A complex moral ambiguity elevates this underrated war drama. Rock Hudson stars as a preacher who, though haunted by the killing he did as a bomber pilot during World War II, reenlists in the Korean War, where his humanitarian ambitions bump up against the harsh realities of army life. While Sirk handles the spectacular scenes of aerial combat with aplomb, his primary concern is with the troubling ethical considerations of warfare, a theme he expresses through some of his most precise, hard-edged visual compositions. As an investigation of wartime guilt, Battle Hymn makes a fascinating companion to A Time to Love and a Time to Die.
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