Just in

Kelly’s Heroes

Kelly’s Heroes (1970) supports my theory that a war film tells you as much about the time it was made as the time it covers.

In 1970 America was involved in Vietnam and the film is less about gung-ho heroism than a buffoon general (Don Rickles), a long-haired hippie soldier (Donald Sutherland) and a tough jokey sergeant Big Joe (Telly Savalas).

Nonetheless it has the type of action sequences you associate with traditional war films and Clint Eastwood as Kelly a more archetypical GI.

The story is of a platoon under Kelly who hear of Nazi gold in the French town of Nancy they are besieging and decided to liberate it for themselves.

Donald Sutherland, as Oddball, is recruited to lead a tank offensive as the Germans have Panzer Tiger tanks in the town.

Its humour now seems dated, Clint Eastwood is rather plodding and the whole film rather passé.

MASH brought out the same year was the funnier film.

I have always thought Clint Eastwood a limited actor but he knows his audience and showed from the excellent Play Misty for Me that he can direct too.

His career like Donald Sutherland is a long one and he delivered some fine performances in his latter years.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts