Kelly’s Heroes

Kelly’s Heroes…good fun

Kelly's_Heroes_film_posterI’m not a big “war movie person” but with Kelly’s Heroes (1970) I make an exception. Because this movie isn’t just a war movie, no, it goes far beyond that. It is memories of those Super 8 movie days with my father. And of us quoting various scenes from Kelly’s Heroes by heart…

…for example “Sixty feet of bridge…” aah…but I get ahead of myself. Let’s backtrack just a little…I think I should give you a rough breakdown of the happenings first:

So, we have Kelly, of course, who hears about a stash of gold that would be good for the taking. Problem is, said stash is behind enemy lines. But, fear not, Kelly, being a tough soldier gets together his band of “heroes” with some added takers who end up in the group just because they happen to be in the “right” spot at appropriate time (think “Oddball” here”…I’ll explain later). And off they go…with all sorts of antics along the way. Remember, this isn’t a war war movie, no, it’s more of a comedy war movie (of course, with serious moments along the way).

Anyway, this became one of the most quoted movies in our household…mostly, because the memorable lines come from Donald Sutherland who was my father’s favourite actor. Like when all the bridges are being blown up just as our band of heroes want to cross. And Oddball, yes, Donald Sutherland (who else?) is tasked with finding a bridge…part of his telephonic negotiation goes along the lines of this:

Oddball: “…look baby, I’m kinda hung up. I need sixty feet of bridge.”

Bellamy: “Hey kid. They haven’t got you in the nut ward again?”

Oddball: “Ah Bellamy, for cryin’ out loud………I don’t need you. Sixty feet of bridge I can get almost anywhere. Schmuck!”

Oh boy, and the “negative waves”…always positive even when the bridge gets blown. As for his “battle tactics”:

Oddball: “These tanks are faster than any other tanks in the European Theater of Operations. Forwards or backwards. You see man, we like to feel we can get out of trouble quicker than we got into it.”

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And when Kelly asks if he has any other weapons:

Oddball: “Well yeah, man, you see, like, all the tanks we come up against are bigger and better than ours, so that all we can hope to do is, like, scare ’em away y’ know. This gun is an ordinary 76mm but we add this piece of pipe onto it and the Krauts think, like uh, maybe it’s a 90mm”

Further explaining that “We have a loudspeaker here, and when we go into battle we play music, very loud. It kind of…calms us down.” and “We got our own ammunition. it’s filled with paint. When we fire it, it makes… pretty pictures. Scares the hell outta people!”

But, it isn’t only Oddball who’s fantastic in this one. The whole bunch of heroes work so well with nobody out-shadowing the other. Clint Eastwood, is of course Kelly, all serious and leader of the group. Second in command, if you like, is Big Joe…ah, what a character – also his own entity and always shouting about as only Telly Savalas can. Crapgame, Don Rickles, is always wheeling and dealing in some way or other. And the list goes on making for a well worthwhile watch.

Another thing that always sticks out for me is the opening (well, not opening but the first piece) song “Burning¬†Bridges” by the Mike Curb Congregation. Back in the day, before online shopping, I searched many a CD store (remember those?) for this title…and finally found it on a compilation CD. Here it is with some snippets from the movie (so, possibly spoiler alert):

Overall, a treat of a war movie.

Thanks to Maddy of Maddy Loves her Classic Films together with Jay of Cinema Essentials for hosting this Blogathon. Head on over to their sites for other great entries.

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Kelly’s Heroes (2 Reel Quirky Cats August (P)review)

(A Random Trailer (P)review)

 

Kelly’s Heroes (1970). One of those I used to watch on Super 8. I’ve also added the DVD to my collection. In all honesty, I haven’t watched it for years. But my oh my the trailer wants me to just drop everything and watch the movie…right now! It is just awesome. Of course Donald Sutherland‘s Oddball is the undisputed star of the show. In my opinion anyway.

Here’s the trailer…I’ll carry on once you’ve watched it:

So? What did you think? Tempted to watch the movie? I hope so.

The story is pretty much about Kelly (Clint Eastwood) and his guys trying to move through/behind enemy lines (while remaining undetected by their own) to “retrieve” a stash of gold bars. And what a fun journey it is.

