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Sunday, June 8, 2008

WHERE EAGLES DARE (1970)


If you can suspend all disbelief as the 45 yr-old Richard Burton performs athletic feats of derring-do, this WWII actioner, with a delicious plot twist revealed halfway thru, is good fun. In an aerie German fortress, an American general awaits rescue. But getting up there (helmed in pseudo-documentary style by Brian Hutton since this is a cliffhanger with real cliffs) is only the set up for the main event. The film turns out to be half GUNS OF NAVARONE/'61 & half THE STING/'73. Much was made at the time of the flamboyantly theatrical Burton working against that cinematic minimalist Clint Eastwood, but they make a fine and funny tag team. (Like a macho Laurel & Hardy.*) Watch close to catch Eastwood’s minuscule facial variations as Burton trippingly lays out his tissue-of-lies scam. Priceless.
*Hmm, I'm thinking Burton as Hardy & Eastwood as Laurel.

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