Published on August 1st, 2008 | by Chris2
Inglorious Bastards (Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato, 1978)
"Whatever the Dirty Dozen did they do it dirtier!"
Well, I don't know about that. I do know that the Italian made 70's B-movie campfest Inglorious Bastards was surprisingly a lot of fun. This despite an obvious low-budget production, mediocre writing, and even more mediocre acting. Hey, this is late 70s cheese at its finest. I can see why Quentin Tarantino is looking at remaking this, its right up his alley. I suspect his will be even more cheesy, though, as he has a tendency to amplify this sort of thing... Anyway!
Our band of GI prisoners escape their transport in 1944 France. Led by the rogue Lt. Yeager (Bo Svenson), and featuring Fred Williamson (of Black Caesar, and MASH fame) as the cocky killer Canfield.... plus tagalongs Tony (Peter Hooten), the cleptomaniac Nick (Michael Pergolani), and the shell-shocked Berle (Jackie Basehart). From there they try to fight their way to Switzerland, and presumably freedom. Along the way they pick up an escaped German criminal-slash-escapee, Adolf (Raimund Harmstorf).
What they don't expect is to have to kill a band of US commandos disguised as Germans, and then wind up executing the very mission those commandos were set to do. Namely steal the gyro from an experimental V2 warhead from a train.
I'm not going to pull any punches here. If you're after another Saving Private Ryan or the like, this definitely isn't it. The action borders on the just-plain-silly as our heroes literally shoot from the hip at every given opportunity, spraying the Germans with their bottomless clips, making corny one-liner jokes as they go.
What makes it so great is that it doesn't take itself seriously, at all. Its supposed to be a cheesy, crummy, B-movie shoot-em-up, and in that respect it comes through in flying colors. Throw in a little (OK, maybe more than a litte) gratuitous female nudity (you can't make this stuff up!), an equally cheesy love story (what is that?) and you've got a hit!
And actually, the final battle scene, where they attack the train, isn't all that bad!! I have to say that its one of the better war movie action sequences I've seen!
I'm almost ashamed to say I enjoyed it as much as I did. Knowing the entire time that, yeah, its bad. But its bad in a good way, if that makes any sense at all.
Inglorious Bastards won't go down in the annals of history as a war movie classic, for so many reasons, but it sure is a lot of plain old fun. You can tell that Svenson and Williamson had a lot of fun making this picture, at times they just barely hide a (theres that word again) cheesy grin as they know exactly what they're doing.
And yes, for some damnable reason you have to put up with that unfortunate Italian audio/dubbing sync issue. Some times its worse than others, but you get used to it. The effects at times show their low budget nature quite plainly, such as the model train station exploding at the end, and the model Messerschmidt near the beginning.
Bonus! I think from now on I'll add clips where I can find them....
Summary: Inglorious Bastards won't go down in the annals of history as a war movie classic, for so many reasons, but it sure is a lot of plain old fun. You can tell that Svenson and Williamson had a lot of fun making this picture, at times they just barely hide a (theres that word again) cheesy grin as they know exactly what they're doing.