World War II is raging, and an American general has been captured and is being held hostage in the Schloss Adler, a Bavarian castle that's nearly impossible to breach. It's up to a group of skilled Allied soldiers to liberate the general before it's too late.
Major, right now you got me about as confused as I ever hope to be.
Directed by Brian G. Hutton and adapted to the screen from his own novel by Alistair MacLean, Where Eagles Dare stars Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Music is scored by Ron Goodwin and cinematography is by Arthur Ibbetson.
A small group of allied agents are sent on a mission to rescue a Allied General from a Nazi castle stronghold. But there is more than what meets the eye here...
Boys own men on a mission in grandiose strokes, MacLean's complex story makes for riveting and exciting entertainment. The story twists and turns like a Python on acid, thus requiring full attention to conversational details is very much advised. And yet joyously it's the fun and kinetic action that holds the most attention, especially for what is quite an explosive and thrilling last third of picture. There are stunts galore amongst the Austrian Alps (beautifully photographed by Ibbetson), and as the espionage hokum reaches its crescendo status, so does the kinetic carnage, with the makers wasting no opportunity to blow everything up.
Burton is classy and enjoying himself, Eastwood laconic and cool, while good support comes from Mary Ure (great to have a well written spunky female lead), Patrick Wymark, Michael Hordern and Donald Houston. The running time is a touch too long as MacLean's prose is given weighty treatment for extended chatter, and some back projection work feels unnecessarily cheap for such a grand production, but this is good old machismo fuelled classic cinema regardless. 9/10
Jerry Gershwin Productions, Elliott Kastner Productions, Winkast Film Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Brian G. Hutton, Alistair MacLean.
Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure, Patrick Wymark.
Genres: Action, Adventure, War
Keywords: germany mountain world war ii liberation of prisoners bavaria, germany nazi castle parachute two man army infiltration explosion alps commando mission cable car 1940s sidecar fall from height
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