1960s Where Eagles Dare (1969)

Published on November 8th, 2007 | by Chris

1

Where Eagles Dare (1969)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On November 8, 2007
Last modified:October 6, 2012

Summary:

Where Eagles Dare might be on a lot of "must see" classic war movie lists, but not mine. I just couldn't bring myself to like it. It's just too long and involved, trying to be a complicated mystery/espionage thriller, only to turn out to be a lame formula action chase in the end.

Where Eagles Dare (1969)Alright! An epic, classic, World War II flick with Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton! This has to be good!

Well, I have to admit to never seeing Where Eagles Dare until last night.  And I have to say I was very underwhelmed by the whole thing.  A lot of "lists" put this near the top of the all-time war movie classics, and I just don't get it.

Why? Because frankly the whole thing is quite, well, tedious.  Major Smith (Richard Burton) gets tapped to head a top secret commando raid on a German castle high atop a mountain in the Alps, reachable only by cable car.  Lt. Schaffer (Clint Eastwood) is the only American in the bunch.  Why really isn't made clear.  I think it was mentioned, but it really isn't clear at all.

Well they parachute in, followed covertly by another British agent, one Mary Ellison (Mary Ure.)  Why this was done in total secrecy, even from the group isn't obvious, nor is it explained, but until the big "reveal" its one of those things you wonder about.

Anyway.  They manage to worm their way into the village at the foot of the mountain, and find out they've been discovered.  Two of their team have been mysteriously killed before, and then they up and turn themselves in.

There's more cloak and dagger stuff, as Smith meets up with his inside contact, Heidi (Jawhol!... I mean, Ingrid Pitt) who helps Mary to infiltrate the castle separately.  Unfortunately she attracts the attention of the local Gestapo stooge, who seems to sense something is wrong.

Well, this and that happens, and Smith and Schaffer end up around the dinner table in a totally confusing game of Clue with their German adversaries.  Really, if you didnt' know what was happening until now, even a little, your head will explode as Smith creates about five different stories about what is actually going on.  Only some of it is true, namely that the three remaining enlisted men in their group are *all* German agents.  (Whoops! Spoiled it!)  Sigh.  And thus concludes about the most interesting part of the movie.

From there we spend roughly an hour plus getting out of the castle, with numerous shootouts and explosions, and any number of extremely bad-with-a-gun Germans getting knocked off while our heroes escape with only a scratch.  There's lots of shots of Germans running about, yelling in German.  Lots of it.  Really during this last part you really start to wonder when its going to end.  At least the first half, before the "dinner table" scene, you were trying to follow the twists in the plot.  Afterwards it just gets mechanical.  And in the end we wind up on the same plane the team flew in on, for the anti-climactic big reveal....

Yes there is the infamous cable car scene, which really isn't all I was expecting it to be.

So overall I can't say it was a great experience.  Burton is his usual staid and stoic self, as is Eastwood.  And the soundtrack, man I've not heard a more pomp-and-circumstance (not in a good way) theme.  Ever.  I think it must've served as the inspiration for the main theme to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" as well, as I kept waiting for the obligatory airy trumpet blast, the two are that similar.

Where Eagles Dare might be on a lot of "must see" classic war movie lists, but not mine.  I just couldn't bring myself to like it.  It's just too long and involved, trying to be a complicated mystery/espionage thriller, only to turn out to be a lame formula action chase in the end.

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Description

TENSE AND SUSPENSEFUL WORLD WAR II ADVENTURE IN WHICH TWO ALLIESMUST RESCUE A CAPTURED AMERICAN GENERAL BEING HELD IN A FORTIFIED GERMAN CASTLE BEFORE THE NAZIS GET SECRET INFO ON HIM.

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Richard Burton
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Mary Ure
  • Patrick Wymark
  • Michael Hordern

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to see this movie with a GERMAN vocal track, plus other languages, in a beautiful new released version? Wait no longer!, July 11, 2017
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is for "Where Eagles Dare" in Blu-Ray, Region-Free -- with GERMAN as a spoken language, including English and several other Western European spoken languages, too. Also, subtitles in foreign languages, also. This version of the movie was released just a few weeks ago, but I have waited for this for decades!

I have hoped that somehow, someone would finally release this movie with a GERMAN vocal track, and that is exactly what this Blu-ray version does. Not only that, but the video transfer is excellent and does not suffer at all from some of the strange "darkening" of scenes that are often noted in some older Blu-ray video transfers. The images are clean and rich, and the soundtrack is excellent also.

That one scene in the castle where the two SS officers (one is "Major" von Hapen, and the other is "Colonel" Kramer) go at each other because of the growing intrigue surrounding the capture and upcoming interrogation of... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, May 27, 2017
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Where Eagles Dare (Amazon Video)
A major achievement, one of the few movies that grabs you from the onset, always interesting, always entertaining, nothing short of epic. Best war movie to date? Quite possibly. But you don't have to be a war movie fan to enjoy, it's just an excellent flick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great WWII Action Mystery Thriller, September 7, 2015
By 
Robert C. Jones (Alameda, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Where Eagles Dare (DVD)
This movie was based on an Alastair McLean novel, and it lived up to hype. I have always been a fan of Alastair McLean and read most of his books over the years, many of which were made into movies. There's always a great deal of excitement with action, mystery, intrigue, twisted plot lines and a little romance thrown in for good measure. Great sets and special effects, long before CGI, and very good acting. I would recommend this to anyone who is tired of the same old over-the-top and mindless CGI instilled movies that seem to dominate the screens these days. I like the new movies, don't get me wrong, but I like a good story-line also. And you can hear the actors speak over the soundtrack as opposed to most current movies converted to DVD today where the music drowns out the voice track (it's not that way in the theater, but somehow when the transfer process to DVD takes place, the sound mix gets out of balance).
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Where Eagles Dare (1969) Chris

Summary: Where Eagles Dare might be on a lot of "must see" classic war movie lists, but not mine. I just couldn't bring myself to like it. It's just too long and involved, trying to be a complicated mystery/espionage thriller, only to turn out to be a lame formula action chase in the end.

2.6


User Rating: 4.6 (1 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



One Response to Where Eagles Dare (1969)

  1. kevin says:

    One of the best, Period.

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