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With World War II coming to an end less than 25 years earlier the fashion by the film studios to release war films was getting quite intense given the nature and the fact that the films told the stories of actual events. Even though the majority of the films such as Battle of Britain and The Great Escape were based on true events, any film that took a different direction stood out from the others is easily remembered for what it is. Kelley's Heroes, released in 1970, is one of these films as the story told is set in wartime Europe but has a rather refreshing angle that allows the story to remove itself from the war and go off in a new direction to tread new territory.
A pre-Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood plays Kelly, an American Officer who performs interrogation on a captured German by means of getting him drunk. When the inebriated German rambles on about the hidden Gold being guarded in a French town Kelley and his band decide to take a detour from the war in an attempt to get the Gold for themselves; something that is worth in the region of $16 million to them. In the confusion of the continuous air bombardment from their own troops, Kelly hatches a plan and gathers what starts out to be a small band of soldiers, but as word spreads it soon becomes obvious that everyone wants a piece of this. Kelly gets help from an infantry of Tanks led by Donald Sutherland, whose character of Oddball is a somewhat strange character given the fact that he is a totally laidback hippy!
The film has a good cast, a young Eastwood who looks the part as Kelly proving his worth with a plan that he will see through leading a band of soldiers across Europe. Eastwood only has to stand there to deliver a thousand word stare at someone and in the film he does this a few times, he never seems to overplay his part as the leader at all with his dialogue being short and sharp. The men look up to him throughout and follow his lead. Eastwood using his part to give a scowl look that in some cases steals the scene from others.
Backing Eastwood up is Telly Savalas as Joe, a Sergeant that is second in command. Continually shouting and giving order Savalas is a hard as nails soldier that cares for the troops but doesn't want anyone to see it. Although not by the book in more ways than one the character does deliver on what he needs to do. Having a Tank Commander being played by Donald Sutherland... well it ain't going to be played straight!! The character of the long haired Oddball is an out of time Hippy dressed in various parts of various uniforms who believes negative waves are the cause of bad issues. He is the comic relief in the film and some of his antics do make you laugh when they happen, a good example is a scene where the tanks are in a face to face fight. Oddball's tank fires at point blank range, only for Kelly to discover they are firing paint instead of live rounds. Also his Tank is heavily customised as well to make the War more bearable for him and his team! Add in American comic Don Rickles as a wheeler dealer type character, Carroll O'Connor as the General and the cast and you have a very good mix and wide scope of characters that stand out on screen. Refreshingly all characters are used and never underused as they are all given a part to play and lines to deliver.
The film works on many levels, the adventure, the sporadic comedy that is well places and delivered well and also the action. The scenes have been shot in an epic style as you see war planes, explosions, gunfire, destroyed buildings and bridges. All happening with a vast amount of noise and chaos surrounding the subject that the film is showing, this takes the film to another level as it makes the film more interesting to watch and I have to say that I was impressed with this as it does given an additional level of quality to the film overall. Of course with all the noise going on it means that the characters do rather a lot of shouting whether it's on a radio or at each other the whole reality of War is bought to the screen in a rather frightening and realistic manner giving the viewer the experience of what is happening. Continuity is upheld throughout the film with the tanks and vehicles looking very convincing in appearance when on screen.
Even though in some parts of the film is entirely light hearted in nature, the film does not stray away from death at all, there are characters that are killed off as the film progresses and German soldiers killed in cold blooded circumstances, and again this brings a balance to the story, in the end the climax of the film could easily have gone into a massive battle with bloodshed at every turn, however it doesn't and the climax of the film, without going too deep, is satisfactory and to be honest quite right for the story. There is a strong statement within the film itself and I have heard some say that as this was released when America was involved with Vietnam, that a string anti-Vietnam message is projected. That is up to the viewer decide, for me this is a good film that entertains.
This film knows where it is based and knows what it wants to achieve from the outset and the pace of the film never lets up after the opening titles. There is a fair amount of suspense involved in the story, for example the team getting caught in a minefield en route to the village with a German patrol being spotted approaching. The situations such as this do tend to bring the characters together and its not just Kelly that has to "save the day" for the others as it's a case of everyone acting as a team and not as individuals. One thing that I noticed throughout is the film dares to be bold, after all this is a heist film that is set with the War as a background and so the location straight away has an expanded scope for things to happen and situations to be faced. In the film the exploits of Kelly's Heroes in their jaunt reached the ears of the General who becomes interested in what is happening and how this is being done, but never asks why it is being done. The portrayal by Carroll O'Connor is that of satire and the Officers that report to him are portrayed as inept and bumbling. Whether this was to make the leads look better I am unsure, but this certainly does add to the story and gives the character of the General who seems totally bored with what he is doing a new fresh stance, which leads him to become part of the story.
