon he found a niche for himself as a forager for a Canadian unit and there, frankly, he could have stayed. When ordered back to his own unit, which was on the front line, he deserted, having made his case plain. It's a downhill run from there.The movie uses current letters written by Slovik and comments from folks who knew him to fill out the background of this tragic story. Sheer terrible timing, combined with a belief that no one would see the sentence through (since it had never been down before) contributes to the film's heartbreaking conclusion.Martin Sheen's performance is stunning. He manages to capture the pathos, fear, confusion and final terrified resignation of the boy in the face of the inevitable. Slovik is the victim of fate and circumstance; the tiny guy, fully unprepared for the globe in which he finds himself, more than willing to apply those skills he does possess to the fight effort, but incapable of fulfilling what the units demands of him. While you can appreciate the army's need to create a point, you are left with the unalterable conclusion that here they picked the wrong man.This movie left me feeling extremely angry, and it's a rare one that does that. It also made me wish to search out more about the circumstances surrounding the happenings and I was pleasantly surprised to search the film, by and large, stuck to historical fact.Highly recommended.


I was there when Slovik was murdered. I heard very several GIs condemning Slovik. Eisenhower received universal criticism for his cowardly decision. Making an example of someone seldom has the desired effect. I was a M/Sgt but saw the dire consequences of Commisioned Officers' decisions costing many lives unnecessarily. None of them were ever court martialled for that.. Slovik's not fighting cost less lives than Officers' mistakes. I test to remember only the Nice things of that Fight as several as they are. I watched the film only a short while and it brought back so many terrible memories I couldn't watch the rest. Since then, I don't watch fight movies, the True thing can never be portrayed via the Media.



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