A Major with an attitude problem and a history of getting things done is told to interview military prisoners with death sentences or long terms for a dangerous mission; To parachute behind enemy lines and cause havoc for the German Generals at a rest house on the eve of D-Day. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
During WW2 the American forces did indeed "borrow" a prison in the UK for housing US servicemen convicted of criminal acts. This was Shepton Mallett prison in Somerset, which operated as a prison from 1625 to 2013. During the war nine US military personnel were executed there--three by firing squad, six by hanging. The hangman used was the British Albert Pierrepoint, who in his career hanged approximately 450 people, including some 200 Nazis convicted is the Nuremburg war crimes trials. See more »
The C-47 Dakota aircraft used in the jump scenes at parachute school is marked with the American white star in a blue roundel. This national insignia was replaced on American aircraft by the more familiar white star and bars on 30 June 1943. See more »
Major John Reisman:
[Kinder has just finished a psychiatric evaluation of Reisman's troops]
So what does that give you?
Capt. Stuart Kinder:
Doesn't give me anything. But along with these other results, it gives *you* just about the most twisted, anti-social bunch of psychopathic deformities I have ever run into! And the worst, the most dangerous of the bunch, is Maggott. You've got one religious maniac, one malignant dwarf, two near-idiots... and the rest I don't even wanna think about!
Major John Reisman:
Well, I can't think of a better way to fight a ...
[...] See more »
The opening credits don't occur until 10 minutes into the film. While it is common nowadays for films to have a pre-credits sequence, it was considered innovative in 1967. See more »
During World War II, Major Reisman is called to a high level meeting to discuss his next mission to train a group of soldiers and prepare them for a mission behind enemy lines. However the `soldiers' that Reisman has been assigned are all sentenced to death or life in prison for their crimes. The mission is a suicide mission on a French chateau where German top brass will be, the aim being to kill as many as possible. But before the mission, the group must pass a training to be considered for pardoning.
Well known by all men everywhere, this is less a serious war movie and more an enjoyable ensemble romp through a training camp, with the final third being the mission itself. This is the film's strength the training sections are very enjoyable and good fun to watch. The mission is punchy and dramatic and works very well as the conclusion to the film rather than the whole film itself (which other `mission' films have to do). The training is slick and enjoyable, not only it is occasionally quite funny but it is also consistently amusing and exciting at turns.
The film's main selling point (increasingly so) is the all star cast, all of whom do really good work. Marvin is tough in the lead and he is well supported by Borgnine, Kennedy, Ryan and Jaeckel playing the other officers. Of the prisoners Cassavetes steals the show with his cocky Franko although he is not short of famous support. Sutherland (although not well known at the time) is good comic relief, Savalas is a little too heavy for the film but adds menace, Bronson is good value, Brown is strong and is well known due to a weepy Billy Crystal! The rest of the dozen give good performances, but I'll be honest and say that the famous faces stuck in my mind more.
Overall this is not a wonderful film and, as a war movie it isn't the best `mission' movie you could find (simply cause the mission is quite short and straightforward. However it is a fun movie that never drags despite the slightly longer than normal running time for this type of movie. The training section and the mission itself combine to form an enjoyable film that is driven by a great cast playing good characters.
57 of 87 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?