What: War dramady from 1967
Starring: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Trini Lopez, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Clint Walker, Robert Webber, Donald Southerland.
General Plot: Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) is assigned a dozen army convicts to train and send on a mass assassination mission behind enemy lines in World War II.
My Thoughts: I LOVE this film! Its sooooo good (rotten tomatoes gives it a 96%). It’s full of comedy and tragedy and action drama. What I love most about movies from this era is that no matter what they are, musical, drama, sci-fi there is always a healthy dose of comedy in the mix.
I really enjoy the ensemble cast; it reminds you of Oceans 11 (the original or the remake). However Lee Marvin is definitely the main character and many of the dozen don’t really get showcased. I’ve seen this movie many times and I still can’t remember which one Jiminez is.
One character that I don’t understand at all is Telly Savalas’s character, Archer Maggott. I suppose I’ll just have to assume he’s a psychopath. He certainly comes across that way. For instance *spoiler alert* the entire mission almost gets blown when he decides to maliciously go after a German fraulein.
This was one of Jim Browns movie debuts. His roll is small, but not unimportant. I like when a celebrity of a different profession wants to get their feet wet in acting they chose relatively small roles, so as not to embarrass themselves like Dwayne Johnson in “The Scorpion King”.
Donald Southerland seems to play a little bit of a retard in this movie, im not being insensitive to the handicapped people in the world, I’m being serious. His character seems to have some sort of mental retardation, but that doesn’t stop one of our favorite canucks from stealing the show.
Over all its fantastic, I can’t think of anything besides Archer Maggott that I don’t like about this film. It may be a money grabber, according to Lee Marvin, but that doesn’t make it any less good (i.e. Iron Man). It’s more funny than action packed or dramatic, but it’s a good boys film. The ensemble casting is great. I think it works because “the dozen” is a character unto itself rather than each one being highlighted. However there are about 4 characters from the dozen who you get to know and learn to love.
Watch it, I own it, I love it. It’s my secret weapon to get my hubby to like classic films.
If you liked this you’ll also like “Kelly’s Heroes”, you make recognize some faces.
George Kennedy, Clint Walker, Ernest Borgnine and Jim Brown reunited in 1998 to play voices in “Small Soldiers”.
Charles Bronson’s characters says that his father is a coal miner from Silesia, Poland. In real life Bronson’s father was a coal miner from Lithuania.
The Scene where one of the “Dozen” poses as a General was supposed to go to Clint Walker. However Walker was a little bit too much like his character and felt uncomfortable doing this scene. So it was given to Donald Sutherland. This scene got Sutherland the role in M*A*S*H.