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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
Director Roger Corman once said of this film: "The odd thing about this movie is that it had a very similar plot to an old western of mine, Five Guns West (1955). It also came out before The Dirty Dozen (1967). I've heard stories that the producers of 'The Dirty Dozen' actually postponed production of their film an entire year because they realized that our story-lines were so similar." See more »
At c.25 minutes there is a short close-up of the baby breast-feeding. However the mother's shirt is a different colour and design from the other shots. See more »
This film is well directed by Roger Corman and has a great plot with some good twists. The Yugoslavian location filming adds to the enjoyment, there's plenty of action and the pace is fast. The top notch cast is what really puts it over. Mickey Rooney is excellent as Scanlon and provides much of the humor. Edd Byrnes, Stewart Granger, William Campbell and Henry Silva give solid performances and Raf Vallone adds an introspective quality that raises this film a few notches above the average adventure. My favorite quote is from his character, "Who will free it from us and who will free us from ourselves."
If you're not initially nuts about this flick like I was, be patient. I went to see this in 1964 with my cousin. It was my second time seeing it but her first. About twenty minutes into it I said to myself, "Boy, this is a good movie." "It is," she questioned in an unconvinced tone, but fifteen minutes later she nudged me and said very enthusiastically, "You're right! This is a good movie!"
It is also one of the first films I remember from the 60's that dabbled in graphic violence. Although there are only a few, the scenes were shocking and tense in 1964 and still strike a chord now.
The Dirty Dozen(1967), which I also like very much, may be the best known of the two but the Secret Invasion was a forerunner of the genre and in my estimation is the better film.
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