TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: WWII - Battlefront Europe [2 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 2553443
  • Release Date: 05/05/2009
  • Rating: PG
  • 5.0 (1)
$11.99
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Overview

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Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Where Eagles Dare
An expensive but enormously profitable war picture, Where Eagles Dare centers upon a daring rescue and even more daring escape. Disguised as Nazi officers, commandoes Maj. John Smith (Richard Burton), Lt. Morris Schaffer Clint Eastwood and six other courageous souls parachute behind enemy lines. Their mission: to rescue an American general, held captive in a supposedly impenetrable Alpine castle. Aiding and abetting the commandoes are Allied undercover agents Mary (Mary Ure) and Heidi (Ingrid Pitt). Also on hand is a British officer (Patrick Wymark), who masterminded the mission. Somewhere, somehow, someone amongst the Allies is going to turn out to be a traitor. There's also a neat plot twist in store when the commandoes manage to reach the American general -- which leads to yet another twist. The vertigo-inducing climax has made Where Eagles Dare one of the most sought-after of "early" Eastwood starring features. The film was written directly for the screen by espionage novelist Alistair MacLean. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Battleground
Incoming MGM production head Dore Schary ramrodded Battleground into the studio's schedule over the virulent protests of MGM boss Louis Mayer. The result was an award-winning box-office hit, as well as the beginning of the end of Mayer's power. This dramatization of the battles of Bastogne and the Bulge in the waning days of World War II concentrates on a single infantry unit. Van Johnson and John Hodiak are the ostensible stars, but the film is stolen by James Whitmore as the cigar-chomping, battle-stained sergeant. Also appearing is Ian MacDonald as General McAuliffe, whose legendary response to the Nazi's suggestion that the Americans surrender consisted of a single four-letter expletive: "Nuts". Whitmore's final scenes of near-delirium before the relief troops arrive are unforgettable. Battleground tries within MGM limits to be wholly realistic, though it is slightly compromised by the scripters' inability to use Army profanity, and by pointless subplot involving actress Denise Darcel. The film doesn't hold up as well as such wartime efforts as The Story of GI Joe or Walk in the Sun, but in 1949 Battleground was regarded as an important milestone in the field of truthful, de-glamorized combat flicks. Please avoid the colorized version: this is a black-and-white subject if ever there was one. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Kelly's Heroes
Like M*A*S*H and Catch-22, both released the same year, this military comedy takes place in an earlier war but is really a thinly disguised treatise on the modern-day insanity and avariciousness then unfolding in Vietnam. Clint Eastwood stars as Kelly, a former lieutenant whose illusions about the glory of war, if he has any, are lost when he is busted in rank for following some poorly considered orders in World War II France. After capturing a friendly German officer, Kelly learns the whereabouts of millions of dollars in gold bars, earmarked to finance a military payroll. Taking advantage of a three-day liberty, Kelly assembles a motley trio of fellow soldiers to help him sneak behind enemy lines and retrieve the booty. They include Big Joe (Telly Savalas), a gruff sergeant; Crapgame (Don Rickles), a supply sergeant already enriching himself as a black marketer and con man; and the hippie-like tank commander Oddball (Donald Sutherland). Since crossing into enemy-held territory means heading in the opposite direction of the retreating Allies, Kelly and his men encounter armed resistance. Receiving word of their campaign, the vain General Colt (Carroll O'Connor) mistakes the quartet of freelancing scam artists for all-American heroes. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

The Dirty Dozen
Director Robert Aldrich took what he considered a hopelessly old-fashioned script by Lukas Heller and Nunnally Johnson and fashioned The Dirty Dozen into one of MGM's biggest moneymakers of the 1960s--and the sixth highest-grossing film in the studio's history. Lee Marvin plays Major Reisman, assigned to coordinate a suicide mission on a French chateau held by top Nazi officers. Since no "normal" GI can be expected to volunteer for this mission, Reisman is compelled to draw his personnel from a group of military prisoners serving life sentences. This "dirty dozen" includes a sex pervert (Telly Savalas), a psycho (John Cassavetes), a retarded killer (Donald Sutherland), and the equally malevolent Charles Bronson, Trini Lopez, Jim Brown, and Clint Walker. On the dim promise of receiving pardons if they survive, the criminals undergo a brutal training program, then are marched behind enemy lines dressed as Nazi soldiers, the better to overtake the chateau and kill everyone in it--including the innocent wives and mistresses of the German officers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Richard Burton
    Richard Burton - John Smith
  • Clint Eastwood
    Clint Eastwood - Lt. Morris Schaffer
  • Mary Ure
    Mary Ure - Mary Ellison
  • Michael Hordern
    Michael Hordern - Vice Adm. Rolland
  • Patrick Wymark
    Patrick Wymark - Wyatt Turner

Overall Customer Rating

(1 Review)

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