‘boys own’ film that has been both loved and hated by reviewers,
film goers and critics alike. Some people believe that it’s not
realistic enough (the helicopter scene or how much explosives the team
seem to have) – however this film is not meant to be fully historically
accurate – let’s not forget it IS a FILM. Adapted from the
Alistair MacClean book and gaining it's title from Shakespeare's
play Richard III
from Act I, Scene III in :
"The world is grown so bad, that wrens make
prey where eagles dare not perch".
when we have propaganda docu-films from Michael Moore which claim to
forwarding the liberal agenda though truth telling and yet are Riefenstahlesque
– well this film stacks up just fine then.
premise involves a secret Allied mission of seven expert men, hand-picked
by militarily intelligence to rescue an American general from the Germans.
Unfortunately the castle is high in the Bavarian alps (the ‘Schlossaddler’
Castle of Eagles) and happens to be the headquarters of the SS in that
area. Scene set for some fun…
the action are Major Smith (Richard Burton) and Lt. Schaffer (Clint
Eastwood) with a great supporting cast of the lovely Ingrid Pitt as
Heidi, Sir Michael Hordern as Admiral Rolland, Patrick Wymark as Colonel
Turner and the incredibly sexy Mary Ure (who in real life passed away
in her early 40’s).
things never quite go to plan and within the first 20 mins of the film
the team realise that they have a traitor in their midst and from then
on the twists and turns come thick and fast. The movie then becomes
somewhat of a spy drama (which I honestly feel doesn’t detract
from it) and you really have no idea where it will end up.
action scenes deserve special attention – the first is the teams
ascent to the castle on top of a cable car and the second is when Smith
ends up grappling in a cable car on the way down – clearly he
didn’t pay for a ski pass! Dramatically an interrogation scene
is beautifully done and I won’t spoil the nature of it but few
actions could pull it off with the belief that Richard Burton can bring
to a role. There is not the same characterisation as you would find
in some films – but the main characters are believable and you
will find yourself rooting for them in the last 1/3.
gets a lot of the humourous lines in the movie and at one point she
says to Burton (bearing in mind they're in the middle of the Alps)
seem to have a lot of women stashed around this country, Major'