The Execution of Private Slovik

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The Execution of Private Slovik DVD (Region 1 - Playable in North America - The US, Canada, Mexico, etc.) 1974 Color.

Starring: Martin Sheen, Ned Beatty, Gary Busey, Matt Clark, Charles Haid, Mariclare Cotello.

In January 1945, Private Eddie Slovik was executed in France, the only American soldier shot for desertion since the civil war. General Eisenhower refused to commute the sentence. Based on William Bradford Huie's 1954 book, the movie was finally made for TV in 1974, directed by veteran Lamont Johnson. It attracted a record audience (the largest ever prior to Roots) and is a sombre, sober, unsentimental work about chance fate, the arbitrary horrors of war and people trapped in a bureaucratic machine.
The film unfolds in flashbacks from the day of execution and Martin Sheen gives one of his finest performances as the sad, bewildered young GI, a former petty criminal torn from a brief experience of happiness with his loving wife and sent to war. Ned Beatty is excellent as the chaplain assigned to care for Slovik in his final hours. It can be spoken of in the same breath as Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory, and Joseph Losey's King & Country.

* In formerly blacklisted Carl Foreman's classic anti-war film The Victors (1963), a wintry firing squad scene inspired by the Slovik affair is accompanied by Sinatra's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

"The story of Eddie Slovik, who was executed by the Army in 1945, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War."