Film of the day: The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage

This classic anti-war film adapted from the short story by Stephen Crane loses some of its impact courtesy of concessions made to MGM in editing and production but remains a sobering and intimate tale of the moral conflict of men at war.

Directed by John Huston with Harold Rosson’s cinematography echoing the grave battlefield stills captured by Matthew B Brady during the conflict, The Red Badge of Courage follows a youth from enthusiastic blow hard through terror and self-doubt to his emergence as a confident fighting man.

Huston complained bitterly at the intervention of the studio and believed Red Badge could have been his greatest ever movie, yet in spite of MGM’s need to commercialise and put a positive spin on the story it still delivers its message and at 70 minutes is as concise and pointed as the novella it is adapted from.

Stars Audie Murphy, Bill Mauldin and Douglas Dick.

The Red Badge of Courage Monday 8.40pm TCM