Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Attack on the Iron Coast (1968)

Director: Paul Wendkos

Writers: Herman Hoffman, John C. Champion

Composer: Gerard Schurmann

Starring: Lloyd Bridges, Andrew Keir, Sue Lloyd, Mark Eden, Maurice Denham, Glyn Owen, Howard Pays, Walter Gotell, John Welsh, George Mikell, Ernest Clark, Dick Haydon

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  They turned a dead ship into a live bomb and sailed it down the throat of the enemy!

Plot:  Lloyd Bridges plays a WWII commando leader who leads a group of soldiers on a suicide mission to destroy a Nazi naval stronghold on the French coast.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

This sounded like so many things I love...1960s big WWII picture, it's British, it's the good guys against the evil Nazis, Andrew Keir, Walter Gotell, action, no love-y dove-y business getting in the way of the action...you get the picture.  It's not that good and I mean it when I'm probably being generous with the score.  The only thing that kept me from lowering it was that I wasn't bored (but I wasn't excited either).  One thing that stands out is Lloyd Bridges' questionable acting chops.  Major Wilson (Bridges) is a trouble and conflicted man, having an earlier mission he created and executed, leaving most of the 500 men involved dead.  If only Bridges could've conveyed that emotion without over doing it...a lot!  He's really bad whenever Wilson is expressing his grief.  It's really laughable.  Fuck it.  I'm lowering the score to a 5/10.  There were some odd directional choices that didn't work like a clearly-filmed-somewhere-else shot of Wilson yelling at his commandos in practice.  It's a series of fake cutaways that looks like it was either tacked on as if Bridges wasn't on set that day and they did some pickup shots.  Then there's the model ships during the big attack at the end.  I'm sure they could've done a better job with that to mask the phoneyness of it all.  I've seen it done in other, better films.  The climax raid is also done at night with very little light so it's difficult to fill your eyes with detail sometimes (and the print I saw was a good one).  Plus I'd swear I saw some of the same shots of the allies landing a few times but with the negative reversed.  It's a bunch of stuff that you wouldn't expect to see in a professional production.   Some of that could be the director's doing.  He's got 114 director credits on IMDb and nearly all of them were TV.  He's used to working with smaller budgets.  Anyway, the MGM DVD has a good anamorphic widescreen print but the only extra is the theatrical trailer (non-anamorphic widescreen).  I don't know who would enjoy this movie.  I'm a sucker for late 60s WWII and I didn't care for it.

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