HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Azor
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Devil's Brigade, The Hands Across The Border
Year: 1968
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Vince Edwards, Andrew Prine, Jeremy Slate, Claude Akins, Jack Watson, Richard Jaeckel, Bill Fletcher, Richard Dawson, Tom Troupe, Luke Askew, Jean-Paul Vignon, Harry Carey Jr, Michael Rennie, Carroll O'Connor, Dana Andrews
Genre: WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1942 and the Second World War is at its fiercest so far, so the need for Allied troops to be trained for combat is at an all-time high. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Frederick (William Holden) has an idea to combine American and Canadian forces in one special unit, but when he is flown over to Britain on what he regards as a needless mission, he is told by Lord Mountbatten that this concept, partly taking U.S. criminals to recruit for an excursion in Norway, is not tenable. What Mountbatten doesn't tell him is that he was working out whether Frederick is up to the job, and soon the plan is being put into action, though there is rivalry between the nations' soldiers...

There really was a "Devil's Brigade", but its tale was not exactly as told in this fictionalisation which arrived at a stage when war movies were falling under the shadow of the actual war America was fighting which could be seen on the world's news broadcasts. For the young folks, an unironic flagwaver, even if it was about a just war as the Second World War was regarded as, was not going to tickle their fancies and so it was that this was more aimed at the older generation, even those who remembered that conflict first hand. Besides, it was obvious to everyone the efforts here were dead set on generating the massive profits the previous year's The Dirty Dozen had enjoyed.

That was not to be, and The Devil's Brigade was relegated to also-ran status pretty quickly, though in the years since it has appealed to a following of buffs who like their combat fiction uncomplicated, goodies vs baddies stuff, with a bit of grit to send us off musing that war was Hell, but wasn't it fun to watch from a distance? For some, at any rate, but the living rooms of the United States were not finding the Vietnam War images too palatable, and there was another aspect here that made it apparent this was not a young man's picture, which was the casting, as almost all the actors playing the soldiers were too old for their roles, reminiscent of a certain John Wayne-directed item in 1968.

The director for this one was Andrew V. McLaglen, surely one of the tallest film directors of all time, who was credited with revitalising the ageing careers of both Wayne and James Stewart with a bunch of mostly Westerns. He was much-maligned for his supposedly unimaginative presentations, but he was a safe pair of hands and you did not particularly need a bunch of flourishes in a movie such as this, or indeed any of his canon, however this does have the effect of rendering his work as somewhat dusty and prematurely over-the-hill, as it was here. Holden was not an O.A.P. or anything, but he and his co-stars were no spring chickens either, leaving the not coincidental impression of one of those seventies action flicks where a group of getting on a bit stars would go on a mission they were plainly unfit for.

At least you could believe the likes of Claude Akins and Richard Jaeckel (borrowed from The Dirty Dozen) were still in decent enough shape to handle a wartime situation, but the effect was of a collection of old soldiers acting out their reminiscences rather than relating them to their grandchildren for the umpteenth time. Much play was made of the brawling the rival Americans and Canadians get into, culminating in a barroom battle with lumberjacks (!) that echoed the macho ideal of violence as a bonding agent that McLaglen's mentor John Ford would have endorsed, as it did with the eventual attack on German forces in Italy (not Norway - the top brass change their minds, rendering the men's skiing training obsolete). It was all very professionally done in an old Hollywood manner that was turning passé, but perfectly acceptable to while away a Sunday afternoon with, being both rough hewn in its limited charms and long enough to doze off halfway through and wake up ten minutes later having missed nothing. Music by Alex North.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1592 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
25 Jul 2019
  Ah, but The Dirty Dozen did not get a comic book adaptation from DC. I inherited my father's copy (he only ever read war comics) but foolishly traded it away. D'oh!
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: