- 1. War began between
Germany and France on August 3, 1 91 4.
- 2. Five weeks later,
the German army had smashed its way...
- 3. to within 18 miles of Paris.
- 4. There, the battered French miraculously
rallied their forces at the Marne River...
- 5. - and in a series
of uneXpected counterattacks —
- Detail, halt!
- 6. - drove the Germans back.
- 7. The front was stabilized...
- 8. then shortly afterwards developed
into a continuous line...
- 9. of heavily fortified trenches...
- 10. zigzagging their way 500 miles...
- 11. from the English Channel
to the Swiss frontier.
- 12. By 1 91 6, after two grislyyears
- 13. the battle lines had changed very little.
- 14. Successful attacks were measured
in hundreds ofyards...
- 15. and paid for in lives
by hundreds ofthousands.
- 16. General Broulard, sir.
- 17. - Hello, George. How are you?
- 18. Paul, wonderful seeing you again.
- 19. Well, this is splendid. It's superb.
- 20. It's grand, very grand.
- 21. Well, I've tried to create
a pleasant atmosphere in which to work.
- 22. Well, you've succeeded marvelously.
I wish I had your taste in carpets —
- 23. - Oh!
- and pictures.
- 24. You're much too kind, George.
Much too kind.
- 25. - Sit down, George.
- 26. I really haven't done very much. The place
is much the same as it was when I moved in.
- 27. Paul, I've come to see you
about something big.
- 28. It's top secret and must go no further
than your chiefofstaff...
- 29. and not to him
unless you can trust his discretion.
- 30. Ofcourse.
- 31. A group ofarmies is forming on this front
for an offensive very soon.
- 32. Headquarters is determined
to make a complete breakthrough.
- 33. - Why are you smiling?
- I'm really sorry.
- 34. I thought forjust a moment I knew
what you were going to say. Please go on.
- 35. I never knew you were a mind reader.
What did you think I was about to say?
- 36. - Something about the "Anthill."
- You are a mind reader.
- 37. Well, it is a key position.
It's in my sector.
- 38. To be perfectly honest,
I've heard some talk.
- 39. You know, there's nothing really secret
- 40. - Well, what do you think?
- It's the key to the whole
German position in this sector.
- 41. They've held on to it for a year now...
- 42. and it looks as though they'll hold on to it
for anotheryear ifthey want to.
- 43. Paul, I have formal orders
to take the Anthill no later than the 10th.
- 44. - That's the day after tomorrow.
- That comes pretty close
to being ridiculous, don't you think?
- 45. I don't imagine I'd be here
if I really thought that.
- 46. Paul, ifthere's one man
in this army who can do this for me, it's you.
- 47. It's out ofthe question, George.
Absolutely out ofthe question.
- 48. My division was cut to pieces.
- 49. What's left of it is in no position
to even hold the Anthill, let alone take it.
- 50. I'm sorry, but that's the truth.
- 51. Well, Paul, there was something else
I wanted to tell you.
- 52. However, I'm sure that you'll misunderstand
my motives in mentioning it.
- 53. - What was it?
- 54. You'd be bound to misunderstand.
- 55. However, as your friend,
maybe I should tell you.
- 56. What are you trying to say, George?
- 57. Paul, talk around headquarters is that you
are being considered for the 12th Corps.
- 58. - The 12th Corps?
- Yes, and with that, another star.
- 59. Now, I've pushed it all I can.
- 60. The 12th Corps needs a fighting general,
and you're overdue on that star.
- 61. Now, we both know
that your record is good enough...
- 62. foryou to refuse this assignment
on the grounds you've stated.
- 63. No one would question your opinion.
- 64. They'd simply get someone else
to do thejob.
- 65. So you shouldn't let this
influence your opinion, Paul.
- 66. - Oh, I'm sorry. Have a cognac?
- No, thanks, Paul, not before dinner.
- 67. George, I'm responsible
for the lives of8,000 men.
- 68. What is my ambition against that?
- 69. What is my reputation
in comparison to that?
- 70. My men come first ofall, George,
and those men know it too.
- 71. I know that they do.
- 72. You see, George, those men know
that I would never let them down.
- 73. That goes without saying.
- 74. The life ofone ofthose soldiers
means more to me...
- 75. than all the stars and decorations
and honors in France.
- 76. So...
- 77. you think this attack is absolutely beyond
the ability ofyour men at this time?
- 78. I didn't say that, George.
- 79. Nothing is beyond those men,
once their fighting spirit is aroused.
- 80. Paul, I don't want to push you into it
ifyou think it's ill-advised.
- 81. Don't worry, George.
You couldn't do that ifyou tried.
- 82. Ofcourse, artillery would make
an enormous difference.
- 83. - What artillery support can you give me?
- Well, I'll see.
- 84. What about replacements?
- 85. We'll see what we can do, but I feel sure
that you can get along with what you have.
- 86. - Mightjust do it.
- Oh, Paul.
- 87. I knew that I was right to come to you.
You are the man to take the Anthill.
- 88. - Now, as far as that star is concerned —
- That had nothing to do with my decision.
- 89. - Ifanything, it would sway me the other way.
- I realize that perfectly, Paul.
- 90. Now, when do you say
you see this coming off?
- 91. No later than the day after tomorrow.
- 92. Wejust might do it.
- 93. Hello there, soldier.
Ready to kill more Germans?
- 94. - Yes, sir.
- What's your name, soldier?
- 95. Sir, Private Ferol, Company "A."
- 96. - Uh-huh. Are you married, Private?
- No, sir.
- 97. - Well, I'll bet your mother's proud ofyou.
- Yes, sir.
- 98. - Well, carry on, Private, and good luck to you.
- 99. Yes, sir. Thankyou, sir.
- 100. - Good morning, General.
- Good morning.
- 101. Hello there, soldier.
Ready to kill more Germans?
- 102. - Yes, sir.
- Aha! Working overyour rifle, I see.
- 103. Well, that's the way.
It's a soldier's best friend.
- 104. You be good to it,
and it'll always be good to you.
- 105. Yes, sir.
- 106. Well, uh, good luck to you, soldier.
- 107. - Carry on.
- Thankyou, sir.
- 108. Hello there, soldier.
- 109. Ready to kill more Germans?
- 110. Well, is everything all right, soldier?
- 111. All right? Yes, sir, I'm all right.
- 112. Aha. Good fellow.
Are you married, soldier?
- 113. - Married? Me, married?
- 114. - Yes. Have you got a wife?
- A wife? Have I got a wife?
- 115. Sir, he's a bit shell-shocked.
- 116. I beg your pardon, Sergeant.
There is no such thing as shell shock.
- 117. - Have you got a wife, soldier?
- My wife?
- 118. My wife. Yes, I have a wife.
- 119. I'm never gonna see her again.
I'm gonna be killed.
- 120. Get a grip on yourself!
You're acting like a coward!
- 121. - I am a coward, sir.
- Snap out of it, soldier!
- 122. Sergeant, I want you to arrange
for the immediate transfer ofthis baby
out of my regiment!
- 123. I won't have other brave men
contaminated by him!
- 124. - Yes, sir.
- Carry on, Sergeant.
- 125. You were right, sir. This sort ofthing
can spread if it isn't checked.
- 126. You know, General,
I'm convinced that these tours ofyours...
- 127. have an incalculable effect
upon the morale ofthese men.
- 128. In fact, I think the fighting spirit
ofthe 701 st derives from it.
- 129. No, no, Major.
That spirit wasjust born in them.
- 130. The general is coming, sir.
- 131. - Always a pleasure to see you, Colonel.
- I'm honored, General.
- 132. It's our privilege entirely.
- 133. - Well, quite a neat little spot you have here.
- 134. I reserve comment on the neatness, sir,
but it is little.
- 135. - Pretty shy on seating
- 136. More than enough for me.
I never got the habit ofsitting.
- 137. Like to be on my feet.
Keep on the move.
- 138. I can vouch for that, Colonel.
- 139. I can hardly get the general behind a desk
long enough to sign an order.
- 140. Well, that's the way I am, you know, Dax.
- 141. I can't understand these armchair officers...
