Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tobruk (1967)

Director: Arthur Hiller

Starring: Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green, Guy Stockwell, Jack Watson, Norman Rossington, Percy Herbert

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 83 men started the mission! Only 4 survived!

Plot: September 1942 - With Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps on the march through Egypt, a British special forces unit, composed of German Jews who serve with the British despite the mutual resentment between both, kidnap a Canadian officer who is an expert topographer and who is held prisoner by the Vichy French in Algeria. The officer, Donald Craig, must negotiate a company of British and German-Jewish commandos through 800 miles of the Sahara to aide a pending amphibious landing against Tobruk's massive fuel storage base - a mission that sees one impediment after another, and which discovers an undetected German armored force ready to win the battle of Egypt.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

I'm a huge fan of WWII flicks, especially those made in the 60s & 70s with big name actors and lots of widescreen action. This one is based on true events and, like all films of this ilk, there's likely very little truth in it. But I don't really care. I'm not watching these for a history lesson (unlike the Nazisploitation movies), I want big action and stars I really dig and TOBRUK delivers.

There's something about the African theater of the war that looks great on the big screen. The desert landscape is so unforgiving and it makes a nice backdrop in these films. It's hot, dry and very deadly so the players have another obstacle to overcome in addition to the enemy. Everyone holds their own but my favorite of the cast is Nigel Green. He's just a British badass that can do no wrong in my book. I've yet to see a picture of his I didn't like (and I've seen an extraordinary amount of his films).

The only real beef I've got is the big battle at the end. It's 25 minutes long and it's at night which means it's not going to be as easy to see. Now, if they're going to fuck with history as much as they supposedly did, why not change the time of day. I realize that changes some of the actions taken but the combination of the length and the darkness played its toll on my weary eyes that night. I'm sure that seeing this on the big screen, as intended, would make all the difference in the world. Regardless, badass actors killing Nazis in Technicolor scope is A-OK with me.

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