The action sequences themselves are well done and done without going over the top, in fact even though there is comedy in the film it is well balanced and used in quite a dry manner that allows the story to be told without being overshadowed for any reason by a person or part of the film. By this I mean that people will remember the film for what they are doing rather than a singular thing happening. Okay Sutherland does come close to stealing the film as his character would rather sunbathe than fight the War, and does this to genuine hilarity when one of his Tanks breakdown, but for me it is a number of things that combine to make the film what it is. Burning Bridges is a song that is used throughout the film and is a song that you won't get out of your head for days after. The soundtrack has been performed by Lalo Schifrin, a legend with who Eastwood would appear in the credits with numerous times after this film. The title song is somewhat futuristic with the setting of the story and definitely has that 60's vibe to it. At one point Schifrin does pay musical homage to Eastwood's previous cowboy films as a few familiar notes are played when the three main characters of Kelly, Joe and Oddball walk down to meet the Germans. Nice twist and a good way of playing the scene out.
Personally I was surprised this came out on Blu-ray, but am glad it did as I had the DVD version as well. The Khaki colours of the American uniforms with the Grey of the German tunics look splendid on screen whilst the dirt and grime of the battlefield location shown in the film look sharp and clear to the extent that footprints can be seen in the mud. The early scenes in the barn with dust dropping down from roof onto Kelly show the powerful clarity of the media as I swear the individual grains can be seen when an explosion nearby occurs. If you don't consider the Menus are part of the Extras then your going to be disappointed as only the trailer for the film is included, okay there could have easily been a little bit of effort with regards to the Extras being pumped up, but unfortunately not. However I wasn't that bothered about this as the film is undeniably another classic with the clarity and sound, so watching the film in its entire 146 minutes in an absolute pleasure to uphold and a film that you could easily watch again and again.
Overall it's a good old Sunday afternoon movie to watch, Sutherland as the Hippy Tank driving Commander will always be remembered as will the story and the other cast members, one thing I was surprised at was the natural delivery of the banter by the cast when they were talking as there is no floundering or looking like they were reading from idiot boards.
Kelly's Heroes for me was one of those films that I was unaware of until I was in my uncles house one Easter and he was already watching it. Having never heard of it before I was dubious - I'm not a big fan of older world war 2 films. But this one caught my attention straight away. Not just with the stellar cast but with the humour wit and charm in every scene. The main names in the film you will all recognise as follows:
Clint Eastwood ... Pvt. Kelly
Telly Savalas ... MSgt. Big Joe
Don Rickles ... SSgt. Crapgame
Carroll O'Connor ... Maj. Gen. Colt
Donald Sutherland ... Sgt. Oddball (tank commander)
There is also a great supporting cast, the premise of the show is this the U.S. Army's 35th Infantry Division are nearing the town of Nancy when one of the division's platoons receives orders to pull out. They feel aggravated by this because they are always the one's who are caught up in the dog fights over the territory but when the final push comes to invade and take over the land they are always removed from the front line and never get to take in the appreciation the local people feel for their liberators. They are also eager to get into Nancy in order to find a decent place to get some R&R.
Meanwhile Kelly (Clint Eastwood) has captured Colonel Dankhopf (David Hurst) of German Intelligence who has a gold bar in his possession, Kelly gets him drunk to try to get information about the gold. Dankhopf blurts out that there is a cache of 14,000 gold bars (worth $16,000,000) stored in a bank vault 30 miles behind enemy lines in the town of Clermont.
Kelly gathers his platoon to inform them of this and tells them of his scheme. Wanting to keep it low key and to just a few men - which they find difficult as they need supplies and loud mouth supply sergeant "Crapgame" Don Rickles is the man they must deal with. As the story unfolds it transpires that the plot requires more and more support including Tanks and a bridge (complete with bridge building unit). A pact ensues whereby any man who makes it to Claremont gets an equal share.