- 142. fellows trying to fight a war
from behind a desk...
- 143. waving papers at the enemy...
- 144. worrying about whether a mouse
is going to run up their pants leg.
- 145. I don't know, General. If I had the choice
between mice and Mausers...
- 146. I think I'd take the mice every time.
- 147. You'll never make me believe that, Colonel.
- 148. Seriously though, ifa man's a ninny...
- 149. let him put on a dress
and hide under the bed.
- 150. But if he wants to be a soldier,
then, by heavens, he's got to be one.
- 151. He's got to fight, and he can't do that
unless he's where the fighting is.
- 152. That's my credo.
- 153. I think I have to agree with you,
presenting your case so convincingly, sir.
- 154. And you've never failed
to live up to it, sir.
- 155. - I imagine you'd like
a look around, wouldn't you?
- Yes, Colonel.
- 156. - Well, here's something to see.
- 157. The Anthill. About as good a view
as you can get without actually being there.
- 158. Well, that won't be long now, will it?
- 159. - Ah.
- 160. Ah. Yeah.
- 161. Well, I've seen
much more formidable objectives.
- 162. Much, much worse.
- 163. Well, not something we can grab
and run away with...
- 164. but certainly pregnable.
- 165. - Sounds kind ofodd, though, doesn't it?
- 166. Well, like something to do
with giving birth.
- 167. Oh, yes. Quite. You're right
on your toes this morning, Colonel.
- 168. Even sharper than usual.
- 169. But we mustn't forget,
the colonel was perhaps the foremost
criminal lawyer in all France.
- 170. - Ofcourse, General.
- Gentlemen, you're both much too kind.
- 171. Tell me, Colonel, how did your relief
come off last night?
- 172. We drew some artillery.
Twenty-nine casualties, sir.
- 173. Yes, I noticed it on the road in.
- 174. Utterly inexcusable. Stupid.
- 175. All swarmed together like a bunch offlies,
just waiting for someone to swat 'em.
- 176. Well, they never learn, it seems.
- 177. They get in a tight spot under heavy fire,
gang up every time.
- 178. Herd instinct, I suppose.
Kind ofa lower-animal sort ofthing.
- 179. Kind ofa human sort ofthing,
it seems to me...
- 180. or don't you make a distinction
between the two, Major?
- 181. Oh, yes, uh, very regrettable, ofcourse.
Very. Yes, indeed.
- 182. Uh, Major, would you be kind enough
to excuse us for a few minutes?
- 183. Yes, sir. Ofcourse.
- 184. Colonel.
- 185. Well, Colonel, what do you think of it?
- 186. - What do I think ofwhat, sir?
- The Anthill.
- 187. Colonel, your regiment
is going to take the Anthill tomorrow.
- 188. You know the condition of my men, sir.
- 189. Oh, naturally, men are going to have to
be killed. Possibly a lot ofthem.
- 190. They absorb bullets and shrapnel...
- 191. and by doing so make it possible
for others to get through.
- 192. - What support will we have?
- I have none to give you.
- 193. What sort ofcasualties
do you anticipate, sir?
- 194. Hmm, say, five percent killed
by our own barrage.
- 195. That's a very generous allowance.
- 196. Ten percent more
in getting through no-man's-land...
- 197. and 20% more getting through the wire.
- 198. That leaves 65%
with the worst part ofthejob over.
- 199. Let's say another 25%
in actually taking the Anthill.
- 200. We're still left with a force
more than adequate to hold it.
- 201. General, you're saying that more
than halfof my men will be killed.
- 202. Yes, it's a terrible price to pay, Colonel...
- 203. but we will have the Anthill.
- 204. - But will we, sir?
- I'm depending on you, Colonel.
- 205. All France is depending on you.
- 206. Am I amusing you, Colonel?
- 207. I'm not a bull, General. I don't need a flag
waved in front of me to get me to charge.
- 208. I don't think I like your comparison
ofthe flag of France to a bullfighter's cape.
- 209. I meant nothing disrespectful
to the flag of France, sir.
- 210. Patriotism may be old-fashioned,
but show me a patriot,
and I'll show you an honest man.
- 211. Not everyone has always thought so.
- 212. SamuelJohnson had something else
to say about patriotism.
- 213. And what was that, may I ask?
- 214. - Nothing really.
- What you do mean, "Nothing really"?
- 215. Well, sir, nothing really important.
- 216. Colonel, when I ask a question,
it's always important.
- 217. - Now, who was this man?
- Samuel Johnson, sir.
- 218. All right. Now, what did he
have to say about patriotism?
- 219. He said it was the last refuge
ofa scoundrel, sir.
- 220. I'm sorry. I meant nothing personal.
- 221. You're tired, Dax. You're very tired.
- 222. It's you who are exhausted, not your men.
- 223. And it's my fault. I've given you
one impossible task after another.
- 224. - You need rest. You need it badly.
- I haven't said anything
about needing rest, sir.
- 225. And you never would either. Therefore, you're
not going to have any say-so about it, Colonel.
- 226. As from right now,
I'm ordering you on indefinite furlough.
- 227. General,
you can't take me away from my men.
You can't do that to me, sir.
- 228. Not to you, Dax. Foryou.
Foryour good and for the good ofyour men.
- 229. The good of my men, sir?
- 230. Ifa commanding officer lacks confidence,
what can we expect of his men?
- 231. Naturally, I don't want to relieve you,
but I must have your enthusiastic support.
- 232. Not once have you said
that your men can take the Anthill.
- 233. We'll take the Anthill.
- 234. Ifany soldiers in the world can take it...
- 235. we'll take the Anthill.
- 236. And when you do,
your men will be relieved and get a long rest.
- 237. Corporal Paris and Private Lejeune
- 238. - You tookyour time about it.
- We prepared as quick as we could, sir.
- 239. We had to alert the sentries.
- 240. All right. You men, at ease.
- 241. This is a reconnaissance patrol —
German wire, machine gun posts...
- 242. identification of bodies.
- 243. There will only be the three of us,
and we're to avoid a fight ifwe can.
- 244. We go out to the left, and we come back
through Post 6 on the right.
- 245. - Is everything all clear at Post 6?
- All the sentries have
been warned up to here.
- 246. Number 6 will send up flares
at 10-minute intervals starting at 0400.
- 247. - I wanted them every five minutes.
- I told them that, sir.
- 248. The sergeant says
every five minutes is too much.
He says it's certain to draw artillery.
- 249. Quite a strategist, this sergeant.
What's his name?
- 250. I don't know, sir.
- 251. All right. You men wait outside.
I'll join you in a minute.
- 252. Would you mind telling us
the password, sir?
- 253. - Calais.
- Yes, sir.
- 254. - He's fortifying himself.
- It smelled like heaven.
- 255. I can always tell when he's had a few.
He gets sarcastic.
- 256. Well, at least he could have
passed it around, the pig.
- 257. Hey, what's he got against you anyway?
- 258. We went to school together
before the war.
- 259. He thinks I don't have enough
respect for him. He's right.
- 260. Ifyou gentlemen are ready.
- 261. - Colonel.
- Everything clear and understood?
- 262. Yes, sir.
- 263. The lane through our wire
is right out in front here.
- 264. Machine guns are pointing
at the opening.
- 265. - Good luck, men.
- Thankyou, sir.
- 266. All right, men. Let's go.
- 267. - What's that?
- I don't know.
- 268. Lejeune, move out and look that over.
- 269. Split up a night patrol?
- 270. Move out, Lejeune.
- 271. - I don't like this. Let's get out of here.
- We haven't given him enough time.
- 272. - Ifwe wait any longer, they'll get us too.
- We've got to wait for him.
- 273. He must be dead. Where is he?
- 274. Roget!
- 275. - Well.
- Surprised, Lieutenant?
- 276. Yes, I am. Happily surprised.
I thought you'd been killed.
- 277. You didn't wait around to find out,
did you, Lieutenant?
- 278. Now, look here. What do you mean?
- 279. I mean, you ran like a rabbit
afteryou killed Lejeune.
- 280. Killed Lejeune?
What are you talking about?
- 281. I don't think I like your tone.
- 282. You're speaking to an officer.
- 283. Oh, well, I must be mistaken then, sir.
- 284. An officer wouldn't do that.
- 285. A man wouldn't do it.
- 286. Only a thing would.
- 287. - A sneaky, booze-guzzling,
yellow-bellied rat —
- Now —
- 288. with a bottle for a brain and a streak ofspit
where his spine ought to be.
- 289. - That's enough, Corporal!
- You've got yourself into a mess, Lieutenant.
- 290. Oh, I have, have I?
Well, you've got yourself in a worse one.
- 291. First, general insubordination.
Second, threatening your superior officer.
- 292. Third, refusing to obey an order
and inciting others to do the same.
- 293. Now, how do you think those charges
are gonna look on paper?
- 294. Not halfas bad as these.
- 295. Endangering the lives ofyour men
- 296. Drunk on duty.
- 297. Wanton murder ofone ofyour own men...
- 298. and cowardice in the face ofthe enemy.
- 299. Philippe, have you ever tried to bring charges
against an officer?
- 300. It's my word against yours, you know.
- 301. And whose word do you think
they're gonna believe?
- 302. Or l-let me put it another way.
- 303. Whose word do you think
they're going to accept?
- 304. Now, I'll tell you what I'm willing to do.
- 305. So far, all I have written in this report...
- 306. is that you and Lejeune
were killed while out on patrol.
- 307. I'll fix this to read
that you made your way back...
- 308. after becoming separated
during the skirmish.
- 309. - That'll end the matter once and for all.
- You killed Lejeune.
You know that, don't you?
- 310. - I'm sorry. It was an accident.
- You threw that grenade and killed him.
- 311. I'd give anything in the world if it hadn't
have happened, and that's the truth.
- 312. Honestly, I know you don't like me,
but what kind ofa man do you think I am?
- 313. - Oh, good morning, Colonel.
- At ease, men.
- 314. I've been waiting foryour report,
- 315. Well, I think we found out
a thing or two.
- 316. - Everything go well?
- No, sir. Private Lejeune was killed.
- 317. - How'd it happen?
- It's all right here in the report, sir.
- 318. - Well, let's have it.
- Oh, it isn't quite finished yet, sir.
- 319. That's all, Corporal.
You did a good night's work.
- 320. Should feel very proud ofyourself.
Go get some sleep.
- 321. Yes, sir.
- 322. - How'd you lose Lejeune?
- Machine gun fire, sir.
- 323. He coughed.
Almost got us all killed.
- 324. Finish that report
and get it to my dugout immediately.
- 325. Yes, sir.
- 326. The artillery starts at 0515.
- 327. First Battalion will move out at 0530.
- 328. When the leading elements
have cleared the German wires...
- 329. the second wave, consisting of
the Second and Third Battalions —
- 330. minus two companies in reserve —
will move out...
- 331. in no case later than 0540.
- 332. Well, that's it, gentlemen.
Are there any questions?
- 333. Sir, is 15 minutes ofartillery preparation
all that we can expect?
- 334. The feeling is that any more than that will
give them too much time to get organized.
- 335. What's weather supposed to be like
- 336. Too good.
- 337. No chance of rain or fog?
- 338. The forecast is for sun all day.
- 339. If, uh — Perhaps I should say
when we take the Anthill...
- 340. how long do we have to hold it
before we can expect any support?
- 341. Well, General Mireau, who, by the way,
will be personally observing the attack...
- 342. has promised us support from the 72nd
by sundown tomorrow...
- 343. which means, ofcourse,
that we'll have to hold all day.
- 344. Are there any more questions?
- 345. Well, gentlemen, good luck, and I'm sure
you'll come through as you always do.
- 346. Let's get some sleep.
- 347. I'm not afraid
ofdying tomorrow, only ofgetting killed.
- 348. That's as clear as mud.
- 349. Which would you rather be done in by,
a bayonet or a machine gun?
- 350. - Oh, a machine gun, naturally.
- Naturally. That'sjust my point.
- 351. They're both pieces ofsteel
ripping into your guts.
- 352. Only the machine gun is quicker,
cleaner and less painful, isn't it?
- 353. What does that prove?
- 354. That proves that most of us are more afraid
of getting hurt than of getting killed.
- 355. Look at Bernard.
- 356. He panics when it comes to gas,
but gas doesn't bother me a bit.
- 357. He's seen photos of gas cases.
Doesn't mean anything to me.
- 358. But I'll tell you something though — I'd hate
like the devil to be without my tin hat.
- 359. But on the other hand, I don't mind
not having a tin hat for my tail.
- 360. - Why's that?
- You ought to. That's where your brains are.
- 361. Because I know a wound to the head
will hurt much more than one in the tail.
- 362. The tail isjust meat,
but the head — ah, the head is all bone.
- 363. - Ah, speak foryourself.
- Tell me this.
- 364. Aside from the bayonet,
what are you most afraid of?
- 365. - High explosives.
- Exactly! And it's the same with me.
- 366. Because — Because I know that it can
chew you up worse than anything else.
- 367. Look, it'sjust like I'm trying to tell you.
- 368. Ifyou're really afraid ofdying, you'd be
living in a funk all the rest ofyour life...
- 369. because you know you've got
to go someday, any day.
- 370. And besides, if it's death
that you're really afraid of...
- 371. why should you care about
what it is that kills you?
- 372. Ah, you're too smart for me, Professor.
All I know is nobody wants to die.
- 373. Through to Division, sir. Through to Polygon.
- 374. Everything quiet.
All units report themselves ready.
- 375. Zero-minus two.
- 376. May I offeryou gentlemen some cognac?
- 377. - Thank you, General.
- Thank you, sir.
- 378. - Afteryou, sir.
- 379. To France.
- 380. Minus 1 5, 1 4...
- 381. 1 3, 1 2...
- 382. 1 1, 1 0...
- 383. nine, eight, seven...
- 384. six, five, four...
- 385. three, two, one...
- 386. - zero!
- 387. - Sergeant, where's "B" Company?
- I don't know, sir.
- 388. - Where in heaven's name are they?
- On the left, sir.
- 389. Where are the rest?
- 390. Zero-plus one, and they're still
in the trenches. They're not advancing.
- 391. - Yes, sir.
- Miserable cowards. They're not advancing!
- 392. The barrage is getting away from them!
They're still in the trenches!
- 393. Yes, sir.
- 394. - Captain Nichols.
- Yes, sir?
- 395. Order the 75s to commence firing
on our own positions.
- 396. Captain, do you fail to comprehend
the meaning of my order?
- 397. No, sir, but I respectfully ask to —
- 398. Captain, do you fail to comprehend
the meaning of my order?
- 399. - No, sir.
- Then carry it out, Captain.
- 400. Yes, sir.
- 401. Hello, Polygon. This is Division.
- 402. Batteries 1 and 2 commence firing...
- 403. on coordinates 32-58-78.
- 404. Batteries 1 and 2 to commence firing...
- 405. on coordinates 32-58-78. Over.
- 406. General, the battery commander reports
those are our own positions.
- 407. - He says it must be a mistake.
- Confirm the order, Captain.
- 408. Yes, sir. There is no mistake.
The order is confirmed.
- 409. Battery commander respectfully reports
he cannot execute such an order...
- 410. unless it is in writing
and signed by the general. Over.
- 411. General, battery commander respectfully
reports he cannot execute such an order...
- 412. unless it is in writing
and signed by the general.
- 413. - Give me that phone!
- Yes, sir.
- 414. - General Mireau speaking!
- Battery commander speaking, sir.
- 415. The troops are mutinying,
refusing to advance.
- 416. Fire as ordered until further notice!
- 417. With all respect, sir, you have no right
to order me to shoot down my own men...
- 418. unless you are willing to take full
and undivided responsibility for it.
- 419. Captain Rousseau,
are you going to obey my order?
- 420. I must have a written order
before I can execute such a command, sir.
- 421. Supposing you're killed.
Then where will I be?
- 422. You'll be in front ofa firing squad
tomorrow morning! That's where you'll be!
- 423. Hand overyour command and report yourself
under arrest to my headquarters!
- 424. Roget!
- 425. Lieutenant Roget!
Why are your men still in here?
- 426. It was impossible, sir.
Major Vignon is dead.
- 427. Get these men out ofthe trenches!
- 428. Let's get ready for another try!
Get these men out of here!
- 429. I've tried three times.
Look at all the casualties.
- 430. All right! Let's give it another try!
- 431. Come on! Let's give it another try!
- 432. It's impossible, sir.
All the men are falling back.
- 433. Sir, I respectfully submit to the colonel —
- 434. Pardon, your remarks to me
were very unfair, sir.
- 435. It'sjust impossible! It'sjust impossible.
- 436. General, according to first reports,
the attack has failed all along the line.
- 437. The men are falling back to our own trenches.
- 438. Major Saint-Auban, arrange for
the immediate reliefofthe 701 st Regiment.
- 439. Have them sent to the Chateau d'Aigle.
Have Colonel Dax report to my headquarters.
- 440. - Yes, sir.
- Major Couderc, assemble
a general court-martial.
- 441. Have it ready to meet
at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon.
- 442. Ifthose little sweethearts won't face
German bullets, they'll face French ones!
- 443. I ordered an attack.
- 444. Your troops refused to attack.
- 445. Our troops did attack, sir,
but they could make no headway.
- 446. Because they didn't try, Colonel.
I saw it myself.
- 447. Halfofyour men never left the trenches.
- 448. A third of my men were pinned down
because the fire was so intense.
- 449. Don't quibble over fractions, Colonel.
- 450. The fact remains that a good part ofyour men
never left their own trenches.
- 451. Colonel Dax, I'm going to have 10 men
from each company in your regiment...
- 452. tried under penalty ofdeath for cowardice.
- 453. - Penalty ofdeath?
- For cowardice!
- 454. They have skimmed milk in their veins
instead of blood.
- 455. Then it's the reddest milk I've ever seen.
My trenches are soaked
with that red skimmed milk.
- 456. - That'sjust about enough out ofyou, Colonel!
- I'm not gonna mince words
and stand on protocol —
- 457. Colonel DaX, ifyou continue in this manner,
I shall have to place you under arrest.
- 458. I believe the colonel has a point,
even though he makes it rather bluntly.
- 459. This is not a trial,
but it does bear certain aspects ofone.
- 460. And Colonel DaX, technically,
is cast in the role ofthe defense.
- 461. In view ofthe gravity ofthe charges...
- 462. a court of law would grant him
all possible latitude in presenting his case.
- 463. Latitude is one thing.
- 464. I am merely offering an opinion, General.
Please do not feel constrained to accept it.
- 465. I am perfectly willing to accept it,
- 466. I'm sorry, sir.
I certainly didn't intend to be insubordinate.
- 467. My only aim is to remind you
ofthe heroism these men have shown...
- 468. on every occasion in the past.
- 469. We're not talking about the past.
We're talking about the present.
- 470. But don't you see, sir?
They're not cowards.
- 471. So ifsome ofthem didn't leave the trenches,
it must have been because it was impossible.
- 472. They were ordered to attack.
It was their duty to obey that order.
- 473. We can't leave it up to the men
to decide when an order is possible or not.
- 474. If it was impossible,
the only proofofthat...
- 475. would be their dead bodies
lying at the bottom ofthe trenches.
- 476. They're scum, Colonel.
- 477. The whole rotten regiment —
- 478. a pack ofsneaking, whining,
- 479. - Do you really believe that, sir?
- Yes, I do. That's exactly what I believe.
- 480. And what's more,
it's an incontestable fact.
- 481. - Then why not shoot the entire regiment?
- 482. - I'm perfectly serious.
- Now, Colonel, you're missing
the point entirely.
- 483. We don't want to slaughter the French army.
All we want to do is to set an example.
- 484. Oh, well, if it's an example you want,
then take me.
- 485. - Take you?
- Yes, sir, if it's an eXample you want...
- 486. one man will do as well as a hundred.
- 487. The logical choice is the officer
most responsible for the attack.
- 488. Come now, Colonel.
I thinkyou're overwrought.
- 489. This is not a question ofofficers.
- 490. Paul, we don't want to overdo this thing.
- 491. Suppose wejust make it a dozen.
- 492. I was talking ofa hundred men,
and now we're down to 12.
- 493. Paul, let's not haggle over this thing anymore!
- 494. Let's get it settled once and for all
so that we can all live with it.
- 495. Well, perhaps I was a bit too anxious
to see properjustice meted out.
- 496. I've spent my entire life in the army.
- 497. I've always tried to be true to my principles.
- 498. That's the only mistake
I can ever be accused of.
- 499. I'll settle for this —
- 500. have the company commanders
select one man from each company
in the first wave...
- 501. three in all.
- 502. Well, that's very reasonable ofyou, Paul.
- 503. The court-martial will meet
at the chateau at 3:00 this afternoon.
- 504. - Will that be convenient foryou, General?
- I won't be there, Paul.
- 505. You won't be there?
- 506. No, I think it best
that you handle this matter on your own.
- 507. - Probably so.
- General Mireau.
- 508. If it's at all possible, I'd like
to be appointed counsel for the accused.
- 509. I'll take the matter into consideration.
- 510. I think we can permit that, can't we, Paul?
Ofcourse we can.
- 511. - Consider it settled, Colonel.
- Thankyou, sir.
- 512. Well, noon straight up, Paul.
- 513. I hope that you can stay
for lunch, Colonel.
- 514. George, I'm afraid the colonel
won't have time.
- 515. Don't deny it, Paul. You've been hiding
this man, keeping him foryour own.
- 516. I think that was very selfish ofyou.
- 517. Thankyou foryour courtesy, General,
but I'm afraid there isn't much time
between now and 3:00.
- 518. Ofcourse, Colonel. I shall look forward
to the pleasure ofseeing you again.
- 519. - Yes, Captain? What is it?
- You ordered me to report to you here, sir.
- 520. - Captain Rousseau, battery commander, sir.
- Yes, yes, ofcourse.
- 521. I wanted to speak to you
about some ofyour shells falling short.
- 522. I haven't time to go into it now.
- 523. Report back to your command
until further orders.
- 524. - Yes, sir.
- 525. - Bad stuff. Demoralizes the men.
- I quite agree with you.
- 526. And the best solution
is to shelve him to another outfit.
- 527. A court of inquiry
ought to roast him a bit first.
- 528. Well, in cases like this —
shells falling short —
- 529. I — I always try to avoid an inquiry.
- 530. It gets around among the men
and makes a bad impression.
- 531. No, shelving will be the best discipline
for him, in my opinion.
- 532. - Well, perhaps you're right.
- Oh, uh, would you excuse me for a moment?
- 533. A regimental matter
I want to mention to the colonel.
- 534. - I'll join you in the dining room.
- Splendid. In a moment.
- 535. That will be Captain Sancy,
Captain Renouart and Lieutenant Roget.
- 536. - Yes, sir.
- Have them meet me at regimental
headquarters in halfan hour.
- 537. - Yes, sir.
- Colonel Dax.
- 538. - Yes, sir.
- I'd like a word with you.
- 539. Certainly, sir.
- 540. Let's be sensible about this.
- 541. Sensible, sir?
- 542. Listen to me, Dax.
- 543. Drop this fancy talk with me, understand?
- 544. General Broulard seems to think
you're funny. I don't.
- 545. - Now, I want you to drop this affair.
- I beg your pardon, sir. Is that an order?
- 546. Colonel Dax, when this mess is cleaned up,
I'll break you.
- 547. I'll find an excuse
and I'll breakyou to the ranks. I'll ruin you.
- 548. And it'll bejust what you deserve...
- 549. showing such little loyalty
to your commanding officer.
- 550. That's all, Colonel.
- 551. Detail, halt!
- 552. General Mireau feels that the attack
on the Anthill yesterday morning failed...
- 553. because ofan inadequate effort
on the part ofthe First Battalion.
- 554. Each ofyou is to select
one man from your company...
- 555. place him under arrest and have him ready
to appear before a general court-martial...
- 556. no later than 1500 hours this afternoon.
- 557. The charge is cowardice
in the face ofthe enemy.
- 558. You have your orders, gentlemen.
Let's carry them out.
- 559. But Lieutenant Roget
killed Lejeune on that patrol...
- 560. and then blackmailed me
into keeping quiet about the whole thing!
- 561. - That's why he picked me.
- Corporal, I understand your feelings.
- 562. But that story has nothing to do
with the charges you're being tried for.
- 563. - Don't you believe me, sir?
- Yes, I do, but who else will?
- 564. You've got no witnesses.
- 565. Besides, such charges against an officer
would only antagonize the court.
- 566. When we get clear ofthis,
I'm going into the story ofthat patrol again.
- 567. Sir, in my case, Captain Renouart
had the sergeant draw lots.
- 568. I was picked purely by chance.
- 569. You're lucky. Look at me.
- 570. I wasjust picked because Captain Sancy
said I was a social undesirable.
- 571. Me, a social undesirable, Colonel.
- 572. - I didn't act like a coward.
Picking by lots — is that fair?
- Neither did I! Major Vignon —
- 573. Gentlemen! You've all
got to understand that the reason
you were picked is immaterial.
- 574. Whatever the reason,
you're on trial foryour lives.
- 575. Stick to the stories you've told me...
- 576. and don't let the prosecutor
shake you out ofthem.
- 577. Now remember, you'll be soldiers
in the presence ofsuperior officers.
- 578. So act like what you are — soldiers.
- 579. And brave ones at that.
- 580. Now, I've been in the room
you'll be sitting in.
- 581. The afternoon sun will be in your faces...
- 582. so don't let it seem as ifyou're
dropping your eyes in a hangdog manner.
- 583. When you answer questions,
look thejudges in the eye.
- 584. Don't whine, plead or make speeches.
- 585. Simple statements — short...
- 586. but make them so they can be heard
all over the room.
- 587. And try not to repeat yourselves.
- 588. I'll do that foryou when I sum up.
- 589. Now, we haven't much time.
- 590. The court-martial begins in about an hour,
and I've got notes to look at.
- 591. Good luck.
- 592. - Thankyou, sir.
- Colonel, sir.
- 593. On the left, ho!
- 594. Detail, halt!
- 595. Prisoners, right heel!
- 596. On the left, ho!
- 597. Left face!
- 598. The court-martial is open.
The prisoners may be seated.
- 599. This is a general court-martial.
- 600. We shall therefore dispense
with unnecessary formalities.
- 601. These men are charged
with cowardice in the face ofthe enemy...
- 602. and will be tried for that offense.
- 603. - Mr. Prosecutor.
- Call the accused — Private Ferol.
- 604. Mr. President.
- 605. Will the prosecutor question the witnesses
without even reading the indictment?
- 606. Please don't take up the court's time
- 607. The indictment is lengthy,
and there's no point in reading it.
- 608. The defense has a right to know
the exact accusations —
- 609. The indictment is that the accused showed
cowardice in the face ofthe enemy...
- 610. during the attack on the Anthill.
- 611. Proceed, Mr. Prosecutor.
- 612. Call the accused — Private Ferol.
- 613. - Private Ferol.
- Yes, sir?
- 614. Were you in the first wave
during the attack on the Anthill?
- 615. Yes, sir.
- 616. - Did you refuse to advance?
- No, sir.
- 617. - Did you advance?
- Yes, sir.
- 618. How far did you advance?
- 619. To about the middle
of no-man's-land, sir.
- 620. Then what did you do?
- 621. There were machine-gun bullets
landing all around.
- 622. Answer the question.
What did you do?
- 623. Well, I saw that me and Meyer, sir —
- 624. I didn't ask you what you saw.
- 625. The court has no concern
with your... visual experiences.
- 626. - My what, sir?
- Prisoner will reply to the question.
- 627. Yes, sir. What question was it?
- 628. You advanced to the middle of
no-man's-land. What did you do then?
- 629. - Then, sir?
- Did you go back or forward?
- 630. I went back, sir.
- 631. In other words, Private Ferol,
- 632. Yes, sir.
- 633. That's all.
The accused may return to his seat.
- 634. Just a minute.
- 635. Mr. President, I'd like
to question the witness if I may.
- 636. - Proceed, Colonel.
- Thank you.
- 637. Now, Private Ferol, when you reached
the middle of no-man's-land...
- 638. - were you alone with Private Meyer?
- Yes, sir.
- 639. Well, what happened to the rest
- 640. Well, I don't know, sir.
- 641. I guess the rest ofthem
had been killed or wounded.
- 642. And you found yourself in the middle
of no-man's-land alone with Private Meyer.
- 643. Yes, sir.
- 644. Why didn't you attack the Anthill
- 645. Why didn't you storm the Anthill alone?
- 646. Just me and Meyer?
You're kidding, sir.
- 647. Yes, I'm kidding, Private Ferol.
- 648. Thankyou. That's all.
- 649. I don't see the point
ofthis line ofquestioning.
- 650. Well, I'm attempting to indicate, sir...
- 651. the utter absurdity ofthe line ofquestioning
used by the prosecutor.
- 652. Mr. Prosecutor.
- 653. So you freely admit, Private Ferol,
that you retreated.
- 654. Yes, sir. Me and Meyer both.
- 655. I knew we should've took Anthill,
but we came on back.
- 656. That's all.
- 657. The accused may return to his seat.
- 658. Private Arnaud, did you advance?
- 659. Yes, sir, until I was ordered
back to the trenches by Captain Renouart.
- 660. How far did you advance?
- 661. Into the wire, sir.
- 662. The, uh, enemy wire, I suppose.
- 663. No, sir. It was our wire.
- 664. You mean to tell me that you didn't
advance any further than our wire?
- 665. No, sir, I didn't.
- 666. How far would you say that was?
How many meters?
- 667. Well, I advanced as far as I could.
- 668. How many meters?
- 669. Not many.
- 670. "Not many."
- 671. Now, Private Arnaud,
before you were ordered back...
- 672. did you urge your fellow soldiers forward?
- 673. Most ofthem were dead or wounded before
they got three steps beyond the trenches.
- 674. Reply to the question.
- 675. I didn't urge them on. No, sir.
- 676. Thankyou.
- 677. Private Arnaud —
- 678. At ease, please.
- 679. Aside from your sad failure to give throat
to spirited battle cries...
- 680. was your behavior different in any respect
from that ofthe other men in your company?
- 681. Objection. That's a matter ofconjecture.
- 682. Sustained.
- 683. Did any men in your company
get beyond our wire?
- 684. No, sir.
- 685. Is it true that you've been
designated a coward...
- 686. simply and purely because you drew
a slip of paper marked "X"?
- 687. - Yes, sir.
- I don't see that that's significant.
- 688. It's accepted practice in the French army
to pick examples by lot.
- 689. And since this entire company
advanced only a few meters...
- 690. picking by lot
was eminently fair in this case.
- 691. Well, I'd like to point out that this soldier
has distinguished himself...
- 692. in some ofthe bloodiest battles
- 693. With the court's permission...
- 694. I'll read citations for bravery
that he's already earned on two occasions.
- 695. First, citations in the Orders in the Army
for bravery —
- 696. That's immaterial, Colonel.
- 697. The accused is not being tried
for his former bravery...
- 698. but for his recent cowardice.
- 699. Medals are no defense.
- 700. May I call witnesses to his character?
- 701. You may not.
- 702. But you may call witnesses to the effect
that he reached the German wire.
- 703. Mr. President,
no one in the entire regiment...
- 704. got anywhere near the German wire,
- 705. Call the next accused...
- 706. ifyou're through, Colonel.
- 707. Thankyou.
- 708. Prisoner may return to his seat.
- 709. So you never even left the trenches.
- 710. - No, sir.
- That's all.
- 711. Corporal Paris,
why didn't you leave the trenches?
- 712. Major Vignon was shot, and he fell back
on top of me, sir, and knocked me cold.
- 713. And were you lying unconscious
in the trenches during the entire attack?
- 714. Yes, sir.
- 715. That's all.
- 716. Have you any witnesses to that?
- 717. No, sir. I guess everybody
was too busy to notice me.
- 718. And there were so many others
lying dead anyway.
- 719. - But you have no witnesses.
- No, sir.
- 720. I only have a rather large cut
on my head, sir.
- 721. That could have been self-inflicted later.
- 722. - Thank you. You may stand down.
- 723. Mr. Prosecutor,
you can make your plea now.
- 724. Gentlemen ofthe court...
- 725. this case speaks for itself.
- 726. All of us witnessed
the regrettable attackyesterday morning.
- 727. And I submit that that attack...
- 728. was a stain on the flag of France...
- 729. a blot on the honor...
- 730. ofevery man, woman and child
in the French nation.
- 731. It is to us that the sad, distressing...
- 732. repellant duty falls, gentlemen.
- 733. I ask this court
to find the accused guilty...
- 734. and impose the penalties prescribed
by the Code of MilitaryJustice.
- 735. Thankyou, Mr. Prosecutor.
- 736. Colonel, would you like
to make your plea?
- 737. Gentlemen ofthe court,
there are times when I'm ashamed...
- 738. to be a member ofthe human race...
- 739. and this is one such occasion.
- 740. It's impossible for me to summarize
the case for the defense...
- 741. since the court never allowed me
a reasonable opportunity to present my case.
- 742. Are you protesting
the authenticity ofthis court?
- 743. Yes, sir.
- 744. I protest against being prevented
from introducing evidence...
- 745. that I consider vital to the defense.
- 746. The prosecution presented no witnesses.
- 747. There has never been a written indictment
ofcharges made against the defendants.
- 748. And lastly, I protest against the fact...
- 749. that no stenographic records
ofthis trial have been kept.
- 750. The attackyesterday morning
was no stain on the honor of France...
- 751. and certainly no disgrace
to the fighting men ofthis nation.
- 752. But this court-martial is such a stain
and such a disgrace.
- 753. The case made against these men
is a mockery ofall human justice.
- 754. Gentlemen ofthe court...
- 755. to find these men guilty...
- 756. would be a crime
to haunt each ofyou...
- 757. till the dayyou die.
- 758. I can't believe
that the noblest impulse of man —
- 759. his compassion for another—
can be completely dead here.
- 760. Therefore, I humbly beg you...
- 761. show mercy to these men.
- 762. The accused will be escorted
back to the guardroom.
- 763. The hearing is closed.
- 764. The court will now retire to deliberate.
- 765. There will be a guard ofsix men under arms —
- 766. rifles loaded, bayonets fixed —
two men to each prisoner.
- 767. Any sign oftrouble,
the prisoners will be instantly covered.
- 768. And ifthe trouble doesn't subside at once,
the prisoner will be shot on the spot.
- 769. Everything must go offwithout a hitch
with the least possible delay...
- 770. but it shouldn't be hurried.
- 771. There must be no fumbling around.
- 772. I've been put in charge
and made personally responsible...
- 773. for any lack oforder or for any mistakes.
- 774. But you can take it from me that I shall
pass on any blame — and with interest —
- 775. to any one ofyou who fails in his duties.
- 776. Execution will take place at 7:00
according to the verdict ofthe court-martial.
- 777. Detail, attention! Dismissed!
- 778. This is compliments of General Mireau.
- 779. - Duck.
- Well, tell him thanks.
- 780. Oh, don't blame me, soldier.
- 781. Hey, ugly, what are we supposed
to eat this with — our fingers?
- 782. The guard says you can't have
any knives or forks.
- 783. Is this supposed to be
our last meal or something?
- 784. It isn't '"supposed to be" our last meal.
It is our last meal.
- 785. Hey, this duck is terrific.
- 786. You suppose they put anything in the food?
- 787. First they poison us, then they shoot us?
- 788. I think they put something in it.
- 789. Like what?
- 790. Like, uh — Like something
or make us groggy or something.
- 791. What would be wrong with that
- 792. Maybe nothing foryou,
but I'm gonna get out ofthis somehow...
- 793. and I don't wanna be drugged.
- 794. How are you gonna get out —
chew your way through that stone wall?
- 795. Arnaud.
- 796. Colonel Dax, he'll-he'll —
he'll see us through.
- 797. Listen, we gotta get out of here. They're
gonna kill us in a few hours ifwe don't.
- 798. - Have you got an idea?
- No, but there's gotta be a way.
- 799. How many guards
you think they've got out there?
- 800. They may have a couple ofsquads.
That's what it sounded like this morning.
- 801. - Maybe they're some ofour friends.
- That's the Third Battalion.
- 802. Anyway, right now, we have no friends.
- 803. Why kid yourself?
We're not gonna get out ofthis.
- 804. Maybe you're not, but I am.
I'll guarantee you ofthat.
- 805. You see that cockroach?
- 806. Tomorrow morning, we'll be dead
and it'll be alive.
- 807. It'll have more contact
with my wife and child than I will.
- 808. - I'll be nothing, and it'll be alive.
- 809. Now you got the edge on 'im.
- 810. Good evening, my sons.
I'm Father Dupree.
- 811. Is there any news?
- 812. Yes. I'm afraid I bring you
very bad news.
- 813. You must prepare yourselves for the worst.
Colonel Dax asked me to tell you so.
- 814. Oh, mercy! No!
- 815. He's been in telephone contact
with army headquarters...
- 816. but unable to speak to General Broulard
or, for that matter, to anyone in authority.
- 817. - Same way at Division.
No one wants to be found.
- 818. - How much time do we have?
- You have plenty oftime yet.
- 819. Certainly more than enough
to prepare yourselves.
- 820. - In nomine Patris...
- In the name ofthe Father —
- 821. et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
- 822. Amen.
- 823. Father, will you take
this letter for me, please?
- 824. - Ofcourse, my son.
- It's to my wife.
- 825. She won't understand this,
and I tried to explain it to her.
- 826. I'll see that she gets it.
- 827. Do you want me to hearyour confession?
- 828. Well, Father, to tell you the truth,
I'm not very religious.
- 829. I know you're trying to help,
and I appreciate it...
- 830. but if I started praying now,
I'd feel like a hypocrite.
- 831. Oh, that's an error, my son.
- 832. God is always ready
to listen to your prayers.
- 833. All right, Father.
- 834. - Will you please hear my confession now?
- 835. Have faith in your Creator, my son.
- 836. Death comes to us all.
- 837. In the name ofthe Father
and ofthe Son and ofthe Holy Ghost.
- 838. That's really deep.
"Death comes to us all."
- 839. That really is deep.
- 840. Say, Ferol, what's the matter—
afraid your luck isn't going to hold out?
- 841. Well, look. This is — This is my religion.
- 842. O Great Bottle, forgive me my sins,
for now I lay me down to sleep, Bo peep.
- 843. May I drink ofyou first?
- 844. I understand your anguish, my son...
- 845. but you must not let it
harden your heart.
- 846. May I tell you something, Father?
- 847. Back in my hometown,
there was a certain little cafe...
- 848. with an amusing sign over the bar.
- 849. It read, "Do not be afraid
to ask for credit...
- 850. for our way of refusing is very polite."
- 851. - Come on, Arnaud, sit down. You're drunk.
- Oh, Paris, leave me alone.
- 852. Come on. Come on, sit down.
- 853. And you, get out of here
with your sanctimonious pat answers.
- 854. What are you hanging around for —
to torture us?
- 855. - No. To help you with all my power.
- Your power? You have no power!
- 856. - Come on, Arnaud, take it easy.
- No, but God has power.
- 857. - Does he? What a laugh!
- You can be saved.
- 858. Saved? I'll be saved!
- 859. Cut it out, Arnaud!
- 860. Arnaud!
- 861. Arnaud.
- 862. Father, get a doctor. Quick.
- 863. That should keep him quiet long enough.
- 864. That's a nasty skull fracture though.
He may not live out the night.
- 865. What are we supposed
to do with him?
- 866. My advice is to tie him to a stretcher
so that he won't slip when you tilt it vertically.
- 867. Surely they won't execute a man
in that condition.
