Nun Sara is on the run in Mexico and is saved from cowboys by Hogan, who is preparing for a future mission to capture a French fort. The pair become good friends, but Sara never does tell him the true reason behind her being outlawed.
During WW2 a British aircraft is shot down and crashes in Nazi held territory. The Germans capture the only survivor, an American General, and take him to the nearest SS headquarters. Unknown to the Germans the General has full knowledge of the D-Day operation. The British decide that the General must not be allowed to divulge any details of the Normandy landing at all cost and order Major John Smith to lead a crack commando team to rescue him. Amongst the team is an American Ranger, Lieutenant Schaffer, who is puzzled by his inclusion in an all British operation. When one of the team dies after the parachute drop, Schaffer suspects that Smith's mission has a much more secret objective. Written by
Dave Jenkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Throughout most of the film, Smith refers to Schaffer as "Lieutenant," using the British pronunciation "lef-tenant." But in the final scene in the airplane, he uses the American pronunciation "loo-tenant." See more »
Most Exciting, Atmospheric, Ingenious--McLean Served Well This Time
"Where Eagles Dare" was produced by folks who decided that Alistair Macleam deserved to be produced on film by someone who followed the author's exciting ideas. The result is a major improvement of the Us-er qualities of the character played by Clint Eastwood, the potent casting of Richard Burton, who is very very good (for once) in an adventure-level lead as the infinitely-resourceful leader of a WWII team of destructive agents, and an intelligent if action-level work of cinematic artistry. Others have written very well on this film; what I want to add to their basic core of arguments is some notes about the acting and ideas. From the group's boss, Michael Hordern to the ladies, Mary Ure and zoftik Ingrid Pitt, to enigmatic Robert Beatty, everyone involved is more than adequate in his/her part to very good. The three enemies, Ferdy Mayne, Derrin Nesbitt and Anton Diffring excel in whatever scenes they are given; and Peter Barkworth, Donald Houston, Patrick Wymark, et al as traitors have never been seen to greater advantage. Director Brian Hutton faced the all-but-impossible task of bringing a vaguely-implausible raid staged in snow country on an isolated castle to life. With stirring music, lovely art direction and edge-of-impossible special effects involving explosives, running machine-gun duels in a bus, falling telephone poles, a battle on a cable car, wrecking at an airport and a parachute drop betrayed from the start, he manages to bring the entire tale off very nicely by my standards. The other chief asset of the film lies in its unusually intelligent dialogue, plot turns and constant surprise. I counted at least seven major surprises, every one of which as in a good Hitchcockian thriller leads to a memorable scene; these are therefore not just script gimmicks, but rather they qualify as ingenious use of the adventure genre to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. This film perhaps is what James Bond films always should have been, but only in the case of "Doctor No" and "Goldfinger" ever were. One could wish that "The Secret Ways", "Ice Station Zebra" and several others of McLean's thrillers had been treated with as much respect, and near genius, as this memorable piece of screen excitement was (for once) afforded.
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