The tanks are commanded by Oddball (Donald Sutherland) who is a very "60's hippy stoner type character" which is a bit out of place in 40s WW2 but funny none the less.
As the daring mission unfolds Allied HQ gets word of the incursion via intercepted radio transmissions American Major General Colt (O'Connor), he misinterprets them as patriotic soldiers pushing forward to win the war, he is determined to join them on the front and bestow all involved with medals. One of my favourite lines in the film is when he is trying to tune in the transmissions and is interrupted by a junior office to whom he yells "SHUSH WE GOT THE GAME ON BOOKER!" as if it were a sports event and not a life and death warzone situation.
Upon arriving at there destination via many twists and turn in there way the platoon are struck by yet more obstacles in there way - not least the Germans in situ!. Can they get the gold?, Can they get out before the Major General Arrives and their identity's are exposed?, how many will have to share in the money?.
This is a fantastic film that I have watched over and over again since I purchased the DVD, it has a great soundtrack, its both poignant and funny throughout with great one liners from Eastwood, Savalas, O'Connor and Sutherland. The DVD can be purchased from as low as £3.97 at Tescos.
Kelly's heroes is a rollicking good, rip roaring, good old fashioned boys action / adventure film about a quest for riches - A huge pile of Gold bullion in this case. This particular version of the genre just happens to be set somewhere in northern France in war torn Europe, towards the end of World War two. The cast is headed by Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas, the co stars are nearly all people you will see and say, "Oh I've seen him before in loads of things, what's his name? It is, for a less than serious war film a good strong cast.
In a Nutshell, Kelly (Clint Eastwood) leads a rag tag army of waifs, strays and "Oddball" on a quest behind Germans line to a sleepy town which just happens to house a bank containing millions of Dollars worth of Gold. The only problem is that it is guarded by three German Tiger tanks that are not to be messed with. The whole film is shot with a great deal of humour and is really great fun throughout. The plot sounds quite ordinary and is, of course a well worn track, as literally hundreds of films, depicting every age in history, have been made following a similar theme. This is one of the best.
I have deliberately left the plot and details very, very vague as I don't want to spoil any of it for you by revealing too much detail. Suffice to say it goes along at a good pace and there is always something happening.
Kelly's Heroes is not to be taken seriously at all and is to be enjoyed for what it, a great fun vehicle for all involved in it. None more so than "Oddball" as mentioned above. "Oddball" is the star of the show, he is a "Barking" mad Sherman Tank commander who gets roped in at a very early stage and steals the show all the way through. In fact the film is worth watching just for him. Who is "Oddball" played by? Donald Sutherland of all people, he plays the part brilliantly.
If you want to immerse yourself in World War two for a couple of hours or so, but want a light hearted time with some great laughs and some serious fun as well, then grab a copy of Kelly's heroes and enjoy.
Don't think about it, don't look at the Historical inaccuracies, don't question anything, just sit down and lap it up - "Woof Woof Woof"...... That will mean something to you after you have watched it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
In the run up to Christmas each year the television programme controllers dig out all the usual played to death subject and run then just once more on the off chance that hiding under a rock in some far flung corner of a field there is someone who still hasn't seen this selection of classic films, they vary from ET to the Great Escape, in and amongst this years offerings was Kellys Heroes. My other half was mortified to discover that I'd never seen this and set about obtaining a copy with which to torture me. I should point out that I am not a Clint Eastwood far. I am the polar opposite but this doesn't stop the other half trying to educate me with epic westerns such as Two Mules for Sister Sara.
So if it stars Clint Eastwood it must be a really bad 1960s western. Nope. Turns out it's a World War II film shot in location in Yugoslavia where it rains seemingly none stop. Clint has lots of well known co-stars including Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland. Its not like any other WWII film I've had the misfortune of seeing although it did remind me quite a lot of Three Kings staring George Clooney although clearly that was made several decades later about a completely different war but the plot lines are remarkably similar.
Clint (as Kelly) is a serving demoted US soldier on the front line who kidnaps a German army officer and discovers this one man is the key to 14,000 solid gold bar which are held in a bank 30 miles behind enemy lines. He sets about obtaining them with the help of several hundred AWOL US soldiers. It's a classic everything that can go wrong will go wrong but the majority of Kellys accomplices emerge with all limbs still attached.
Why this film has achieved cult status as a must watch classic completely escapes me. I would gladly have turned it off after the first 30 minutes as incredibly dull and ridiculously far fetched. Just how many complete nut cases does the US army have? And why are most of them in command positions?