- 868. I'm sorry, Father.
The sentence will be carried out.
- 869. I've already checked
with the general on it.
- 870. If he's still alive in the morning...
- 871. pinch his cheeks a couple oftimes
before you take him out on the field.
- 872. It may make him open his eyes.
The general wants him to be conscious.
- 873. - Yes?
- 874. - Lieutenant Roget reporting, sir.
- Come in, come in.
- 875. Sergeant Boulanger said
that you wanted to see me, sir.
- 876. Yes, Lieutenant.
- 877. Looks as ifwe have a pretty unpleasant thing
on our hands in a few hours, doesn't it?
- 878. - You mean the execution, sir.
- Yes, I mean the execution.
- 879. Yes, sir. It's very unfortunate.
- 880. Oh, very unfortunate.
That'sjust how I feel about it.
- 881. None of us are happy about it, sir.
- 882. How'd you happen to pick Corporal Paris?
- 883. - Well, I — I had to pick somebody, sir.
- That's right. You did.
- 884. Ofcourse, you had no personal motive
in picking Paris, did you?
- 885. Oh, no, sir.
- 886. You picked him because
he was a coward, didn't you?
- 887. - Well, did you or didn't you?
- Oh, yes, sir, I did.
- 888. Well —
- 889. Like you say,
somebody had to be picked.
- 890. - Oh, it was quite a problem, sir.
- Yes, I have the same kind of problem.
- 891. I have to pick someone to be in charge
ofthe firing squad tomorrow.
- 892. Do you have any objections
to taking thejob?
- 893. - Me, sir?
- Yes, you.
- 894. - Well —
- What's the matter? Don't you feel well?
- 895. Well, no — Yeah, I-I feel all right, sir.
- 896. - It'sjust that I —
- Is it too hot in here?
- 897. - Would you like me to open a window?
- No, sir. No, sir.
- 898. Well, it's — It'sjust that I've never been
in charge ofa firing squad before, sir.
- 899. Oh, there's nothing to it.
- 900. First, you help the sergeant
tie the men to the posts.
- 901. Ofcourse, you offer the men blindfolds.
- 902. And, well, ifthey want them,
you tie them on, see?
- 903. Now, you —you take your position
with the firing squad...
- 904. you raise your sword —
"Ready, aim, fire."
- 905. Then you draw your revolver out,
you walk forward...
- 906. and put a bullet
through each man's head.
- 907. Sir, I request that I be excused
from this duty.
- 908. Request denied.
- 909. - Colonel, I —
- You've got thejob.
- 910. It's all yours.
That's all, Lieutenant.
- 911. - Colonel, ifyou could just —
- That's all, Lieutenant!
- 912. - Yes?
- 913. - Excuse me, sir. Colonel Dax?
- 914. My name is Rousseau, sir,
- 915. What is it, Captain?
- 916. I have something to tell you, sir, that may
have a great bearing on the court-martial.
- 917. Come in, Captain.
- 918. - Well, Colonel, good evening.
- Good evening, sir.
- 919. - Good evening. Come and sit down.
- Thank you, sir. I —
- 920. I am really sorry
to intrude on you in this way.
- 921. Not at all.
Always delighted to see you, Colonel Dax.
- 922. - Will you have a cigar?
- No, thankyou, sir, but —
- 923. - Well, I —
- I thinkyou'll find it delicious.
- 924. I must apologize for not inviting you
tojoin the party downstairs tonight...
- 925. but I'm afraid that it's, uh,
a dress affair.
- 926. Well, thankyou, sir, but I must confess
that, uh, this is not entirely a social visit.
- 927. Oh, come, Dax, let's not
go over all that ground again.
- 928. Though, uh, I must admit that,
judging from the casualties...
- 929. the efforts ofyour regiment
must have been considerable.
- 930. Now, how can you understand that
and allow these men to be shot tomorrow?
- 931. Oh, come, Colonel. You're choosing
to take a rather simple view ofthis thing.
- 932. The attack was impossible from the start.
The General Staff must have known that.
- 933. Colonel Dax, we think we're doing
a good job running the war.
- 934. You must be aware ofthe fact
that the General Staff...
- 935. is subject to all kinds of unfair pressures
from newspapers and politicians.
- 936. Maybe the attack against the Anthill
- 937. Perhaps it was an error ofjudgment
on our part.
- 938. On the other hand, ifyour men had been
a little more daring, they might have taken it.
- 939. Who knows? In any case...
- 940. why should we have to bear any more
criticism for failure than we have to.
- 941. Aside from the inescapable fact that a good
many ofyour men never left the trenches...
- 942. there's the question ofthe troops' morale.
Don't forget that.
- 943. - The troops' morale?
- 944. These eXecutions will be a perfect tonic
for the entire division.
- 945. There are few things more fundamentally
encouraging and stimulating...
- 946. than seeing someone else die.
- 947. - I never thought ofthat, sir.
- You see, Colonel, troops are like children.
- 948. Just as a child wants his father to be firm,
troops crave discipline.
- 949. I see.
- 950. And one way to maintain discipline
is to shoot a man now and then.
- 951. May I ask...
- 952. do you sincerely believe
all the things you'vejust said?
- 953. It's been a pleasure
discussing this with you, Colonel...
- 954. but I'm afraid that I'd better
be getting back to my guests.
- 955. Forgive me for having kept you
from your party.
- 956. Oh, by the way, sir,
have you heard that General Mireau...
- 957. ordered his own battery commander,
- 958. to open fire on his own positions
during the attack?
- 959. Well, ofcourse the captain refused
without a written order...
- 960. but General Mireau demanded that he
commence firing on our own trenches.
- 961. Again Rousseau refused
without an order in writing...
- 962. but again he was ordered,
and again he refused —
- 963. all in front ofwitnesses.
- 964. Do you actually believe
this fantastic story?
- 965. Here are copies ofthe sworn statements
from all the principals involved —
- 966. Battery Commander Rousseau,
Captain Nichols, the artillery spotter...
- 967. the telephone clerk and, uh,
my own deposition.
- 968. What has all this got to do with the charge
against the condemned prisoners?
- 969. A general in a tantrum over the failure
ofan impossible attack...
- 970. orders his artillery to fire on his own men.
- 971. Now, this same officer on the same day...
- 972. orders a court-martial in which
three of his men are sentenced to be shot.
- 973. General, what would your, uh, newspapers
and your politicians do with that?
- 974. Colonel Dax, are you trying
to blackmail me?
- 975. Sir, that's an ugly word,
but you are in a difficult position.
- 976. Too much has happened.
Someone's got to be hurt.
- 977. The only question is who.
- 978. General Mireau's assault
on the Anthill failed...
- 979. and his order to fire on this own troops
- 980. But his attempt to murder
three innocent men...
- 981. to protect his own reputation
will be prevented by the General Staff.
- 982. Will you pardon me, Colonel Dax?
- 983. I've been rude to my guests too long.
- 984. Detail, halt!
- 985. Order arms!
- 986. Fall out!
- 987. Courage, my son.
The worst is over.
- 988. Good morning, Paris.
- 989. Good morning, Sergeant.
- 990. - How are you today?
- Not too bad.
- 991. How are you?
- 992. You missed some good chow
in here last night.
- 993. What'd you have?
- 994. Have you got a drink for us?
- 995. Take a swig ofthis.
- 996. Itjust occurred to me —
A funny thing.
- 997. I haven't had one seXual thought
since the court-martial.
- 998. It's pretty extraordinary, isn't it?
- 999. - Pull yourselftogether. Act like a man.
- 1000. - Listen, Paris.
- 1001. - Are you listening to me?
- 1002. There will be a lot ofdignitaries,
newspapermen out there.
- 1003. You've got a wife and family.
How do you want to be remembered?
- 1004. I don't wanna die.
- 1005. Many of us will bejoining you
before this war's over.
- 1006. I don't care.
I don't wanna die.
- 1007. Please save me, Sergeant.
- 1008. I can't save you. No one can now.
- 1009. This is the last decision
you'll have a chance to make on earth.
- 1010. You can pull yourselftogether, act like a man,
or we'll have to drag you out of here.
