'Where Eagles Dare' DVD Review **** 071105

The Work = ****
Somewhere I heard Clint Eastwood talking about 'Where Eagles Dare'. I can’t remember his exact words but he spoke about meeting Richard Burton. Burton was nervous about all the action in the film and Eastwood told him to do the talking and he would do the shooting. Well that pretty much sums up the movie.

'Where Eagles Dare' is a fun action film. It follows a group of spy’s dropped behind enemy lines to rescue a trapped American during World War II. The movie takes a little while to get going but once it does 'Where Eagles Dare' proves to be an exciting adventure that pulls out all the stops. While watching it I thought it played like a precursor to 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.

It turns out there may be a reason for that. According to IMDB Steven Spielberg who directed 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' is a huge fan of 'Where Eagles Dare'. Both films have a fly by the seat of your pants feeling and incorporate many different types of action sequences. I was impressed by how many different types of scrapes 'Where Eagles Dare' put its heroes through. Sure, the film plays a bit slow and long today, but it still holds up remarkably well and is a fun flic’ to check out.

Eastwood plays the lone American in the film and he does what he does best: speaking more with action than with dialogue. I would not be surprised if I found out he took out a lot of dialogue and replaced it with looks and movement. Burton makes the perfect counter, smoothly delivering dialogue. He is able to talk his walk out of almost any situation and proves to be a man of action when he has too. Of course he can’t compare to the body count that Eastwood racks up. Eastwood shoots half the Nazis in the German Army by the looks of this film.

Eastwood and Burton work great together and it is too bad they didn’t work together again. Ingrid Pitt shows up, looking beautiful and acting with charm. She and the rest of the cast back up the two leads and handle their roles well. I really enjoyed 'Where Eagles Dare'. Yes the film may be a little long and may not play as fast and furious back in the day but it is still a lot of fun.

DVD = ***

The Look
'Where Eagles Dare' gets a nice transfer. There was some print damage visible and edge enhancement is sections of the film. Some scenes look better than others but on the whole it is ok and is presented in anamorphic widescreen in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

The Sound
The disk has a 5.1 mix that gets the job done. Actually it is a pretty good mix to my ear but I am not always the best judge of these things. The dialogue was clear and most of the sound effects were great.

The Bonus
The disk has a pretty pathetic set of text screen cast and crew info. It is really just a brief list of some of those involved with the film and only Eastwood gets a brief filmography. The films theatrical trailer is also on the disk. The final extra is a featurette from the films original promotion. If you have seen one of these vintage featurettes than you will know what to expect. Some reviewers have said including these on the DVDs is pointless but I have to say that I like having them. They were a part of the film’s promotion and it is a nice if superficial touch.

All Together = ****
So, I suppose it is pretty clear that I enjoyed this film. It was released as part of Warner Brothers Eastwood collection and it is nice to see it get a decent release. I would have liked to see some modern features like a commentary or a documentary. If you are an Eastwood fan or a fan of adventure cinema, this is an easy one to recommend. I say, give it a double bill with the slower, but still entertaining, 'The Eagle Has Landed'.


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Review of 'The Eagle Has Landed'

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