IMDb > Castle Keep (1969)
Castle Keep
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Castle Keep (1969) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Eastlake (novel)
Daniel Taradash (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Castle Keep on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
October 1969 (Austria) See more »
A 10th-Century castle...a 20th-Century war...and the outspoken novel come to life on the screen! See more »
During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(18 articles)
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User Reviews:
Just sitting back, until the war comes around. See more (45 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Burt Lancaster ... Maj. Abraham Falconer

Patrick O'Neal ... Capt. Lionel Beckman

Jean-Pierre Aumont ... The Count of Maldorais

Peter Falk ... Sgt. Rossi

Astrid Heeren ... Therese

Scott Wilson ... Cpl. Clearboy

Tony Bill ... Lt. Amberjack

Al Freeman Jr. ... Pvt. Allistair Piersall Benjamin
James Patterson ... Elk

Bruce Dern ... Lt. Billy Byron Bix

Michael Conrad ... Sgt. DeVaca

Caterina Boratto ... Red Queen
Elizabeth Teissier ... Red Queen Girl
Anne Marie Moskovenko ... Red Queen Girl
Merja Alanen ... Red Queen Girl
Olga Bisera ... Baker's Wife (as Bisera)
Eija Pokkinen ... Red Queen Girl (as Eya Tuli)
Elizabeth Darius ... Red Queen Girl
Karen Blanguernon ... Red Queen Girl
Marie Danube ... Red Queen Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Harry Baird ... Dancing Soldier (uncredited)
Ernest Clark ... British Colonel (uncredited)
Jean Gimelo ... First Puerto Rican (uncredited)
J. David Jones ... One-Eared Soldier (uncredited)
Dusan Tadic ... Evangelista (uncredited)

Directed by
Sydney Pollack 
Writing credits
William Eastlake (novel "Castle Keep")

Daniel Taradash (screenplay) &
David Rayfiel (screenplay)

Produced by
John Calley .... producer
Martin Ransohoff .... producer
Edward L. Rissien .... associate producer
Original Music by
Michel Legrand 
Cinematography by
Henri Decaë (director of photography) (as Henri Decae)
Film Editing by
Malcolm Cooke 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
Art Direction by
Jacques Douy 
Max Douy 
Mort Rabinowitz 
Costume Design by
Jacques Fonteray 
Makeup Department
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist
Production Management
Ludmilla Goulian .... production manager
Suzanne Wiesenfeld .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ray Kellogg .... second unit director
Marc Maurette .... assistant director
Stevan Petrovic .... assistant director (as Stevo Petrovic)
Art Department
Charles Merangel .... set dresser
Rino Mondellini .... art designer
Sound Department
Antoine Petitjean .... sound
Vladimir Stankovic .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Lee Zavitz .... special effects (as Lee Zavits)
Visual Effects by
Phill Norman .... opticals
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Milanka Sultanovic .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Michèle Robert-Lauliac .... assistant film editor (as Michele Robert)
Music Department
Michel Legrand .... conductor
Other crew
Ben Kadish .... production executive
Phill Norman .... title designer
Dirk Sanders .... choreographer

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
105 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (35 mm prints) | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)
Argentina:18 | Australia:M | Australia:SOA (original rating) | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:16 | Norway:16 | Singapore:NC-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:15 (video) | USA:R | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

70mm blow-up version released in Australia and Sweden.See more »
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The soldiers refer to the car as a "Volkswagen", a name which some viewers believe was not given to the car until after World War Two. However, on 28 May 1937, the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH was established by the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. It was later renamed "Volkswagenwerk GmbH" on 16 September 1938. It is not clear whether the GI's would have easily recognized the car, but any German would have readily recognized it as a Volkswagen during the war.See more »
The Count:You find me degenerate - or worse even, French.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Last Detail (1973)See more »


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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Just sitting back, until the war comes around., 12 August 2007
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.

Travelling through Ardennes forest, American Major Falconer leads his small rag-tag platoon to the medieval castle that belongs to the Count of Maldorais, so they can use it as a stronghold against the German soldiers. Waiting for this possible strike, they go about amusing themselves by relaxing or taking in the sights. The Major is bedding the Counts wife, Captain Beckman studying and admiring the count's artwork, Sergeant Rossi living his dream of having wife, child and baking. Private Benjamin storming up ideas of a possible novel, while Corporal Clearboy falls head over heels for a Volkswagen. But their lifestyles are shattered when finally the Germans advanced through the forest and upon the castle.

You want a very offbeat and ambitious war drama; look no further then Sidney Pollacks' dreamlike majestic oddity "Castle Keep". However it tends to be one of those cult films you'll love or be totally put off by its artsy approach. I'm the former. I was totally spellbound by its quirky, bleak and theatrical sense of style interwoven within its lyrically verbose script and moody, self-conscious characters. Adapted from William Eastlake's novel, this is pretty much a calm conversational piece that likes to philosophically reflect on itself with a haunting and decisive charge, before it changes pace (and somewhat direction) to actually lead up to a loud, chaotic, brutal and taut action climax in the dying stages of the film.

Pollacks' smooth n' breezy execution leads the way to a slow plodding pace, where it's a clash of personalities and a lot little trivia set in motion. War is pointless and simply made up of absurdity, and that's how Daniel Taradash and David Rayfiel's thoughtfully satiric screenplay lets the story unfold, because honestly it treads water and doesn't sway far from its base work. Seeping off it are random, unexpected sub-plots (like fairy-tale strokes) with Private Benjamin's crisp narration (which it's his story were watching) seem to have a metaphysical current. The rich humour within is uniquely pulled-off, by holding an uncanny, absurd and odd feel. Beautifully crafted and ultra-stylish with many bold and surreal flourishes. One of those few includes the sequence in the rose garden and the wonderfully amusing set-up of the Volkswagen. It was like looking at a painting, just admiring the art in front of you. Then move onto the next frame for another poetic image. But the life is sapped out of it, with more so a deadpan quality making its way into Pollacks' slick direction.

Henri Decae's fluidly illustrative cinematography was picture-perfect with atmospheric lighting, and Michel Legrand's harmoniously spiralling and intrusively baroque music score only adds to its disorienting make-up and cooks up a tuneful awe. Streaming through it was a bold, psychedelic edge due to the times. The beautifully lush backdrop of the wilderness, and grand appearance of the extravagant castle are vibrantly captured to provide another hypnotic dimension to the well-looking production. The performances are astounding. Burt Lancaster's stoically dominating portrayal, with a smart slight tongue is excellently delivered and Peter Falk's no-nonsense, grounded to reality performance is superb as the baker at heart Sergeant Rossi. Don't you just love the smell of fresh bread. Patrick O'Neal is credibly solid as the toey, art-loving Captain Beckham, and Jean-Pierre Aumont as the sly Count of Maldorais. Astrid Heeren is seductively silky as the count's wife/niece Therese. The rest of the support Scott Wilson, Tony Bill, James Patterson, Al Freeman Jr. and Michael Conrad were exceptionally good. Also Bruce Dern is a delight to watch as the fruity, preaching American deserter who has taken up on god's side, as he tries to convince others to do so.

Uneven, but still a one-of-a-kind experience. Almost just like a dream.

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