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24

THURSDAY

The Criterion Collection recently released a new DVD edition of Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, which reminds me: “Bloody Sam” didn’t just make Westerns. Take, for example, Cross of Iron. That flick pits Nazi-with-a-heart-of-gold Sgt. Rolf Steiner (James Coburn) against Capt. Stransky (Maximilian Schell), a German officer obsessed with earning the titular decoration. The film bombed in America, probably because Coburn plays Steiner with a considerable degree of complexity—neither heartless butcher nor Col. Klink. But it was a European success, and Orson Welles called it the finest anti-war movie ever made about the “ordinary enlisted man.” You could wait for the Criterion DVD, or you could go see it at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Mike DeBonis)