Kelly’s Heroes (1970)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA/, 1970. , , , . Screenplay by . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

A platoon of American soldiers fighting Nazis in the French countryside have their fortunes of war turned to thoughts of great fortune when a captured German officer indicates the existence of a store of gold bullion that has been left piled up in a bank vault.

Recenty demoted lieutenant convinces platoon leader to ignore their orders for their next maneuver in order to go after the loot instead, but the gold is behind enemy lines, which means the mission will be a difficult one. Taking on the assistance of a rather anachronistic hippy soldier (, of course) and his fleet of Sherman tanks, a band of misfits under Eastwood’s guidance make their way through battlefields littered with land mines and the odd stand off with the enemy in pursuit of wealth, with casualties and new challenges popping up at every step of the way.

Made during an era when sitcom-flavoured humour was frequently applied to depictions of World War II, this film clearly means to capitalize on the success of The Dirty Dozen with an ironic tone only possible after Vietnam and the co-opting of Sutherland once again playing the odd man out. What it lacks to make it as good as its predecessors, however, is an assortment of memorable characters, with Eastwood’s usually charismatic personality washed off screen by a dull script that gives him little more than his protagonist function to fulfill, and no interesting conflicts with the series of familiar stock types surrounding him.

Like Savalas, cast members and were also on the verge of highly memorable television careers, but don’t expect too much from their presence either, only go for this one if its familiarity is appealing to you, or if you want to watch an endless series of admittedly well executed battle sequences.

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