Written by / 5/29/2023 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

ROBERT ALDRICH'S WAR MISSION ENSEMBLE OF 'THE DIRTY DOZEN'

Charles Bronson and Jim Brown in THE DIRTY DOZEN Year: 1967 Rating: ***1/2

Both THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE DIRTY DOZEN have a lot in common yet are completely different as World War II adventure films... the first has a group of POW's escaping from the Germans while the second involves American convicts training to enter Germany, as both somewhat awkwardly balance comedy with drama, and, while entertaining popcorn time-fillers, they're predictably and painfully mainstream...

While ESCAPE centered on many men hoping to tunnel out, only a handful are centered on, which happens with DOZEN: but THE DIRTY HALF-DOZEN lacks the catchy alliteration...

Lee Marvin in THE DIRTY DOZEN

And we only center on that many of the death-row inmates — all promised full pardons if they complete a borderline suicide-mission by sneaking into a German castle to kill Nazi officers and their women...

Yet the true star is of course the leader, Lee Marvin, given the task by upward military brass (including a horribly cliche Robert Ryan) while igniting a career of strong-silent-leads after decades of playing the kind of mouthy, offbeat, vicious thugs who work for him here...

Charles Bronson, Clint Walker, Donald Sutherland & Jim Brown in THE DIRTY DOZEN

Including two characters very much alike, and not all that bad, in Charles Bronson and Jim Brown, both hardly guilty in the first place, contrasting with genuinely dangerous scoundrels like Telly Savalas as a born-again psychopath and overall scene-stealer John Cassavetes as Franco, who, through constant complaints, has even Marvin admitting to cohort Ralph Meeker "I love Franco" for bringing the men together...

Most of the humor occurs during the first half at the makeshift mission-training boot camp and war games, also including Donald Sutherland as the token dumbbell, just clever enough to pull off a truly hilarious moment of impersonating a General — almost as if he'd seen enough war movies to parody them...

John Cassavetes and Clint Walker in THE DIRTY DOZEN

Meanwhile gentle-giant Clint Walker's the strongest, most humble and extremely likeable, yet we never actually learn his fate, representing the biggest problem of an epic cut into two overlong halves: the first getting comfortable with these characters, and the second practically losing them altogether in a mission too darkly-lit and strategically convoluted for the audience to properly keep score...

Then, at the very end, Cassavetes celebrates surviving... until he doesn't... and the fact only straight-laced citizens Marvin, Bronson and military camp counselor Richard Jaekel remain alive underlines how director Robert Aldrich ultimately fails to genuinely develop his flawed yet endearing anti-heroes — maybe if DOZEN came out a decade later, there'd be far more DIRTY realism instead of what feels like your father's movie... even when it first came out.

Clint Walker and Jim Brown in THE DIRTY DOZEN
John Cassavetes in THE DIRTY DOZEN
Lee Marvin in THE DIRTY DOZEN
John Cassavetes in THE DIRTY DOZEN with Ben Carruthers
John Cassavetes in THE DIRTY DOZEN with Donald Sutherland and Trini Lopez
Charles Bronson in THE DIRTY DOZEN with Big House USA cellmate Ralph Meeker
Jim Brown in THE DIRTY DOZEN with Charles Bronson
Telly Savales in THE DIRTY DOZEN
Charles Bronson in THE DIRTY DOZEN
The whole DIRTY DOZEN including John Cassavetes

Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

All Time Popular

Featured Post

ZEPPO/MARX BROTHERS PRESENTATION 'ANIMAL CRACKERS'

Title: ANIMAL CRACKERS Year: 1930 Rating: *** The Marx Brothers ANIMAL CRACKERS is basically their hangout movie, seeming like a grand Broad...

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

RIP ACTOR KEN HUTCHISON

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "Everyone who drinks is not a poet... Some of us drink because we're not poets." Dudley Moore, Arthur

FILM NOIR & NEO NOIR CRIME

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)OTLEY 2)HELL IS A CITY 3)ROBBERY 4)THE FEARMAKERS 5)CANYON PASSAGE 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)HOT CARS 8)JUNGLE STREET 9)THE CROWDED SKY 10)THE ROARING TWENTIES 11) ANATOMY OF A MURDER 12)SHARKS' TREASURE 13)SWEENEY TWO 14)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 15)HARDCORE 16)THE BREAK 17)WHITE HEAT 18)AL CAPONE 19)HIDDEN FEAR 20)FALLEN ANGEL 21)HOUSE OF STRANGERS 22)THE ASPHALT JUNGLE 23)ASH WEDNESDAY 24)THE SYSTEM 25)AIR PATROL 26)THE STONE KILLER 27)EASY LIVING 28)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 29)FRENZY 30)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)STANLEY BAKER 4)MARLON BRANDO 5)CHARLES BRONSON1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)VAL GUEST 4)STANLEY KUBRICK 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)ORSON WELLES 7)JOHN GUILLERMAN 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)JOHN CARPENTER 10)MICHAEL WINNER

BRITISH NEW WAVE CINEMA

RARITIES AND EXPLOITATION

HAMMER HORROR & THRILLER

Popular This Month

CHARLES BRONSON CINEMA

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

PEAKING INTO THE SIXTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

REVVING THE SEVENTIES

FOR HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS

Most Popular Last Year

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE