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Michael J. Pollard,
During World War II, the prisoners of a German camp on a Greek island are trying to escape. They don't want only their freedom, but they also seek for an ineffable treasure hidden in a monastery at the top of the island's mountain. Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <email@example.com>
I only recently got to see this movie and on the basis of the all-start cast and the still pictures that I had seen I was expecting a well-made and slightly offbeat war film. I was very disappointed. This movie can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a comedy or an action / adventure yarn, and in the end it largely fails to deliver on either front. Roger Moore is hopelessly miscast as the antiques-loving German (or rather Austrian) PoW camp commandant, and a number of the other characters such as Sonny Bono's Italian chef, Michael Sheard's oafish German sergeant and Telly Savalas' Greek resistance leader are extremely caricature-ish. Even Richard Rowntree's PoW character comes across merely as Shaft in a GI uniform (coming out with expressions like `he's one cool cat'). The character Charlie (played by Elliot Gould) is a civilian USO entertainer whose plane was shot down over the Mediterranean, with him and his female colleague being captured and placed in the PoW camp. However, when these two are introduced early on, we see them looking like a pair of well-heeled American holidaymakers. Both are immaculately groomed and dressed, and they certainly don't look like two people who have just been fished out of the Mediterranean after their plane has been shot out of the sky - the woman is even lugging all her suitcases behind her!!! I assume that we're supposed to believe that they too would have survived the shootdown without even a scuff mark and then floated up from the plane wreckage to be conveniently retrieved. I have to admit that initially I found the Charlie character fairly amusing and even laughed at some of his one-liners. But ultimately he became more annoying than funny. The action scenes later on were also fairly predictable and boring. I got the impression that the makers of this movie were trying to combine elements from those classic war films `The Guns Of Navarone', `The Great Escape' and `Kelly's Heroes' (we even had David Niven who appeared in the former and Telly Savalas from the latter). But this movie is not a classic in any way, shape or form. It oozes mediocrity in all areas. On the plus side, the Greek islands location is wonderful and the camera work is on the whole pretty good. And the beautiful Claudia Cardinale graces any movie that she's in. On balance though I'd have to give this film just 3½ out of 10. Not the worst war film I've ever seen, but definitely `below average' and given the amount of big names in it the end result is a massive disappointment.
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