Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
1943, The war is entering its final stages and Germany is teetering on the brink of defeat. An increasingly unhinged Hitler, orders a mission to have British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill kidnapped and brought to Germany. The plan seems ludicrous in the extreme, but a message sent from a German spy in the Norfolk countryside makes one German officer realize that such a mission may just feasible.Written by
In his autobiography, Sir Michael Caine confessed to being somewhat disappointed with the end product: "The picture was being directed by the Hollywood old-timer John Sturges, and we were all very pleased that this illustrious veteran had agreed to direct our film. That is, until one day when I was talking to him between set-ups and he informed me that, now that he was older, he only ever worked to get the money to go fishing, which was his passion. Deep-sea fishing off Baja, California, he added, which was very expensive. The moment the picture finished, he took the money and went. Producer Jack S. Wiener later told me that he never came back for the editing nor for any of the other post-production sessions that are where a director does some of his most important work. The picture wasn't bad, but I still get angry when I think of what it could have been with the right director. We had committed the old European sin of being impressed by someone, just because he came from Hollywood." See more »
When the American soldiers are carrying out their final assault on the church, one of them throws himself against a tombstone, which wobbles noticeably. See more »
[WWII News Story]
September 12, 1943, German paratroopers snatched Mussolini from his mountaintop prison in Italy.
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The UK video version of this movie (once available on Channel 5/Spectrum sell thru) is missing roughly 12 minutes of footage. This material can be found in the version screened by the BBC, although the 'beeb' decided to censor two brief scenes of violence (after Grey shoots Pitts, there's a quick shot of blood covering his face and a U.S. soldier having his shoulder shot while a colleague pronounces "son of a bitch"; both of these are in the shorter video version and the Artisan Region 1 DVD). The following omissions occur in the video:
Radl and Karl walking to map room, putting map on wall (this follows Radl saying "where is Studley Constable")
Liam walking into churchyard, then church, meeting Father Vereker and Pamela (following the pub scene)
Long, important dialogue scene with Liam, Grey and Steiner discussing their motives (following the maneuvers scene) (Part of this scene is on the Artisan DVD Region 1, but it's very short)
Pitts telling his men to "put that windshield down, and give me some hand grenades" (following the war office disagreement) (This scene is on the Artisan DVD Region 1)
Pitts looking through binoculars, putting white flag on jeep and negotiating with a German, whilst his men get into position (after Clark stops Churchill) (This scene is on the Artisan DVD Region 1)
Brief shot of a German soldier playing music on church organ (This scene is NOT on the Artisan DVD Region 1)
Brief shot of above German soldier, dead slumped over organ (This scene is on the Artisan DVD Region 1)
Radl and Karl outside in Alderney (after Steiner and Devlin depart) (This scene is on the Artisan DVD Region 1)
Two U.S. soldiers send dogs into a hut after Devlin, then Devlin using his dog whistle trick (after Steiner knocks soldier unconscious). (This scene is on the Artisan DVD Region 1)
Generally gets the thumbs-up, but has a couple of slightly disappointing features.
Based on a best-selling tall story by Jack Higgins, and featuring an all-star cast that must've cost half the budget just to get to sign up for the project, The Eagle Has Landed is an enjoyable but slightly overlong wartime actioner.
German soldier Max Radl (Robert Duvall) comes up with an audacious plot to deliver a devastating blow to the Allied forces by kidnapping Winston Churchill from a Norfolk village. A team of deadly German spies, led by Kurt Steiner (Michael Caine), are smuggled into England to carry out this sinister scheme. Aided by an Irish mercenary (Donald Sutherland), the German forces rapidly and ruthlessly close in on their target. Only an inexperienced American garrison, posted in a quiet corner of Norfolk, can stand in the way of a devastating German victory.
The Eagle Has Landed is one of the few films where the all-star cast doesn't have a detrimental effect. In films like A Bridge Too Far and The Longest Day, the presence of so many stars actually results in a game of "star-spotting", and this diverts the audience's attention away from important plot developments. In The Eagle Has Landed, each actor brings depth and charisma to their strongly written roles (especially Sutherland as the devious Irish rogue, and Duvall as an eye-patch wearing Nazi). This film's faults lie elsewhere. The opening hour and a quarter goes on rather too much and ought to have been trimmed by at least fifteen minutes. Also, the plot rides its luck with increasingly less likely, less plausible developments (especially the unpersuasive "twist" ending). For these reasons, The Eagle Has Landed isn't quite the excellent film you might be hoping for. What it is, however, is an enjoyable, well-acted and very watchable slice of escapism.
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