Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hannibal Brooks (1969)

Director: Michael Winner

Writers: Michael Winner, Tom Wright, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais

Composer: Francis Lai

Starring: Oliver Reed, Michael J. Pollard, Wolfgang Preiss, John Alderton, Helmuth Lohner, Peter Carsten, Karin Baal, Ralf Wolter, Jurgen Draeger, Maria Brockerhoff, Til Kiwe, Ernst Fritz Furbringer, Erik Jelde, James Donald

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Supersoldier in the Super Adventure

Plot: A prisoner of war working at a zoo gets the chance to escape from the Germans, so he does and he takes with him the elephant that he's been caring for. Together they head for the Swiss border and freedom.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I've been wanting to see this for more than thirty years since I saw it sitting on the shelf at the video store.  I also had the soundtrack LP for two decades in which the cover is total bullshit with only Pollard's face on the cover.  Well, now I've seen it.  It's a weird flick.  It feels like it wants to be a comedy but it's only mildly amusing at best.  There are no jokes, per se, just the occasional character laughing and smiling.  That hardly makes it a comedy.  You could make the case that it's a family film except for the abundance of killing and that the world is at war with the Germans and our 'hero' is behind enemy lines trying to get to safety.  Pollard is horribly miscast.  His goofy grin doesn't belong in this film.  His line deliveries and behavior is off enough to where you'd think he was high on weed the whole time.  I normally dig the guy but he had no place in this film in that role.  The Austrian location shooting is GORGEOUS and it's worth watching just for the mountains and the countryside.  Lai's music is lighthearted and family friendly but, like the 'humor' in the film, it's sometimes at odds with what's on the screen.  The story itself is pretty ridiculous.  How possible is it for someone to take an elephant behind enemy lines like this and have any hope of making it to Switzerland?  I'd say none at all.  I'll hate myself in the morning for saying this but that's the elephant in the room.  You'll have to suspend your disbelief a lot for this picture.  I'm surprised there were enough people of influence that thought this was a movie that should or needed to be made.

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