Interesting is (and I never knew this until getting ready for this post) that Kelly’s Heroes is based on true events which supposedly went into the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest robbery in the 60s. Not sure how accurate this is…but hey.

The ensemble work so well. Each one perfectly complements the other. They include Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland (but you knew that), Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor and a whole lot more. Great movie. And the trailer does it justice.

cropped-cat2As always, head on over to Realweegiemidget Reviews (here) for her take on this trailer and then join us on Twitter (@2ReelQuirkyCats) for your screaming comments. Have fun!

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Donald Sutherland, a Canadian of note…

O Canada Banner-2I didn’t know…well, I did but I forgot (or didn’t mentally register) that Donald Sutherland is a Canadian (born in Saint John, New Brunswick). Not that it really matters as it is about the man himself and what he brings to the world of film. But not purely that…for me, it is much more personal. Whenever I watch him he brings back fond memories of my father. He transports me back to the days where my parents introduced me to the amazing experience of Super 8 films. By the time we got them, most people had made the transition to VHS and Beta Video Tapes and because of this my father managed to buy boxes full of Super 8 reels and two projectors (one magnetic the other optical – something pretty much nobody of my generation knows what it means) thus starting my passion for film. And…among all these reels, reels and more reels was what immediately springs to mind at the mention of Donald SutherlandKelly’s Heroes…let me rephrase…not so much the film but his character Oddball. With that, ringing clearly in my ears is my father trying to get the “40, or is it 60 foot of bridge I can get almost everywhere” line and voice right – the line actually being “Sixty feet of bridge I can get almost anywhere.” I just love it! Oh, man, all the scenes with Oddball are great…if you haven’t watched this classic you need to just for him explaining the tank strategy, specifically around the paint-filled ammunition “When we fire it, it makes… pretty pictures. Scares the hell outta people! We have a loudspeaker here, and when we go into battle we play music, very loud. It kind of… calms us down. ” I could go on and on with scenes, quotes and all the positive waves (if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand) and my father trying to get them all right together. I honestly don’t think another actor could pull off the coolness (especially with what I believe is a leather tanker helmet – sorry if I got it wrong but I’m not really clued up as to those type of things) dopiness and amazing facial expressions as does Mr Sutherland. What a role! I must say that credit is due to the entire ensemble cast …they just work!

So, having watched this, my father decided we should go watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer as said actor is also in it and it happened to be showing at the cinema. I’m sure he was great in this role but I must admit, I can’t remember the film at all. Trying to salvage the situation, we then dug out The Dirty Dozen from the reels and expected the same Oddball comic relief from character Vernon Pinkley, which we didn’t get but were still rewarded by fantastic acting by this versatile actor in a much more serious role. I mean, if you can do Kelly’s Heroes, Dirty Dozen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, M.A.S.H, The Italian Job, The Hunger Games….and the list goes on…you have to be versatile and you have to be good in order to be convincing in every character you take on. And so convincing he is that I never end up thinking of him as one character while watching him being another. What I mean is that I never think of Sherman tanks or PA Announcements while a family of ladies is preparing for Mr Bingley’s ball. Just the other day I was in the situation where I was thinking of the sweet guy from a period drama while watching him in an action film and thus never managed to take the role, and probably actor, seriously.

A few years ago my work colleague was surprised that I enjoy “old” films and next thing he left M.A.S.H on my desk…oh my! It is just absolutely fantastic…crazy…but brilliant. And once again, I think only Mr Sutherland would be the perfect fit. There are just certain characters made for certain actors and nobody will ever be able to fill those shoes.

I’m busy looking up his filmography and can’t believe the number of films listed and always, always great acting (at least in the 20 plus I’ve seen)…be it in small or large roles, big films or B ones, older or the more recent ones…I take my hat off to this man who, at the age of 80, almost 81, has 3 projects against his name for 2016 in IMDB. That is impressive.

But please…do me a favour and watch Kelly’s Heroes. Oh…actually, tackle M.A.S.H too…oh and…

And I will patiently wait to go see Forsaken which looks like a promising western.

 

(Quotes courtesy of IMDB)

(Blogathon courtesy of Speakeasy and Silver Screenings – thank you)