Will Preston

He who dares can’t speak German!

by on Jul.27, 2010, under Films, Review

That's the last recorded evidence of a man trying to drink wine form a glass two feet from his mouth.

It’s a bit strange to say the least for a 23 year old man to impersonate a famous actor in a call centre. And an actor who’s been dead for 26 years and not too relevant in modern culture (unless they remake Cleopatra soon). I’ve only just started trying to do my Richard Burton voice after hearing his purring tone in Nineteen Eighty Four and Where Eagles Dare.

It’s a fantastic voice that goes to Malcolm Macdowell via Patrick Stewart. Should you receive a call from me, expect a crap impersonation. It was through finding more of his films to satisfy my ear lust for his voice that I took my mothers recommendation (don’t laugh) and watched Where Eagles Dare. Clint Eastwood’s in it, so that’s sold it to me already. I do love old squinty Clinty!

And what a film it is.

Whilst being a very good action adventure film set in World War 2 (How many films are there about this period in history now?), there are some major faults in the film which stick out and almost shake me off from being absorbed by it’s hole filled goo. Just to give you a quick reiteration on the plot; a group of British commandos (and one American one with a constant squint in his eyes) are air dropped into the German alps to rescue an American General from a castle.

From then on there’s a lot of plot twists and explosions. It’s typical of the genre, but has some fantastic set pieces…and Eastwood and Burton are in it. It could be a three hour film about trying to find a lost sausage in a bacon shop and I would still be compelled to see them act out the narrative on screen. Rather then go on about how great the film is (and you must see it), I will now focus my attention on the major faults of the film that would need to be cleaned up in order to make this movie achieve perfection.

First and foremost…

HISTORICAL INNACCURACIES!!!

It’s not something I look at too much in mainstream cinema. Hollywood is very good at turning facts into well filmed lies. Ok, lies is a bit of a harsh word, but most of the films that come out come as close to the truth as the distance between Jeremy Kyle and the unemployed.

Just like a lot of war films, there are a lot of mismatching uniforms and equipment that wasn’t issued to the army at that time until ten days, two hours and twelve minutes before the film was set. I won’t go into it too much for the sake of sanity itself. One major exclamation mark that appeared above my head was the appearance of a helicopter. Not experimental looking type either. It’s a fucking 1970s traffic copter! Sooner or later, Shaft would leap from nowhere and dispense blaxploitation justice AND make a smarmy remark about debunking the Nazi’s ideologies about a superior race. If anyone has seen a blaxploitation film with Nazi’s in it, please contact me at the usual address with the message entitled “For you, my brother the wizzle is over. You dig?”.

Oh and some medals were on some people who shouldn’t have medals, but I have about as much knowledge of medals as Nick Griffin does on…well, blaxploitation films.

BLOOD!!!

Don’t pass me off as some obsessed, topless Patrick Bateman-esque critic. I’m not obsessing that the shot from a fifty calibre round didn’t make the victim’s rib bone fly out at the right angle or that the consistency of a goresplosion (that’s a real word, kids!) lacked a liver and a kidney. No. I mean when you shoot a Nazi in the face with a gun, it shouldn’t be bright pinkish.

Unless the Nazi in question is so supportive of white power that their exposed flesh is paling even more. The blood and injuries are rather unconvincing in a lot of it, although there is a grizzly bit with a climbing hook. Surely someone on set must have thought “that looks more like ketchup and mayonnaise then blood!” Again, a bit nit picky, but you’d expect attention to gory details in a war film.

And finally…

ZE INGLISH!!!

Yes, the Germans speak fluent English when no one is looking. And when people are looking. That’s what I loved about Inglorious Basterds; authentic languages with use of subtitles. Here, we just have mock accents that would have been criticised on an episode of Allo Allo.

Knowing this, the allied heroes don’t bother putting on a German accent at the very least when under disguise. These are supposed to be some top actors and they can’t even be bothered to replace “This way!” with “Zis Vay!” It makes me genocidally mad!

Apart from these glaring problems in the film, it is still a hoot. If you get bothered by these faults, just let Richard Burton sooth you with his voice. A voice incapable of a fleeting German accent.

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