During World War II, a British aircraft is shot down and crashes in Nazi held territory. The Germans capture the only survivor, American Brigadier General George Carnaby (Robert Beatty), and take him to the nearest S.S. headquarters. Unknown to the Germans, the General has full knowledge of the D-Day operation. The British decide that the General must not be allowed to divulge any details of the Normandy landing at all costs, and order Major Jonathan Smith (Richard Burton) to lead a crack commando team to rescue him. Amongst the team is an American Ranger, Lieutenant Morris Schaffer (Clint Eastwood), who is puzzled by his inclusion in an all British operation. When one of the team dies after the parachute drop, Schaffer suspects that Smith's mission has a much more secret objective.Written by
Dave Jenkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The part of Lieutenant Morris Schaffer was also offered to Lee Marvin, but he declined, telling the producers they were about four years too late. Marvin had already starred in a World War II action-adventure, "The Dirty Dozen (1967)," which he hated. Although it made him a huge star, he did not want to return to that type of movie. See more »
Throughout most of the film, Smith refers to Schaffer as "Lieutenant," using the British pronunciation "lef-tenant." But in the final scene in the airplane, he uses the American pronunciation "loo-tenant." See more »
The original release running 158 minutes had an Intermission and Entre'acte that have been skipped from many video releases (including the DVD release from Warner), resulting in a 155 minute version. This has induced a fade-out and fade-in of the music in the scenes preceding and following. The intermission was originally placed after Lt. Schaeffer sets the explosives in the interrogation room. See more »
Critics generally compare "Where Eagles Dare" unfavorably to "The Guns of Navarone." As usual, the critics are wrong.
"Navarone" has many virtues, but too much talk and high-mindedness slow down the story. Anthonys Quayle and Quinn are wonderful, but Gregory Peck comes off as more of an Oxford don than a world-renowned mountaineer and David Niven, playing surely the oldest corporal in the British forces,.proves an insufferable bore. "Eagles", on the other hand, dispenses with the moralizing claptrap and serves up non-stop action. Although it's running time is approximately the same as "Navarone's", it never seems as long and you never feel the characters are trying to make a point, except with their machine pistols.
Of course "Eagles" greatest strong points are Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. By 1968 Burton had eschewed the serious parts for the big money and the critics crucified him for selling out. Well, in this case I'm glad he did since he's superb as team leader Major Smith. Burton projects an aura of invincible self-confidence. He's rather reserved much of the time, but you never doubt his engagement. This is a man who simply won't be defeated. Peck's stuffy, diffident performance in "Navarone" pales by comparison. And Eastwood, though hardly Burton's equal as an actor, is Dirty Harry in boot camp - his Schaffer will kill you sooner than look at you, and it doesn't hurt that he looks great too.
"Eagles" also has a better villain than anyone in "Navarone", superior scenery, and a far superior score. Ron Goodwin's theme has been etched in my mind for over 30 years, but I can't remember a note from "Navarone's."
Perhaps the greatest World War Two adventure film of all time. Less realistic than a James Bond movie, but outstanding escapist entertainment.
21 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this