This movie is the only screen credit as an Associate Producer for Maurice Binder, who is most well-known for being a Title Designer in movies particularly for his signature work on James Bond movies. Binder though did not do the titles for this movie. See more »
During WW II a guide has to try to pass a nuclear scientist and his family over the Pyrenees into Spain but are mercilessly purseud by an SS-officer.
This sounds rather as your mainstream war movie of the week and as it stars Anthony Quinn, James Mason, Christopher Lee and directed by the seasoned Jack Lee Thompson, so what could go wrong ? Well quite a lot as it turns out. First there is the SS-officer, so over the top played by Malcom McDowell you are almost thinking its Alex from "A Clockwork Orange" in a Nazi-uniform. McDowell tortures, kills, rapes, sets people on fire, lets his own wounded men die in the snow; there is no end to his sadism. But it is quite an interesting, if not very frightening character and McDowell obviously very much enjoyed playing him. There is no doubt Quentin Tarantino has seen this film as there is even some Hans Lamda lurking there.
But what I found equally rather strange is that TP has the look and feel of some sixties war adventure movie, even the music reminded me of this (and is totally out of place with the rather horrific mood of the film). It has many an audience put off, as it only played one week in the US and did not do much better in Europe.
There existed a VHS version but no DVD for a very long time. Apparently now there is a Blu-Ray version available.
The end is also very confusing. I do remember (but it's a long time ago) from the VHS one a different ending, rather straightforward and not with the very bizarre twists in the version I caught on YouTube (HD-format). The trivia section mentions that even 3 different endings were filmed so there you go.
A very strange war movie for its time but somehow well worth a watch, if the large amount of brutalities doesn't scare you off.
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