Available from Amazon priced at £4.98
Kelly's Heroes is a film which I have never actually sat and watched the whole way through, it has been on the television so many times and I have caught bits of it and so hubby finally persuaded me to sit and watch it with him.
The film is about Private Kelly an American solider fighting in World War 2. He is very bossy and cannot stand the fact that he used to be a Lieutenant but got busted down to Private and still thinks he has the authority to do as he wishes. He kidnaps a German Officer who is in possession of some paperwork and Kelly soon finds out that it is details of where over 16 million Dollars of Gold is being kept.
Kelly sees an opportunity to get something out of the war and decides he is going to go after the gold. Kelly asks Sgt. Joe to translate the Garman paperwork and they soon realise that the gold is being kept in a bank behind enemy lines. Kelly is not put off by this and sets about getting himself a team together to go for the gold. The first member of the team is Oddball, who is in possession of 3 Sherman Tanks and he s willing to go along as long as he can take his men with him.
Just how many more men will find a way of getting in on the gold trail with Kelly and will they finally manage to get through the enemy lines to reach this gold?
I was quite surprised by this film as I did think it was going to be a typical war film which I would have no interest in but I have to say that I did in fact enjoy it. Thought that the storyline was good and could be very real but I doubt it ever really happened during the war but it was enjoyable to watch.
Clint Eastwood did a great job of portraying a busted down solider. He had a great air of authority and he managed to still get respect from his senior soldier, maybe the prospect of the gold helped with this! Oddball was without a doubt my favourite character in the film as also my hubby's. He managed to bring a completely different character to the war and he also added a lot of humour to the story. Donald Sutherland took the role of oddball and I think he did a wonderful job, there was a touch of a Hippy in him and I especially enjoyed him going into enemy territory to fight the Tiger Tanks with his music playing out of a loud speaker on top of his own tank!
Supporting actors in this film included Carroll O'Connor, Gavin MacLeod, Terry Sevalas and Don Rickles all of who did a super job in their roles and all of the characters were extremely believable and they all had a good on screen chemistry which added to the film.
The film was set during the Second World War in France and I thought that a lot of time and effort was put into making this film look very authentic and real. The sets and costumes were all well made and a lot of attention to detail was noticeable. I thought that the uniforms which the soldiers were wearing all looked authentic and they all looked like proper soldiers. The music was good in this film and I found it did add to the tension and emotions which we were supposed to be feeling. I think some credit should be given to the musical director for his part in the making of this.
I though that the addition of humour to the film was well done and it did take the war slightly out of the equation of the film and pushed it slightly to the back and made the story more about the gold. Don't get me wrong we do have lots of war scenes I the film but nothing like a normal war film. I think that there were a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes which made for better viewing n my opinion. Oddball of cause bought the majority of the wit and humour.
The DVD which I have does minimal features which only include:-
I am glad in a way that there are no documentaries which are about how the film was made as hubby would have really wanted to have watched them so I would have had to have suffered them!.
The film has a running time of 138 minutes which felt to be just slightly too long about thought that it could quite easily have been made into a 2 hour film without loosing any of the storyline. The rating on the film is a PG and I do agree with this. There are some scenes of war fighting but nothing which cannot be seen in any Sunday afternoon war film. The DVD is widely available and I managed to get mine from Amazon for just under £5.
I do recommend this film as I think Eastwood and his fellow actors have managed to show a slightly different side to the war and done so with a lot of Humour and wit!
It is the Second World War and the American GI’s are wondering what are they doing over here? A platoon of American soldiers are thousands of miles from home, fighting in what appears to them to be a chaotic war with no end in sight. One of the members of the platoon (Kelly) discovers that in a bank 30 miles behind the German lines there is a pile of 14,000 gold bars worth $16 million. Kelly (Clint Eastwood) persuades the rest of the platoon to join him in a mad plan to steal the gold for themselves. Eventually he also manages to talk round Big Joe, the platoon sergeant (Telly Savalas) to lead them on the mission. Along the way Kelly bribes a number of other people to help him and teams up with Oddball (Donald Sutherland) a commander of a set of three Sherman tanks. There is plenty of action sequences in the film and the “hippie” antics of Oddball give a twisted humour to the whole affair. The film is extremely well made and acted, especially Telly Savalas as the leader of this contrived team of men. Do they succeed in getting the gold? Well, I am afraid you will have to watch the film to find that out, but I would recommend this film if you enjoy war films that do not take themselves too seriously. This is an excellent film that shows the American soldiers as a very formidable force, when there is a matter of personal gain involved. As Oddball would say, “soak up those positive vibes man”.
