|Where two of the tallest men in Hollywood and Telly|
|Savalas walked towards a tank.|
Kelly's Heroes is a heist romp with tanks (there are few things in life as satisfying as watching tanks roll over stuff).
The Dirty Dozen left me nonplussed. I'm still trying to figure out what I think. I completely disagree, however, with the reviews that claim it is an anti-war movie. Despite being the most intensely iconoclastic film on record, its message (if it has one) seems more Kipling-esque than anything.
Kipling believed that (1) the British Empire was worth saving; (2) it would only be saved by mavericks like Stalky, not Eton-breed boys who dressed up in uniforms and ran war according to accepted "rules." He foresaw--and sadly endured--the utter destruction of World War I that was largely caused by the Eton-breed, boy mentality (for an excellent movie on the stupid yet practically inevitable series of events that preceded WWI, check out 37 Days). In Kim, he created the ultimate maverick--just civilized enough to be trustworthy yet not enough to undermine his usefulness.
|Wladislaw (Charles Bronson) becomes Reisman's|
|second in command. Here they are infiltrating|
|a Nazi-occupied chateau.|
There is no X marks the spot. Out of all the movies I've seen in the last two years, The Dirty Dozen reminded me most of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. As I mention in the linked post, The Rocky Horror Picture Show presents its alternative culture completely indifferent to whether its audience approves or not. The Dirty Dozen feels like that. If there is a theme (and there probably isn't) it would be, "This is what war is. What, you think it's pretty? You think people don't do stuff like this?" To say this is "anti-war" doesn't seem to capture the narrative's detachment that lasts right up to Wladislaw's final indifferent response to the generals.
With less detachment and more joie de vivre, Kelly's Heroes carries a not totally dissimilar attitude. The most remarkable thing to me about Kelly's Heroes is the honest (and true) appraisal that as a motivator, money is more moral than ideology.