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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I find it impossible to review this film without a word about the
Jesus Franco was a Spanish Ed Wood. He had a few dozens of pseudonyms and
several professions like writer, cinematographer, actor, composer, editor,
producer and more. He made over 180 movies, mostly monster horror or
or even both! For instance, what would you expect from a movie called
“Virgin Among the Living Dead” or “White Cannibal
Queen”, or “Kiss Me Killer”, or “Erotic
or “The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein”, or “Lesbian
Vampires”? You got the idea.
Well, “Fall of the Eagles” is neither horror, nor erotic, it`s
quite a well done World War Two drama.
The story begins in Berlin just before the war. We see the house of a rich German banker (Christopher Lee) and his wonderful daughter Lillian (Alexandra Ehrlich). And it seems that everyone is in love with her, including Peter Froehlich (Mark Hamill). But she falls for a young composer Karl (Ramon Estevez). The problem is… they both go to the war to get killed one after another. Lillian starts singing for the wounded soldiers at hospitals and ends up signing in a night club for the officers. Then she even becomes a soldier too, and goes to the war. But when she returns home she finds it ruined and her brilliant one time rich father walking at the streets begging for food. But Lillian finds strength to go on and even work at a night club singing just the same songs for American soldiers. Her father, her stubborn father, refuses to recognize his daughter, which he used to be so proud of, in that hardly dressed lady on a stage, singing English for the Americans. He doesn`t realize, she is doing it for him, to get him fed.
Anyway, that`s the story and here is the critics. First of all I found that lady pretty strange. She loves Karl, but when he is gone to the war, she goes to bed with Peter, just the same. She is ready to sleep with anyone out of patriotism (well, here is the logic: he is going to the war, maybe he`ll die, so why not to comfort him for the last time? Why she isn`t sleeping with every German soldier then, I wonder). Yes, about her singing which everyone is amazed at in the movie… Well, it`s rather dull. I don`t know, maybe Mr. Franco knew about the culture of pre-war Germany better of course, but I wouldn`t stay to the end of any song, which is sang with this lack of enthusiasm. I almost fell asleep every time she started singing. What kind of a cabaret is that! Despite all that she is brave to rebel against her powerful father and go through the war. I have to say that almost every character in this film is quite controversial. Karl understands the nature of the war and is afraid to fight, but gets drafted and killed, the girl`s father, played by Christopher Lee has a Jewish friend and so on. The only straight forward character is the one played by Mark Hamill. He is just in love with the girl. She even fulfils one of his dreams and becomes his wife (out of mercy, of course). Next second he dies.
It might be predictable, but it is a pretty watchable film afterall.
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