I am not a big fan of war movies, which is just as well because this isn't really a war movie. It's a heist movie. It just happens to be set during a war (WW2). Not only that but this has enough humour in it to enable it to avoid taking itself too seriously. We are well into the final stages of WW2. The Normandy landings took place some time ago and the Germans are being pushed back on all fronts. Little pockets of strong resistance are being met and one near Nancy interests Kelly (Clint Eastwood). In appalling weather, Kelly has got himself behind enemy lines and has captured a German intelligence officer. Smuggling him back to his own base, which is coming under heavy enemy attack, he interrogates the officer. In the officer's briefcase he finds a "lead" bar, there to make it sink in the river in the event of risk of being captured. But wait, why is there a golden glint coming from a scratch on this "lead" bar? It turns out there is more where this came from, much, much more. Now the attractions of a war, which is being won anyway, begin to pale against the prospect of unimaginable riches. But, the horde is behind enemy lines. Kelly needs a plan and some help. Gathered to his small private army along the way is his superior officer Big Joe (Telly Savalas), who needs some pursuading but only after everyone else in the company is in. The mottley crew he assembles includes crooked quartermaster Crapgame (Don Rickles), incompetent artillery master Mulligan (Telly's little brother, George), "hippy" tank commander Oddball (Donald Sutherland - played to perfection) and others picked up along the way. Do they succeed? Well, you will have to watch the film to find that out. The is a superbly entertaining film. I never tire of watching it. All the performances are spot-on. Donald Sutherland's Oddball is definitely
the star of the film although Eastwood could rightly consider this also one of his very best performances. Why "Woof woof"? You'll have to watch the film to find out!
Clint Eastwood strolls onto the film in his army gear and you think, yet another war movie, but wait, this one isn't. Instead of lets take a bridge or something, or lets kill loads of Germans, the core principle to this movie is lets take a bunch of soldiers, trek deep into enemy territory and steal a bunch of gold. An intriguing idea which turns into a classic movie. This is definitely one to watch. So rent it, buy it or just pray it returns to the TV soon.
A classic war film. This film occupies a rather interesting niche in movie history. In principle, it is a second world war film, with some spaghetti western influence, not to mention a sixties soundtrack which is obviously not in keeping with the period the film is set in. Likewise, Donald Sutherland's hippy tank commander is two decades early on the scene!! All these factors, as well as a cracking cast, contribute to a fantastic film, which must count as one of Clint Eastwood's finest. The purists would no doubt give it a panning, but the duel between a german tiger tank and an american sherman at the end is fantastic. The best points about this film would have to be Eastwood's cool and collected Kelly, and the comedic brilliance of Sutherland's Oddball.
Kelly's Heroes reunited Clint Eastwood with his Where Eagles Dare director Brian G Hutton, then added The Dirty Dozen star Telly Savalas in MGM's quest to turn WWII movie celluloid into box office gold three times running. The result, a sprawling adventure about a group of soldiers led by Kelly (Eastwood) on a private mission behind enemy lines to recover a cache of Nazi treasure, echoed its predecessors but wasn't as successful. While Where Eagle's Dare was somewhat tongue in cheek, Kelly's Heroes went for a cynical comic amorality with many plot parallels to 1969's The Italian Job, written by screenwriter Troy Kennedy-Martin the year before. Donald Sutherland, who also starred in the big-screen M*A*S*H (1970), plays a hippie tank commander decades before his time, and it's hard not to see both movies as more commentaries on Vietnam than on the wars in which they were ostensibly set. Though it is intermittently very funny, and despite some expertly staged action, Kelly's Heroes never really convinces as satire or adventure. On the DVD: Kelly's Heroes is presented on disc in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer which is immaculate and taken from a virtually perfect master. The images are so clean and sharp they look brand new, outclassing many current theatrical prints. The three-channel sound concentrates most of the action to the centre speaker but does an excellent job of capturing the often turbulent soundtrack. The only real extra is the original trailer, presented anamorphically at 1.77:1.--Gary S Dalkin