It’s been a while since I’ve seen the cool eyed Clint Eastwood on my screen, here in an earlier film, that combines the antic of a civil war skit with WWII, giving you Kelly’s Heroes (1970). When a luck private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) come across a German colonel he doesn’t know it but her has hit the jack-pot, of course once he has him plied with alcohol, the colonel will say anything. Revealing that a bar in his bag was in fact made of gold, he digs for more information. A bank deep within enemy lines has to be looted.
And so a troop of soldiers who have moved back to a safe distance hear of this plan, it takes some persuading on the part of MSgt. Big Joe (Telly Savalas) who believes its too dangerous to go deep over enemy lines to rob a bank. Still it doesn’t take much persuading for others such as Sgt. Oddball (Donald Sutherland) with a cool head is ready for action. And supplies officer SSgt. Crapgame (Don Rickles) who cannot pass up the chance for some action in the field. After pulling in some much-needed favours they know how much they are really playing for, $16,000,000 and equally shared.
They only need MSgt. Big Joe to get on board, after finding his men ready to take up the opportunity of a lifetime, With a few days leave at their disposal they have seize the day, arm themselves and head out with ideas of wealth, able to but whatever they can dream of.
Of course the journey doesn’t come without its danger, from friendly fire to fields riddled with mines, the war is very much still at the forefront on the film. These men who multiply in number are escaping the daily routine of the advancement through France to Berlin. Amongst the cast of men there is great on-screen chemistry, especially from Rickles, Savalis and Eastwood. But for me the stand-out performance which may have been influenced by the period in which the film was made, came from Sutherland who made his character his own, breaking from the norm of soldier to be a maverick, complete with his own Sherpa’s, a stroke of genius.
Confusing is going on with the top-brass in the field who have noticed things going missing, regiments breaking off together, which they just can’t account for. Until they hear the ‘coded’ radio conversations, a re-ignition of enthusiasm to help win the war. When in fact a gun-hoe bank robbery is going on under theirs and the Nazi’s noses.
An action packed war film that breaks from the tradition of just attacking the enemy to become a comic robbery filled with great characters and action sequences, of course giving the Germans what for again. It’s escapism for both the men at war and the audience who want something different from the genre.
- Clint Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’ Casts Johnny Cannizzaro And Mike Doyle (m.deadline.com)
- Telly Savalas: Who Loves Ya, Baby? (writingasaprofession.wordpress.com)