Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released in the UK on December 4, 1968 and in the US on March 12, 1969
Directed by Brian G. Hutton
Written by Alistair MacLean, based on his novel
Cast: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mare Ure, Patrick Wymark, Michael Hordern, Ingrid Pitt, Donald Houston, Peter Barkworth, Robert Beatty, William Squire, Brook Williams, Derren Nesbitt
Clint Eastwood’s first true non-Western starring role was in this exceptional wartime adventure yarn, with Eastwood and Richard Burton teaming up as American and British officers infiltrating the German high command to rescue a captured American general, who’s held prisoner at a snowbound fortress in the Bavarian Alps—a stronghold accessible only by cable car—and who’s soon to be interrogated by the Gestapo, and his true identity found out.
The slowly-building and multi-layered screenplay from novelist Alistair MacLean delivered lots of tension and thrills, and definitely took its time to tell its story; I thought the film was about to wrap up, yet we still had another hour of escape sequences left…which was fine with me, since it meant sixty more minutes of explosions, blazing machine gun fire, and cable car stunts to keep me company.
It was quite interesting to see newcomer Eastwood and experienced pro Burton appearing in the same film, and fun watching Clint’s cool demeanor as he disposed of Germans at an astounding rate (apparently, he killed more people in this film than in any of his others). Brian G. Hutton did a solid job directing the action sequences, and strung together quite a few captivating set pieces along the way, taking good advantage of snowy outdoor locations in the Austrian mountains and countryside, which not only supplied an air of authenticity, but were spectacular to look at as well.
And speaking of spectacular: Mary Ure was certainly an eyeful, but Ingrid Pitt—better known for her Hammer vampire films—was simply ravishing, and especially so when dressed as a Bavarian barmaid; she almost made you forget there was a pretty cool action flick going on. Definitely a film worth checking out, and if you’re a fan of Eastwood or the literary works of MacLean, then especially so. (8/10)