The Nazis imprison an Italian general who was planning to switch sides and turn over his army to the Allied side. Allied headquarters sends a small, somewhat misfit group of soldiers to ... See full summary »
The Nazis imprison an Italian general who was planning to switch sides and turn over his army to the Allied side. Allied headquarters sends a small, somewhat misfit group of soldiers to spring the general from prison and carry out his plans. Written by
Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney, Edd Byrnes, Henry Silva and William Campbell play convicts who are given an opportunity for parole but to do so they must cross into enemy territory and rescue an Italian general who is being held hostage during WWII. By that description you'd think this Roger Corman film was nothing more than a rip-off of THE DIRTY DOZEN but it would be important to check the dates because this one here was actually released three years before the more popular film. With that said, if THE DIRTY DOZEN was a reworking or remake of this then it was certainly needed because while this film might look good it offers very little else. I was a little surprised to see how flat this movie was but I think it lacks any real emotion and a lot of this is due to the screenplay. The screenplay gives us five characters that we're supposed to care for yet not one of them grows on the viewer to where you care about their situation or really if they live or die in the end. Going on this mission with five characters that you really don't like pretty much stops this film in its tracks. Even worse is that most of them are pretty annoying and this is especially true of the Rooney character. I'm guessing he was meant to give some comedy relief but it's never funny. Silva comes off the best out of the five convicts but it's too bad he wasn't given more screen time. Stewart Granger plays the man leading them into battle but he can't really bring any added excitement to the material. For such a low budget movie the battle scenes at least look very good with the various gunfights and explosions. I also thought the cinematography was impressive but in the end this here just isn't enough to save the film.
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