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MICHAEL WINNER DIRECTS OLIVER REED IN 'HANNIBAL BROOKS'

Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS Year: 1969 Rating: ***1/2

Short, quirky, extremely offbeat Michael J. Pollard is like a novelty song of an actor, with BONNIE AND CLYDE his one big hit while in other movies, such as Michael Winner's fourth collaboration with Oliver Reed, HANNIBAL BROOKS, he doesn't really fit at all... 

Although he's almost deliberately cast against type as a gung-ho explosives-expert leading partisans around to kill Germans, and since Reed himself hardly seems part of World War II, both work together comfortably enough in a hybrid of road movie, comedy and action/adventure where Reed, a POW in Germany... after conveniently working in a German zoo... takes a prized elephant across enemy lines into, eventually, Switzerland... 

Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS

And there's hardly any pressure to think otherwise — although it's not an entirely happy ending for some of the humans including a bad German, a good German and a lovely Polish ingenue (meanwhile Reed & Winner's THE SYSTEM co-star John Alterton turns up with POW-Cinema legend James Donald)...

Overall the usually bombastic Reed seems passive and indifferent towards war, catered to the Vietnam-era audience as Winner overindulges in zoom shots, the camera rocketing forward and back — yet mostly to showcase the Austrian woodsy locales that, like that elephant, provides a nifty backdrop for a decent time-filler.

Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS with bad German Peter Carsten
Karin Baal in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Karin Baal in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Karin Baal in HANNIBAL BROOKS
James Donald in HANNIBAL BROOKS with John Alderton
James Donald in HANNIBAL BROOKS
James Donald in HANNIBAL BROOKS
James Donald in HANNIBAL BROOKS with Michael J. Pollard
Oliver Reed, John Alderton and John Porter-Davison, Michael J. Pollard in Hannibal Brooks
James Donald in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Helmuth Lohner, Oliver Reed, John Alderton and John Porter-Davison in Hannibal Brooks
The System actors Oliver Reed, John Alderton and John Porter-Davison in Hannibal Brooks
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS
Oliver Reed in HANNIBAL BROOKS

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