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PETER O'TOOLE 'THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS' TOM COURTENAY

Véronique Vendell catches the wicked eye of Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS Year: 1967
The fact that a movie from the producer of and two main leads from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and another David Lean-directed actor, Tom Courtenay, from the epic followup that also starred Omar Sharif, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, was just a pretty-good and not a really-great motion picture is probably why "all the hate" has been given for THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS throughout the years...

And while spending far too much of that hefty run-time making for too long a movie in general, it's still a neat cinematic experience, especially the narrowed last half as a reluctant Courtenay's put in passive charge of driving/escorting bloodthirsty Nazi general Peter O'Toole around occupied yet art-inspired Paris: He's one of three German Generals that could be the murderer of a female German spy, unseen in the movie's expository prologue...
Peter O'Toole and Tom Courtenay enter a long third act of THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Presenting an extremely farfetched premise, being that a Polish citizen who witnessed "a man in General's clothing" exiting the apartment/crime scene would be taken seriously enough for any of these very high-ranking Nazis... also including a timid, cautious Donald Pleasence and classy, confident Charles Gray (whose anti-war daughter Joanna Pettet winds up in bed with Courtenay early on)... to have anything to worry about in the first, second or third place...

Yet our central investigator, a German officer played by mild-mannered yet task-driven Omar Sharif, is so in love with old school law and order, that that alone makes the primary plot more bearable — albeit one that quickly detours into an overkill of flashbacks and flash-forwards during and after the Second World War, making it hard for the casual viewer to keep score, which this NIGHT OF obviously isn't catered to or made for...
Titular Generals Donald Pleasence, Peter O'Toole and Charles Gray in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
It's a film buff's film... a movie's movie... hence the unpopularity being "no David Lean masterpiece" despite ARABIA producer Sam Spiegel hiring a capable enough director in Anatole Litvak to juggle various characters throughout random backroom dealings...

And of course the dream cast that, as mentioned, once dwindled down to bogus war hero Courtenay and quietly-twisted O'Toole (and featuring Peter's voluptuous BECKET babe Véronique Vendell, again as a whore), the suspense is heightened while everything becomes more contained and clear...
Omar Sharif spends deathly wartime with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERAL Rates: ****
Leaving all the distractions (like an irritating subplot into the failed assassination attempt of Hitler featuring "special guest star" Christopher Plummer as Rommel) to pale to O'Toole and Courtenay, making for one of... or actually, two of... the greatest odd couples to ever grace the screen.

Perhaps THREE DAYS OF THE CORPORAL AND GENERAL would be a more suitable title: After all, they collectively sum up what really works here, generally speaking.
Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Tom Courtenay in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Véronique Vendell with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Véronique Vendell with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Véronique Vendell with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Tom Courtenay with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Tom Courtenay with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Omar Sharif with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Omar Sharif investigates THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Omar Sharif with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Tom Courtenay and Donald Pleasence in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Tom Courtenay with Peter O'Toole in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
The beautiful Joanna Pettet sexes up in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Tom Courtenay and Joanna Pettet in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Robert Brownjohn opening credit sequence for NIGHT OF THE GENERALS
Peter O'Toole leads Tom Courtenay to a conclusion in THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS

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