- 1011. In the end, it'll all be the same.
It's up to you.
- 1012. Well, let's get busy.
You and Ferol take your coats off.
- 1013. It's no use hanging around here.
- 1014. with the help ofthy grace
to do penance and to amend my life.
- 1015. Amen.
- 1016. Why do I have to die? For what?
- 1017. Why do I have to die? Why?
I didn't do anything.
- 1018. We do not question
the will ofGod, my son.
- 1019. But I fought. I fought.
- 1020. I fought on the battlefield.
- 1021. Why don't they die?
Why not put them to death?
- 1022. You showed courage
in the face ofthe enemy, my son.
- 1023. Show it now before your own troops.
- 1024. But I'm scared. I'm scared.
- 1025. Oh, Father, I'm scared. Oh, my God.
- 1026. Courage. Brace yourself, man.
- 1027. He said, "This day,
thou shalt be with me in paradise."
- 1028. - Really, Father?
- 1029. Really, Father?
- 1030. I don't understand why—
- 1031. I'll never see nobody again, Father. Please.
- 1032. Courage, man. Brace yourself.
- 1033. - I can't help it.
- Brace yourself.
- 1034. I can't help it, Father.
- 1035. O God, O Almighty God —
- 1036. Oh, Christ! Christ!
- 1037. Grant courage to this man
who is about to die.
- 1038. Strengthen me, God!
Please strengthen me!
- 1039. Why do I have to die, Father?
- 1040. About face!
- 1041. Secure prisoners!
- 1042. Detail, attention!
- 1043. Forward march!
- 1044. Detail, halt!
- 1045. Left face!
- 1046. Please don't.
Please choose me to —
- 1047. "In the name ofthe French People...
- 1048. "Corporal Philippe Paris...
- 1049. "Private Maurice Ferol...
- 1050. "and Private Pierre Arnaud...
- 1051. "ofthe 701 st Regiment...
- 1052. "having been found guilty ofcowardice
in the face ofthe enemy...
- 1053. "are to be executed by rifle fire immediately...
- 1054. in accordance with thejudgment
ofthe military court-martial."
- 1055. Right face!
- 1056. Forward hut!
- 1057. and blessed are thou amongst women.
- 1058. - Do you want a blindfold?
- Blessed art thou —
- 1059. Yes, Lieutenant. Please.
- 1060. I don't wanna die.
I don't wanna die.
- 1061. Do — Do you want a blindfold?
- 1062. No.
- 1063. I'm sorry.
- 1064. Ready!
- 1065. Aim!
- 1066. - Fire!
- 1067. I'm awfully glad
you could be there, George.
- 1068. This sort ofthing
is always rather grim.
- 1069. But this one had a kind ofsplendor to it,
don't you think?
- 1070. I have never seen an affair ofthis sort
handled any better.
- 1071. The men died wonderfully.
- 1072. There's always that chance
that one ofthem will do something
that will leave everyone with a bad taste.
- 1073. This time, you couldn't ask for better.
- 1074. Yes?
- 1075. Yes, Colonel?
- 1076. You wanted to see me, sir.
- 1077. Oh, yes, yes.
Come in, Colonel. Come in and sit down.
- 1078. Oh, Colonel Dax,
your men died very well.
- 1079. - Would you like some coffee, Colonel?
- No, thank you, sir.
- 1080. Oh, by the way, Paul,
it's been brought to my attention...
- 1081. that you ordered your artillery
to fire on your own men
during the attack on the Anthill.
- 1082. - I did what?
- 1083. - Who told you that?
- Colonel Dax came to me last night
with the story.
- 1084. Colonel Dax, I've always known
that you were a disloyal officer...
- 1085. but I never dreamed that you would
stoop to anything so low as this.
- 1086. General, I have sworn statements
from Captain Nichols, your artillery spotter...
- 1087. Captain Rousseau, the battery commander
who refused your order.
- 1088. I think it's infamous,
- 1089. Then there's no truth at all
to the charge made by Colonel Dax?
- 1090. I don't see how you could
even ask me that.
- 1091. You cannot imagine how glad I am
to hear that, Paul.
- 1092. I'm certain that
you'll come through it all right.
- 1093. - I'll come through what?
- There will have to be an inquiry.
- 1094. - An inquiry?
- But it won't amount to much.
- 1095. - Those things never do. The public forgets.
- 1096. You've got to have the right
to clearyour name.
- 1097. You cannot allow such vile insinuations
against your character to go undenied.
- 1098. So that's it.
- 1099. You're making me the goat —
- 1100. the only completely innocent man
in this whole affair.
- 1101. I have only one last thing
to say to you, George.
- 1102. The man you stabbed in the back
is a soldier.
- 1103. Well...
- 1104. had to be done.
- 1105. France cannot afford to have fools
guiding her military destiny.
- 1106. I'm grateful to you, Dax, for having
brought this matter to my attention.
- 1107. Colonel Dax, how would you like
- 1108. - His what, sir?
- 1109. Let me get this straight, sir.
- 1110. You're offering me
General Mireau's command?
- 1111. Come, come, Colonel Dax.
Don't overdo the surprise.
- 1112. You've been after thejob from the start.
We all know that, my boy.
- 1113. I may be many things, sir,
but I'm not your boy.
- 1114. Well, I certainly didn't mean to imply
any biological relationship.
- 1115. - I'm not your boy in any sense.
- You trying to provoke me, Colonel?
- 1116. - Why should I want to do that, sir?
- 1117. It would be a pity to lose your promotion
before you get it...
- 1118. a promotion you have
so very carefully planned for.
- 1119. Sir, would you like me to suggest
what you can do with that promotion?
- 1120. Colonel Dax! You will apologize at once,
or I shall have you placed under arrest!
- 1121. I apologize for not being
entirely honest with you.
- 1122. I apologize for not revealing
my true feelings.
- 1123. I apologize, sir,
for not telling you sooner...
- 1124. that you're a degenerate,
sadistic old man...
- 1125. and you can go to hell before I apologize
to you now or ever again!
- 1126. Colonel Dax, you're a disappointment to me.
- 1127. You've spoiled the keenness ofyour mind
by wallowing in sentimentality.
- 1128. You really did want to save those men...
- 1129. and you were not angling
for Mireau's command.
- 1130. You're an idealist, and I pity you
as I would the village idiot.
- 1131. We're fighting a war, Dax,
a war that we've got to win.
- 1132. Those men didn't fight,
so they were shot.
- 1133. You bring charges against General Mireau,
so I insist that he answer them.
- 1134. Wherein have I done wrong?
- 1135. Because you don't know
the answer to that question...
- 1136. I pityyou.
- 1137. Thankyou. Thankyou, thankyou.
- 1138. Now, gentlemen, we have a little
special entertainment foryou.
- 1139. Sort ofa — sort ofa little diversion
as it were.
- 1140. And as my wife always says,
"What is life without a little diversion?"
- 1141. Now, gentlemen, I give you
our latest acquisition from the enemy.
- 1142. - From Germany.
- 1143. The land ofthe Hun.
- 1144. Gentlemen, a little pearl washed ashore
by the tide ofwar.
- 1145. Sag den Herrschaften guten Tag.
- 1146. - Guten Tag.
- 1147. Hey! Talk in a civilized language.
- 1148. - It's true the little lady has her limitations.
- 1149. As a matter offact,
she has absolutely no talent at all —
- 1150. except, that is,
well, maybe a little natural talent?
- 1151. The little lady can't dance,
she can't tell anyjokes...
- 1152. and she can't balance rubber balls
on her little nose.
- 1153. - Ah, but she can sing like a bird.
- 1154. She has a throat of gold.
- 1155. - Come on, baby!
- Come on, honey! Sing us a song!
- 1156. - Come on, honey! How about a song?
- 1157. Come on, baby!
Sing us a song!
- 1158. Louder! Louder!
- 1159. - [ Singing "The Faithful Hussar"
in German ]
- 1160. - Sir.
- Yes, Sergeant?
- 1161. We have orders
to move back to the front immediately.
- 1162. - Give the men a few minutes more, Sergeant.
- Yes, sir.