The cinematography amazes me yet again. The scene introducing Blithe is truly amazing – the camera is above him, then smoothly curves down to his side and settles into normal position at eye level. Breathtaking!
Continuing along this character, Albert Blithe is really developed in this episode. He is so innocent and childlike – his face, a picture of fright and timidity. We follow him terrified at Carentan to his night in a foxhole, where he hears the incident of friendly fire I was so anticipating on the screen. And then we see him in the great firefight against the sudden influx of Germans tanks. <spoiler following> We go into his viewpoint, feel the world blur away, and hear Winters’ encouragement and orders to fire. Blithe’s eyes flicker and he takes a shot. And another. “Let ‘em have it,” Winters says, and at the end of the battle, Blithe takes out a single German by a tree. When the battle dies away, he walks up to the German and picks out the Edelweiss flower from his uniform, the flower that indicates bravery and soldiership to Germans. It was a story of courage and growth, his own Red Badge of Courage. After this, we see him as the only one to volunteer for a scouting patrol. <spoiler ends>
Nixon’s character is sparkling whenever I see it. Such the easy-going guy. “You’re still carrying that reserve chute?” he asks Welsh. “For Kitty, so she can make a wedding dress when I get to England.
Nixon: “I’d never have guessed.”
“What? That I’m sentimental?”
“No,” Nixon says with a casual smile, “That you think we’ll make it back to England.”
And Lt Winters is again so very, very nice. There was a human side to him when he got hurt by shrapnel after the Carentan battle. The battle against the tanks was so terribly engaging – so rich in emotions. I was horrified by truly terrible, horrible deaths one minute, awfully frightened by the surprise German tanks the next, carried along with the gunfire, snapping screenshots as if I were manning a gun, then awesomely relieved right along with the men of Easy when English Sherman tanks peeked over the hill. “Oh you beautiful babies!” Welsh cries out and I laugh with him in terrified relief.
And the way they showed the names of who died… The wonders of storytelling are very prominent in this episode. I am moved and touched. I love how they didn’t dwell on their rest time in England. I was just enough to give us a breather in the pacing.