Where Eagles Dare

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Director:                Brian G. Hutton
Writing credits:    Alistair MacLean -
Book, story and screenplay
Producers:            Denis Holt
                               Elliott Kastner
                               Jerry Gershwin
Music:                    Ron Goodwin


All images are


A ‘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".

Today 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.

The 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…

Leading 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).

Unfortunately 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.

Two 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.

Eastwood 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)

'You seem to have a lot of women stashed around this country, Major'







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Where eagles dare