4.9/10
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Battle of the Commandos (1969)

La legione dei dannati (original title)
Irish Colonel Charlie McPhearson has just had his platoon of twenty-eight slaughtered by German troops. Angered at his superiors for this suicide mission, he takes convicts on his next, ... See full summary »

Director:

Umberto Lenzi

Writers:

Stefano Rolla (story) (as Stefano Bolla), Romano Maschini (story) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Palance ... Col. Charley MacPherson
Thomas Hunter ... Capt. Kevin Burke
Claudio Undari ... Pvt. Raymond Stone (as Robert Hundar)
Wolfgang Preiss ... Col. Ackerman
Helmuth Schneider Helmuth Schneider ... Pvt. Sam Schrier
Guido Lollobrigida Guido Lollobrigida ... Pvt. Tom Carlyle (as Lee Burton)
Aldo Sambrell ... Sgt. Karim Habinda
Diana Lorys ... Janine
Franco Fantasia Franco Fantasia ... Schiwers, the French Maquis leader
Gérard Herter ... SS Lt. Hapke (as Gerard Herter)
Mirko Ellis Mirko Ellis ... Capt. Adler
Bruno Corazzari ... Pvt. Frank Madigan
Antonio Molino Rojo ... Pvt. Albert Hank (as Molino Rojo)
Lorenzo Robledo Lorenzo Robledo ... Pvt. Bernard Knowles
Curd Jürgens ... Gen. von Reilow (as Curd Jurgens)
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Storyline

Irish Colonel Charlie McPhearson has just had his platoon of twenty-eight slaughtered by German troops. Angered at his superiors for this suicide mission, he takes convicts on his next, along with fornicating American explosives technician Major Burke, to defuse underwater mines so that a commando squado can prepare for a June 10 invasion to destroy a tank gun. Because Colonel Ackerman, whose troops killed his last platoon, is the leader of the platoon in charge of the gun, McPhearson insists on trying to complete the commandos' mission. Written by Scott Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They Challenged the Devil... and Won!

Genres:

Action | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

12 August 1969 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle of the Commandos See more »

Filming Locations:

Denmark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Curd Jürgens (General von Reilow) and Wolfgang Preiss (Colonel Ackerman) previously appeared in The Longest Day (1962), which likewise depicted the D-Day landings. See more »

Quotes

Col. Charley MacPherson: [to his commanding officer] You pig! You dirty rotten *pig*! There were 28 of them, my whole squad. Dead, one by one, *all* of them! And it's ALL YOUR FAULT!
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Biggest Battle (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Underwhelming but watchable
20 June 2015 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

After seeing Attack, a great film featuring one of Jack Palance's best performances, war films and Palance seemed like an ideal combination. Legion of the Damned(aka Battle of the Commandos) disappoints however, there are some good things but it underwhelms on the whole due to budget limitations and careless directing.

Legion of the Damned's best components are the music score and the acting. The music is very rousing, and gives the film the tension and excitement that it is lacking in otherwise. The cast is a good one and they give credible performances, with Jack Palance being animated and grippingly hard-nosed(if a little too brutish for a leader), Thomas Hunter clearly having fun, Helmet Schneider heartfelt, Guido Lollobrigida charmingly roguish and Wolfgang Preiss authoritative. The film is not too badly paced, it certainly doesn't drag but it does at times feel rushed especially in the action, there are some great one-liners from McPherson and the conclusion is intense and moving.

It is a shame though that it is badly let down by the production values and the direction. The photography never rises above that for a low-budget late-60s-early-70s TV series(which I am not sure was not the look that was intended), the sets are sparse and dreary with even drearier lighting and the editing is very confused and so constantly rapid it's enough to make one dizzy. In all three cases, it is especially bad in the action. The same can be said with the direction too, which throughout is incredibly careless and the film fails to achieve momentum and suspense in the action outside of the conclusion due to the bad editing and the frantic pacing. The script has its moments definitely with some nice one-liners and makes some good points, but has an abruptly jumping about to the next point without developing everything feel and a lot of melodramatic talk that doesn't develop the characters enough. The anti-war statement intended well but came over as tacked on and muddled.

The characters are generally very one-dimensional, especially McPherson, with some even floating in and out of the story and action, and the story while not dull in pacing could have had more tension, suspense and excitement(which is why it underwhelms as a war film, and a higher budget, a slightly longer length and if the film on occasions had slowed down a tad would have helped) and could have been less jumpy and episodic.

Overall, underwhelming but watchable. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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