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Thursday, May 22, 2008


It’s hard to believe that this well-oiled, if formulaic, WWII caper pic from Brian G. Hutton came out the same year as PATTON and M*A*S*H. Those films changed the rules on war pics, but this older model (something of a follow-up to Hutton’s WHERE EAGLES DARE/’69) was still working. Here, our boys go behind enemy lines to steal a fortune in gold (shades of THREE KINGS/’99), and if you can’t quite swallow the premise, you can enjoy some of the smartly laid-out action scenes and revel in the handsome lensing from Gabriel Figueroa (he’s fixated on his cast’s startling blue eyes). Clint Eastwood solidifies his screen persona (DIRTY HARRY was next year), Don Rickles shows off his surprising acting chops and, if Carroll O’Connor & Donald Sutherland over-egg the pudding, Telly Savalas hits the tone of comic fatalism just right. It does go on, though.

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