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Hornets' Nest (1970)

In 1944, during a sabotage mission, the sole surviving U.S. paratrooper is saved by a group of Italian orphans who later aid him in blowing-up a vital enemy dam.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Turner
...
Bianca
...
Von Hecht
...
Schwalberg (as Giacomo Rossi-Stuart)
...
Maj. Taussig
...
Aldo
Mauro Gravina ...
Carlo
John Fordyce ...
Dino
Giuseppe Cassuto ...
Franco
Amedeo Castracane ...
Tonio
Giancarlo Colombaioni ...
Romeo
Ronald Colombaioni ...
Mikko
Valerio Colombaioni ...
Arturo
Giuseppe Coppola ...
Rico
Luigi Criscuolo ...
Paolo
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Storyline

A commando unit is dropped behind the German lines in Italy and its mission is to blow up a strategic dam. However, the unit is ambushed and only its leader survives. He is picked up by a ragtag group of local youths, who strike a bargain with him--they will help him blow the dam if he will help them get revenge on the Germans, who have taken over their village and killed their parents. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bust The Dam!-- Blow Up The War! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Action | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

9 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il vespaio  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the dam to be destroyed is Della Norte, which means "Dam of the North". The film is set, and was filmed, in northern Italy. See more »

Goofs

Although the story takes place in 1944, all the hair styles are strictly in the 1970 mode. Hudson's fashionably long hair is strictly unmilitary, and he even sports 1970 sideburns and a handlebar moustache; Koscina's big hair is a 1970s trademark; even the kids look like refugees from the streets of the era in which the film was made, not at all like World War II orphans. See more »

Quotes

General Von Kleber: General Rutke is taking over a Panzer division in this push. I could arrange to have you posted to his staff. You've been asking for a transfer back to the fighting forces.
Von Hecht: No thank you. Where I am now, suddenly there is good hunting. I'd hate to give that up.
General Von Kleber: You really are your father's son.
Von Hecht: Thank you, General. How many men can be sure of that?
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Connections

Referenced in Django Unchained (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

The European "Red Dawn" of World War II
6 November 2013 | by (Ohio/PA border) – See all my reviews

"Hornets' Nest" (1970) is far from a great World War II film, but I have a soft spot for it and it does contain some highlights.

THE PLOT: The lone survivor of a paratrooper mission to blow up a dam in German-held Italy is rescued by a group of orphans, who live in a cave in the woods. Their families where slaughtered by the Germans and they want to use the soldier to help them get revenge whereas he wants to train the kids so they can help him blow the dam.

This is more of an Italian film than an American one and it shows in the Italian style of direction & editing, which sometimes comes off awkward.

Everyone speaks English but the Germans and Italians are heavily accented, so I suggest using the subtitles.

The biggest highlight is the moving score by Ennio Morricone. The second is the beautiful Sylva Koscina, who plays the doctor that nurses the soldier (Rock Hudson) to health and hangs around the outcasts the entire film. Sylva is just breathtaking throughout (and fully-clothed the entire time, I might add).

Hudson is rock-solid as the taciturn soldier (sorry) and Mark Colleano is excellent as Aldo, the fanatical leader of the ragtag group of kids. He wants revenge at all costs and the young actor gets this across with passion. Sergio Fantoni is also notable as Captain Von Hecht; he's not a one-dimensional German officer and is actually a solid man who just got trapped on the wrong side of the war.

There are a couple of action sequences, one being pretty far-fetched (when the soldier & the kids mow-down an entire village of Germans while riding in an Army truck), but the action is usually swift and quiet in the order of guerilla tactics.

I like how the members of the outcast group, including the soldier and nurse, are always sweaty and dirty with messy hair and crumpled clothing. It smacks of how war really is -- dirty, sweaty and messy.

The presence of the stunning Sylva Koscina blows any theory of gay or pedophile subtext. If any other actor than Hudson played the role of the soldier, like Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson, there would be no such inane theory. It doesn't exist.

In any event, "Hornets' Nest" was likely the blueprint for John Milius' "Red Dawn" (1984). The difference being that "Hornets' Nest" takes place in Italy during WWII and involves a younger group of kids.

The Italian locations are a huge plus; the film runs 110 minutes.

GRADE: B


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